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Concerns of Career and Technical Education Teachers Voiced in Survey

While teachers are enthusiastic about the benefits of career and technical education, a new report finds that many also believe inadequate equipment and funding are hampering their programs.

The American Federation of Teachers released a report last week based on responses to an online survey of 570 CTE teachers in the spring of 2014 about their work. Calling CTE a "vital component of a 21st century education system," AFT President Randi Weingarten wrote that the input of teachers on the front lines is needed if CTE is going to fulfill its promise of providing students with real-world skills that lead to meaningful careers.

Concerns over space, equipment, technology, and textbooks topped the list when teachers in the survey (38 percent) were asked an open-ended question about challenges in CTE programs. Another 35 percent said funding was their biggest challenge. For students to be job ready, teachers emphasized the need for up-to-date equipment and materials so training would match what is being used in the workplace. 

The teachers surveyed came from schools where the top CTE career clusters offered were business and administration; arts, audio-video technology; health science; hospitality and tourism; and architecture and construction.

Using the information from the survey, AFT will push for increased CTE funding, better professional development and externship opportunities for teachers, and partnerships with businesses and labor organizations, the report said. As policymakers review federal legislation, such as reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, AFT suggests that teachers be invited to the table for their feedback.

Although not a random sample or statistically representative, AFT noted that the respondents represented a diverse group of teachers from 26 states. Almost 50 percent had a bachelor's degree in the industry field in which they taught, more than one-third had significant industry experience, and 60 percent had one or more relevant certifications.

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