Thought of the Day: Discrimination against Career Technical Education Teachers

In California, and probably in most other states, there is a clear discrimination that occurs against Career Technical Education, where CTE instructors and students are looked at as second class citizens.  While I will share more in the future about this broader problem, today I am going to focus on how the California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing and School Districts discriminate against Career Technical Education teachers, and how with the loss of ROP, this has meant a huge number of layoffs to these teachers, and could mean a lot more losing their jobs, if this illegal discrimination doesn’t stop.

One clear place that this discrimination can be seen is in how California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing inaccurately tells prospective high school teachers that “Individuals who want to teach in high school in California must earn a Single Subject Teaching Credential”   They should know better, because their Administrator’s Assignment Manual, shows that not only can Teachers have a Career Technical Education to teach High School, but that this credential also allows them to teach academics in conjunction with the career and technical skills they instruct (See page 149).  And it has been my experience that school administrators don’t know this fact either, as I have not found a school administrator (including district HR managers and others from county offices of education) yet who was aware of this before I shared it with them.

So in other words, despite what the law allows, school districts continually layoff CTE teachers, when they could be teaching integrated CTE & Academic courses.  And CTE teachers don’t know this, as it is buried on the last page (before the index) of the Administrator’s Assignment Manual, which most teachers probably have never even heard of.  And my experience from being in a teacher’s union, they often consider Designated Subjects (including CTE teachers) to not be as important as their Single Subjects brethren.  So I doubt most of them share this fact with CTE teachers either.

So what can be done?  There is the immediate solution, and the long term solution.   For the long-term, we need to continue to show that Career & Technical Education is actually more valuable than Academic education, as all graduates need a job some day.  (This does not mean that I believe academics are not important, but the balance between the two is out of whack.)

In the short-term, CTE teachers need to know their rights and stand up for them.  Further, a simple piece of legislation that would allow CTE teachers to obtain a Supplementary Authorization, would help tremendously as well.  I will post more about this tomorrow.


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