Magazine article Techniques

The Technology Teacher Crisis

Magazine article Techniques

The Technology Teacher Crisis

Article excerpt

Unprecedented changes and developments in technology education have put it in a popular but difficult situation. The widespread growth of the subject around the world has resulted in a technology teacher shortage, according to educators in the field. The normal procedure for replenishing the teacher pool is to employ graduates from accredited technology teacher training institutions. This avenue, however, continues to fall short of the predicted demands. School districts continue to struggle. Too often we learn that a technology program is forced to close its doors because a teacher was unavailable for assignment.

Members of the technology education division of the American Vocational Association have been aware of these conditions for years. We contend that there is no other issue more important than recruiting and training certified technology teachers. Around the country, districts are participating in alternative certification programs, the guidelines for which are set by state office of education according to established teaching standards.

While these guidelines have not become national standards, the alternative certification process has developed a significant level of interest within each state. Often people seeking alternative certification are journeyman-level people and retired military personnel with a technical background. Others include those with baccalaureate degrees in different areas than technology education but who have job history in technology fields.

Another difficulty associated with our profession involves the lack of teacher training institutions certified in technology education. Also, the number of four-year technology education programs and two-year "feeder" programs have decreased. Many associate degree programs have been replaced with regional occupational centers, applied technology centers or career centers. These programs are designed to train high-skill hourly wage earners in their chosen vocation. Most often these programs are non-degree based and do not award college credit.

For more than a decade various statistics have purported the significance of a career plan based on an associate's degree, which emphasizes the benefits of a shorter, highly specialized degree. Other statistical surveys have found that 80 percent of jobs do not require a four-year degree. …

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