Archived InformationThe Quality of Vocational Education, June 1998
Data and information provided herein to inform Congress about vocational teacher education at our nation's college and universities are limited as follows:
This section of the paper focuses on vocational teacher education as it exists in our nation's colleges and universities, primarily at the preservice level. Programs sponsored by state departments of education, vocational teacher associations, and local school systems - such as inservice and staff development to initially certify trade and industrial teachers, induct new teachers, or upgrade the knowledge and skills of vocational education teachers - were not examined.
State vocational education certification policies, related requirements and regulations, and their impact on vocational teacher education at colleges and universities are not discussed in this report.
Nearly all states certify a considerable portion of their vocational education teaching force without benefit of professional education. Minimal requirements range from a high school diploma equivalent (i.e., completion of a GED) and occupational experience, to completion of some preservice and inservice workshops, to a master's degree (i.e., in some states and in some subjects). The impact of state certification on the design and delivery of vocational teacher education is unclear. Apparently, vocational teacher certification and college teacher preparation are developed and administered relatively independently in most states.
Data and information as published in extant literature served as the framework for data reporting and the basis for analysis found in this section of the document. Original data were not collected for purposes of this section.
Data from the extant literature reported herein were not collected nor reported in a systematic, consistent way among the various studies, by various authors, and in various subject areas cited in this report. Thus, the reader is advised to interpret data cautiously.
It is not easy to determine exactly how many U.S. colleges and universities actually offer programs to prepare teachers of vocational and technical education. A primary reason for this difficulty is that the words, vocational teacher education, are not always the descriptors used to identify such programs. Rather, programs are more apt to be called by their subject-specific names (e.g., agricultural education, business education, home economics education). The problem is compounded in that there is no nationally-published directory identifying vocational teacher education programs.
A second reason is that programs that do exist are administered in very diverse units on our nation's college and university campuses. For example, agricultural teacher education might be administered in the college of agriculture, business education in the college of business, and technology education in the college of education - all on the same campus. An even more serious problem is that there is no agreed-upon conceptual framework or knowledge-base related to education for the workplace and workforce development that professionals or professional associations have codified as important in the preparation of teachers for secondary, postsecondary, or adult vocational and technical education programs. Thus, there does not seem to be a strong sense of professional identity with a body of knowledge and a discipline related to vocational teacher education.
Rather, vocational teacher education programs still tend to be organized by programs identified specifically and historically in vocational education legislation; that is, by those in the Smith Hughes Act of 1917, (agricultural education, home economics education, and trade and industrial education), and subsequent federal legislation, (distributive/marketing education, industrial arts/technology education, business education, health occupations education, and vocational special needs).
Accumulative data and analysis from current studies about teacher education in these various subject-specific programs indicate that significant change is warranted in vocational teacher education if various education initiatives identified in Perkins II, and with concomitant educational reform efforts are to be realized. At the national or macro level, all of these traditional, subject specific programs have suffered steep enrollment declines and/or the teacher education faculty have been eliminated or downsized resulting in tremendously diminished capacity to produce teachers for our nation's systems of vocational and technical education. There are many reasons for this, chief among which is the loss of federal and state funds. "Stand-alone," single-subject specialized vocational teacher education programs in colleges of agriculture, home economics, business, or technology have been particularly vulnerable to reductions and closing. Programs in colleges of education and those administered jointly with other vocational teacher education programs have tended to fare better.
The (former) teachers of vocational education teachers are still gainfully employed in colleges and universities, but often as faculty of technical subject matter, cooperative extension specialists, or in training and development. Those who remain primarily in teacher education, typically instruct relatively lowly-enrolled classes in subject-specific pedagogy and spend 24 percent of their time in service-related activities. In 1989, the vocational education professorate was middle aged and had been working in higher education for 16 years.
There is some evidence - mostly perceptual in tone - that the decline in teacher education has resulted in a shortage of vocational education teachers or will result in a shortage in the near future. Regardless of supply and demand factors, the evidence does seem fairly strong that recent vocational teacher education graduates are not adequately prepared for the realities of contemporary vocational and technical education programs. The following is a synthesis of relevant studies.
Vocational Teacher Education. By creating a matrix from subject-specific directories of teacher education programs (i.e., for agriculture, business education, home economics education, etc.), Lynch (1991) reported vocational teacher education exists in some form at 428 colleges and universities in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Washington, DC. This is approximately one-third of the more than 1,200 American colleges and universities which have the preparation of teachers as one aspect of their mission.
For the most part, vocational teacher education continues to follow a traditional specialized-subject model. According to information published in 1988-89 program area directories, there were 90 teacher education programs in agricultural education, 236 in business education, 32 in health occupations education, 268 in home economics education, 89 in marketing education, 176 in industrial arts/technology education, 122 in trade and industrial education, and 98 in vocational special needs (Lynch, p. 191).
Upon closer review, however, Lynch found these numbers to be considerably inflated. Several colleges and universities - at least 10 percent - had closed their vocational teacher education programs. Many other programs hadn't graduated vocational education teachers in years. Some college officials responded that they didn't really have vocational teacher education programs, and they didn't consider the preparation of such teachers to be part of their mission.
Further, although faculty at many institutions had at one time engaged actively in vocational teacher education - and many continued active affiliation with the field - their assignments over the years had shifted into other areas (e.g., teaching technical content courses, administration, service activities). Thus, the [former] teacher educator(s) was still at the university, listed in the teacher education directory for that vocational education subject area, and active in his or her vocational teacher education professional association; however, the program was in fact dormant or nonexistent.
Lynch (1991) did find that about 100 U.S. colleges and universities offer four or more vocational teacher education programs on a single campus; thus, implying that vocational teacher education was integral to the mission of that college or university. Many of the remaining 300+ programs listed in directories are staffed by a single faculty member (often at less than 1.00 full-time equivalent in teacher education) in one program (e.g., a home economics teacher educator) or a small cluster of faculty who work with prospective teachers in a technical program area (e.g., technology education teacher educator(s) working with prospective teachers - among other majors - in a school or department of technology).
Subsequent reviews indicate that these single-subject programs produce few teachers in any given year. Further, the small number of teacher educators in these programs and their isolation from other pedagogists preclude preparing students in a broadened conceptualization of vocational education (e.g., in integrating vocational and academic education, tech prep, workforce and workplace generic and specialized skill development) which might extend beyond that of their subject-specific area. In general, these subject-specific programs are far better known for their technical preparation than they are for teacher preparation. And, there is some evidence that as enrollments declined in teacher education, program faculty shifted their instructional assignments into non-teaching options (Volk, 1993).
The following is a brief review of recent studies that have reported and discussed contemporary program and enrollment status in vocational teacher education programs. Evidence is abundantly clear that, at a macro or national level, enrollments in teacher education have declined significantly in most vocational subject-specific areas, programs have been eliminated, and that teacher educators - although still employed at the universities - have found work other than in vocational teacher education. Further, although empirical data are seemingly unavailable, the general conclusion is that there will be a shortage of teachers in most vocational subject areas in the future.
Agricultural teacher education. Interestingly, only one program in agricultural teacher education has been eliminated by a college or university in recent years, although most programs have small enrollments and few graduates. Oliver and Camp (1992) reported 89 agricultural education programs in 1991 compared to 90 in 1988 (Lynch, 1991). However, the authors noted that 10 of the 89 programs (11 percent) had zero graduates for the 1991-92 academic year. The numbers of "newly qualified potential teachers of agriculture fell from 1,660 in 1975 to 625 in 1990," a 62 percent decline (p. 5). Oliver and Camp further reported that 266 agricultural teacher educators at the 89 colleges and universities graduated 312 teachers in 1991, for an average of 3.5 agriculture teacher graduates per institution and 1.2 per agricultural education faculty member.
Enrollments in public school agricultural education programs have declined by 25 percent since the late 1970s; however, the number of teachers of such programs declined by only 17 percent - although the number of teachers has declined steadily each year since 1979. In analyzing teacher demand with teacher supply, Oliver and Camp (1992) noted that there were jobs for only ten agriculture teachers on September 1, 1991 (p. 8). This information was based on survey data collected from all state supervisors of agricultural education in the country.
Oliver and Camp found that graduation from an agricultural education program no longer means certification to teach, rather agricultural education is regularly used as an umbrella degree for those choosing to enter such other occupations as agricultural extension or agricultural communications. Nearly 60 percent of agricultural education graduates do not teach in their first year after graduation. Based on this finding and the low salaries for beginning teachers, the authors concluded that "a serious shortage of teachers . . . appears possible in the future" (p. 5).
Business teacher education. Business education appears to be particularly hit with program closing and teacher education decline nationally. Further, the end may not be in sight for eliminating more business teacher education programs. Luft and Noll (1993), in a survey of all 235 colleges and universities affiliated with the National Association of Business Teacher Education (NABTE), found that 34 percent expect their programs, within five years, to be "integrated with other teacher education programs, downsized, or eliminated" (p. 10). The authors also reported that 11 business teacher education programs had recently been eliminated [since 1986] and 16 were predicted to be eliminated within the next five years. In adding up the declines from NABTE surveys in a 10-year period (1980-90), business teacher education lost 25 percent (N = 75) of its programs and may lose up to another one-third (Kaliski, 1987; Luft & Noll, 1993; Schmidt, 1985).
This may be particularly troublesome since business education comprises the lion's share of the vocational teaching force - 32 percent of high school vocational teachers and 24 percent of two-year college vocational faculty (Vocational Education Journal, 1991). Further, the high school business education teaching force is an aging one with 27 percent over age 50 and nearing retirement (Kaufman, 1992).
Anecdotal evidence and some data suggest that there may be a relationship between business teacher education decline and its administrative location on college campuses. Luft found that 50 percent of business teacher education programs were in collegiate schools of business - few of which have as their mission the preparation of teachers. An additional 18.5 percent were in colleges other than education. Contrary to reports of massive enrollment declines in business teacher education, Lynch (1991) found that the number of graduates from business teacher education programs had actually increased in the 3-year period from 1987-89. However, the business teacher education programs studied by Lynch (i.e., those which were among four or more vocational teacher education programs located at one university) tended to be in colleges of education and administered with other vocational teacher education programs. In effect, enrollment in some business teacher education programs may be increasing substantially - perhaps those in colleges of education - while programs are being eliminated at some colleges or universities - perhaps those in business schools.
Further, Luft and Noll (1993) report that enrollment declines at 38 percent of the business teacher education programs caused faculty to shift into teaching computer applications and other technical courses - at the expense of further developing or reforming teacher education programs.
Home economics teacher education. The numbers of programs in home economics teacher education have also declined throughout the past decades. The five year decline from 1984-88 was from 281 to 266, a 5 percent decline (Hall & Miller, 1989). The authors report data from another survey that indicate at least 22 percent of home economics teacher educators fear program closure or elimination in the future. It is interesting to note, however, that few programs of home economics teacher education have actually been eliminated relative to closings in business and technology teacher education, especially considering their steep enrollment declines (see, for example, Hall & Miller; Kellet & Beard, l991; Lynch, 1991).
Lynch (1991) reported a 15.4 percent decline in graduates of home economics teacher education programs from 1987-89. Other, more longitudinal program specific enrollment data show steeper declines than reported by Lynch. For example, Kellett and Beard (1991) report that the mean number of graduates in home economics teacher education per institution in 1975 was nearly 27. Thirteen years later, the total enrollment in nearly all home economics teacher education programs was less than 20 students; at 41.5 percent of the university programs, enrollment was fewer than ten. The average number of university-prepared teachers annually for home economics programs was less than five per institution.
Similar to faculty in agriculture, business education, and other vocational subject areas, home economics teacher educators tended to shift assignments into other areas, for example, preparation of home economists, teaching consumer- and family-relations courses, and international education (Hall & Miller, 1989).
Much like agriculture and business education, home economics professionals are concerned about teacher supply. According to Kellett and Beard (1991), "a large percentage of home economics teachers will retire before the year 2000. Enrollment patterns and opportunities for employment raise concerns regarding an adequate supply of home economics teachers" (pp. 19-20).
Health occupations teacher education. Little is known about the preparation of teachers for health occupations, probably because there are comparatively few health occupation teachers in secondary vocational education programs (1.6 percent of the total secondary vocational teaching force). Also, many health occupations teacher preparation programs are included with trade and industrial teacher education. Much like trade and industrial education, a considerable percentage of health occupation teachers come from industry (i.e., the medical professions) and are not prepared to teach through traditional teacher preparation programs. Pratzner and Ryan (1990) report that 50 percent of beginning health occupation teachers had not completed a baccalaureate degree.
Lynch (1991) found only 32 colleges and universities nationally that purport to offer teacher education in health occupations and only 12 of these offer preservice programs. From 1987-89, enrollment in these 12 programs was stable, averaging about 6 graduates per year.
Industrial arts/technology, industrial, and technical teacher education. The teacher education component of "single-subject" trade, technical, industrial programs (whatever the nomenclature) and industrial arts or technology education programs has declined considerably. McAlister and Erekson (1988) report that most university faculty hires in trade and industrial education and technology education are to teach in technical areas (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Mapping, manufacturing, technology) and not in teacher education. These authors indicate the shift away from teacher education programs in technology and industrial education was a result of a desire "to continue enrollments, while serving a new diversified population with different career goals" (p. 47).
Oaks and Loepp (1989) report that 30 technology-based teacher education programs (14 percent) were terminated at colleges and universities between 1979 and 1988. Volk (1993) comments that the terminations along with those that produce no teachers, result in a real decline of 24.1 percent. Oaks and Loepp fear that if the closing trend continues, a resulting teacher shortage will "surely prove to be a serious problem for the technology education profession" (p. 67). Volk goes even further by speculating that if the enrollment decline continues at its present pace, "the demise of the profession will occur near the year 2005" (p. 57).
There is some evidence that there may be a cause and effect between programs that shifted from teacher education into non-teaching options. The non-teaching option, in effect, "took over." For example, Volk (1993) notes that the 20-year rate of decline for industrial arts/technology education majors was 69.7 percent; concomitantly the non-teaching degrees increased by a whopping 790.0 percent. "This latter increase was due in great part to the explosive growth and shift in emphasis to industrial technology program options" (p. 50). Further, Volk found teaching options at colleges and universities were much more apt to be eliminated when industrial (non-teaching) options were provided.
Marketing education. Ruhland (1993) reports that only 56 institutions currently offer an undergraduate degree in marketing education or provide marketing education certification courses. This represents a 37 percent decline (since 1989) in the number of colleges and universities which purport to offer specialized programs in marketing teacher education. Further, five of the 56 institutions offer only state-required marketing teacher certification courses in contrast to a bona fide program or major in marketing education and five report no graduates. Three additional programs are being phased out in the next three years and an additional three will combine business and marketing teacher preparation programs. In reality, therefore, there are about 40 marketing teacher education programs which annually graduate at least one or more marketing teachers.
Enrollments, too, from all university marketing education teacher supply sources (baccalaureate, certification option, graduate) declined by 38 percent in the 10-year period, 1982-92 (Lynch 1984; Ruhland, 1993).
In contrast to some other vocational teacher education programs, Ruhland (1993) did not find nor predict a shortage of secondary marketing teachers. [She presented little data about postsecondary teaching.] She attributes this primarily to the facts that "new secondary marketing education programs were not being developed, and programs were remaining as single teacher programs versus multiple teacher programs" (p. 22).
The effects of decline in marketing teacher education may be similar to that postulated for business education. That is, Lynch (1991) found a slight increase in teacher education enrollment in marketing education for the 3-year period, 1987-89, and, similar to business education, those enrollment increases were reported from programs primarily administered in colleges of education and with other vocational teacher education programs. Also, program closings in marketing teacher education were often those administered in collegiate schools of business.
Trade and industrial education. The preparation of trade and industrial education (T&I) teachers deviates considerably from that of other vocational education teachers. This is primarily because, (a) the vast majority of T&I teachers lack the baccalaureate degree - at least at the time they enter the classroom as teachers, and (b) "the teaching content and methodology of T&I programs vary markedly from other vocational education programs" (Duenk, 1989, p. 2).
Beginning with the federal 1917 Smith-Hughes Act and continuing to the present time, nearly all states substitute years of work experience rather than college preparation for certifying T&I teachers. In fact, only Hawaii and Wisconsin require the baccalaureate degree for initial certification as a T&I teacher. Seven states require a baccalaureate degree and five states require an associate degree for full certification. Beginning teachers in 43 states may teach in T&I programs without any college credits (Duenk, 1989). Pratzner and Ryan (1990) report that 73 percent of beginning T&I teachers do not have a baccalaureate degree. They note that most states do require from 16 to 200 clock hours of initial pedagogical preparation concurrent with the first year of teaching. Typically, this preparation is obtained through workshops or courses that are "provided by the state department of education, a college or university, or the school system itself" (Lynch & Griggs, 1989, p. 9).
In effect, vast numbers of T&I teachers initially and continually teach in public schools and technical institutes without benefit of any formal teacher preparation from a college or university. Thus, data about and from T&I teacher education programs at colleges and universities could be misinterpreted, since a relatively small percentage of that program's teaching force enter into it at the preservice level. Lynch (1991) did identify 122 T&I teacher education programs nationwide and a very slight enrollment increase (2.2 percent) over the 3-year period, 1987-89.
[More data, information, and related discussion are included later in this section of the paper under the subheading, "Preparation of Nondegreed Vocational Education Teachers."]
Vocational special needs. There is insufficient evidence in the literature to discuss meaningfully programmatic and enrollment data in preservice programs to specifically prepare teachers to teach vocational students with special needs. Lynch (1991) reported 98 colleges and universities purport to offer programs in vocational special needs with a 3-year average enrollment increase of 14.3 percent. However, few institutions provided specific data about the curriculum and structure of preservice (e.g., undergraduate) programs. It is therefore assumed that (a) a major in vocational special needs education is typically not available at the undergraduate level, (b) instruction in teaching vocational students with special needs is included as part of the professional preservice preparation of all subject-specific vocational education majors, and (c) extensive professional preparation for vocational special needs teachers is provided primarily at the graduate level.
Comprehensive vocational education. Studies previously reported have primarily been conducted and reported by researchers in and for subject-specific areas generally thought collectively as vocational teacher education. Some attempts have also been made to collect enrollment and programmatic data for all vocational subject areas in colleges and universities known to have several vocational teacher education programs.
Lynch (1991) collected data from universities with four or more vocational teacher education programs in the spring of 1989. Nearly 80 colleges and universities provided data on all of their vocational teacher education programs. Lynch found enrollments in undergraduate programs in vocational teacher education had declined overall from 1987 through the 1989 graduating class. Agricultural education and home economics showed especially steep enrollment declines, while technology education showed a slight decrease and trade and industrial education, marketing education, and business education showed modest increases. The largest percentage increase in enrollment was in the preparation of vocational special needs teachers.
Since July of 1985, the University Council for Vocational Education (UCVE) has published three reports and has one in press on the status of vocational teacher education in its member institutions. UCVE is currently comprised of 20 member institutions (see appendix A), all of whom provide research, service, teacher education, and advanced graduate study in vocational and technical education. All UCVE member institutions offer a doctoral degree in vocational education and all but one are at land-grant universities.
Until the latest report, most UCVE institutions reported reduced demand for vocational teacher education courses (including graduate courses) both on- and off-campus on a biennial basis since the mid-1980s. However, in the latest report, which included the two academic years of 1990-91 and 1991-92, enrollments in undergraduate, master's, and doctoral programs were reported on the upswing (Anderson, in press).
Undergraduate enrollments increased to an average of 237 per institution (an increase average of 66 students per campus, 28 percent). Only three universities experienced a decrease in undergraduate enrollment during the two-year period.
Similarly, enrollments in both master's and doctoral programs increased. Mean numbers of master's students enrolled per institution increased from 111 to 129 (14 percent) in two years; only 4 institutions experienced declines in master's degree enrollments. [Two did not report data and five reported no change.] Doctoral enrollments increased from an average of 56 per institution in 1989-90 to 82 (32 percent increase) in 1991-92. Four universities reported decreases in their doctoral programs and six essentially had no change. Also, and for the first time since 1987, the number of full-time faculty in vocational education per institution increased - possibly due to increased grant and contract funding.
It should be noted that this latest report shows significant improvements over the three previous biennial reports. Throughout the 1980s, Anderson (1991) reported that the average number of enrollments, full-time and part-time faculty, support staff, and graduate assistants declined significantly at member institutions. However, it also needs to be noted that in his latest report (in press), Anderson provides no evidence that increased enrollments and numbers of faculty are in vocational teacher education programs. In fact, the increases reported may well be a result of vocational education units expanding their courses and program offerings into non-teaching areas (e.g., training and development, cooperative extension, industrial technology).
Little is known about teachers of teachers in our nation's colleges and universities and even less is known about teachers of vocational education teachers. Some demographic and other data have been collected about teacher educators (e.g., the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and the Center for Educational Renewal); however, data have not been (and cannot be) segmented out for vocational teacher education.
Based on a national survey completed by 633 preservice vocational teacher educators at 78 colleges and universities in 1989, Lynch (1990) summarized the profile of a typical vocational teacher educator as follows:
The overall composite - or profile - of the vocational teacher educator is that he is a white male, probably a full professor, tenured, and 49 1/2 years old. If indeed he is a full professor, he earned $43,030 for 9 months employment in 1989; this is contrasted with a national average salary of $35,745 for vocational teacher educators, all ranks, both genders, 9 months employment. He completed a doctoral degree in vocational education 14 years ago - perhaps from Ohio State University. Vocational teacher educators have the equivalent of about 4 1/2 years of paid employment in at least two positions in business and industry. They accumulated 5 1/2 years experience as a secondary teacher and either full- or part-time experience as an adult education instructor. The typical teacher educator has been worked in higher education for 16 years; 13 at the college or university where presently employed.
Vocational teacher educators tend to be very busy, spending 50 hours each week on the job; 58 percent of the time in teaching, 24 percent in service, and 18 percent in scholarship. Vocational teacher education faculty spend considerably more time in teaching and service activities and considerably less time on scholarship than either they or their university desire; their university particularly would prefer more time spent on scholarship. A vocational education teacher educator typically teaches three undergraduate and two graduate vocational pedagogy courses each year. It is also likely that they teach subject matter courses.
Apparently, the profiled professor likes his job; he plans to remain in it, at least for the next five years. Eleven percent are planning retirement within five years. (pp. 6-7)
Salaries for faculty at doctoral-granting units affiliated with the University Council on Vocational Education were considerably higher than those reported in the broader data base by Lynch. For example, the average salaries of full professors of vocational education at 22 UCVE-affiliated universities in 1989 was about $2,000 more ($45,077) than the average salary reported by professors at 78 universities in Lynch's survey. Anderson (in press) recently provided more current data on the salaries of vocational education faculty at UCVE-affiliated universities. In 1991-92, full professors, 9 months employment, both genders averaged $51,554; associate professors averaged $41,015; and assistant professors averaged $32,005.
There are minimal subsequent data to describe further or segment out the vocational teacher education professorate. Some authors in some specific subject areas and speakers at conferences have predicted a larger percentage of retirees or resignations and a resulting need to fill vacant university positions. Some have claimed the professorate to be much older and (apparently) less wiser and experienced. However, data are not provided to support these claims.
Colleges and universities with vocational teacher education programs have been hard hit with financial downsizing over the past several years. From 1989-90 to 1991-92, nearly every UCVE-member institution experienced declining university and/or state financial resources (including federal flow-through dollars) for vocational education units. University financial support decreased at 14 of 20 UCVE-affiliated institutions and remained essentially unchanged at 6. State support was similar, although one institution reported increased state support and 6 reported no change; however, the remaining 13 reported significant decline in state financial support. Interestingly, support from research contracts and grants increased at 9 institutions during the same time period, decreased at 5, and remained unchanged at 6 (Anderson, in press). It is assumed that this increase in grant and contract work was to provide service activities and technical assistance to local school systems and state departments of education on Perkins II initiatives. There is considerable anecdotal evidence that universities were hit particularly hard with funding cuts. One unpublished study identified 6 major, land-grant, research-oriented universities where vocational education units had experienced extraordinary stress due to financial cutbacks and resulting restructuring and reallocation of funds. Vocational teacher education and graduate programs were rumored to be completely eliminated at all six. In the 6-case analysis, the clear conclusion was that loss of federal funds from the Perkins legislation, which under prior legislation had trickled down from the federal to the state to the university, had severe negative impact on vocational teacher education at these 6 institutions. The epilogue to the study is that vocational education programs were eliminated at two, significantly downsized (and restructured) at three, and undergraduate programs virtually eliminated at one. Similar, but undocumented, tales surface regularly at conferences and meetings of vocational educators. In virtually all articles examined for this data review and in written and telephone communications related to this report, the decline of (federal and state) financial support was always cited as a major reason for the downsizing or elimination of vocational teacher education.
Dykman (1993) citing an interview with Lynch and others in vocational education commented that at least one-third fewer vocational teacher education programs exist today than in 1989. Further, even at universities that have retained vocational teacher education, many have phased out some programs, eliminated faculty positions, consolidated courses, transferred some programs to other colleges, and refocused priorities. In addition to the elimination of federal and state funding support for vocational teacher education, other reasons given for downsizing and eliminating programs were:
There is some evidence that vocational teacher education programs administered in colleges of education receive greater financial support. Bott (1988) concluded that "in areas such as budgets, [programs of vocational education] in schools of education receive more support than programs in schools of engineering or technology" (p. 40). Budgets included amounts for graduate assistants, travel, and faculty members. Interesting though, is that despite lower budgets than might be received if they were in a school or college of education, department chairs preferred to remain in a non-education unit for purposes of perceived status and "higher quality" (p. 39).
According to Pratzner and Ryan (1990) "The formal preparation of vocational teachers has not followed a single track or approach. However, almost all states require prospective public vocational teachers to have from 3 to 6 years or more of full-time significant occupational experience prior to teaching" (p. 785). In general, most vocational education teachers - secondary and postsecondary - have at least a bachelor's degree, some education courses, and occupational experience. However, when segmented, 73 percent of beginning trade and industrial (T&I) teachers and 50 percent of beginning health occupations teachers do not hold a baccalaureate degree (Lynch & Griggs, 1989). Rather, these vocational teachers are credentialed in their respective states to teach as a result of some significant amount of occupational experience (usually 3 to 6 years) in a particular trade, craft, medical field, or in any one of multiple occupational options provided by the state.
Preparation of nondegreed vocational education teachers. Occupational experience, rather than college credentialing, has been the primary entry point into teaching for T&I and health occupations teachers at the secondary level and for these and other technical teachers at the postsecondary level. This occupational experience requirement emanated from the Smith-Hughes Vocational Education Act of 1917 which specifically stated that instructors teaching in federally-funded vocational education programs must have had work experience in the specific occupational area in which they were hired to teach. According to Kaufman (1992), "Many states, therefore, have enacted policies and offered classes [author: and still do today] that enable skilled workers to be employed and credentialed as vocational education teachers without the educational requirements that most teachers must meet" (p. 6).
According to Pratzner and Ryan (1990), many nondegreed vocational teachers enter teaching directly from business and industry (including the military) with extensive occupational skills and experience, but with little or no pedagogical skills or preparation. This occurs especially at the postsecondary level and in the private sector, where state licensing and teacher certification requirements beyond occupational competence are usually not a consideration. However, as discussed previously (see section on Trade and Industrial Teacher Education), a large percentage of secondary trade teachers also enter classrooms for the first time without benefit of teacher preparation.
According to Duenk (1989), there is a trend away from complete dependency upon years of work experience or minimum clock hour requirements and toward use of some occupational competency assessment before allowing nondegreed persons to teach in vocational education classrooms. "Currently, there are 8 different types of evaluation in use among the 53 states and territories" (p. 18) that are used to assess the validity of the occupational experience. The most common type of occupational assessment is thorough licensure granted by the states in occupations such as cosmetology, various health technologies, plumbing, and auto mechanics. A second common method of occupational assessment is to require vocational teachers to pass occupational competency tests offered through the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI). Anywhere from 12 to 18 states require passage of a NOCTI exam either for initial certification, for recertification within the first year of teaching, or for preservice teachers lacking work experience (Duenk, 1989; Dykman, 1993).
How many vocational education teachers have not earned college degrees? The findings vary. According to recent data from Kaufman (1992), about 7.4 percent of the total vocational teaching force in grades 9-12 hold less than a bachelor's degree (compared with 0.3 percent of nonvocational teachers). [However, the data are not particularly meaningful since 27 percent of vocational teachers in the sample had an "unclassified subject area" or were classified as "other vocational, trade, and industrial education" (p. 35). About one-third in "unclassified" and one-fourth in "other" had less than a bachelor's degree. Additional categories included business education, home economics education, agriculture, career education, and industrial arts. The findings that 7.4 percent of the total secondary vocational teaching force has less than a baccalaureate degree may be accurate (although at least one other study puts the percentage considerably higher), but the percentage is much greater for the T&I area. Further segmented data may not be reliable since the author assumed that many T&I teachers "threw in" with industrial arts and no one knows where teachers of marketing, health occupations, technical education, and other specialty areas "threw in."]
Pratzner (1987) reported 26 percent of beginning teachers were nondegreed vocational teachers who had completed some college but not a baccalaureate degree. Pratzner and Ryan (1990) highlight a study by Weber et al. which indicated that as many as 28 percent of vocational education teachers did not hold the baccalaureate degree at the time of the study. Obviously, these are considerably larger percentages than those found by Kaufman. Again, regardless of which study is cited, nondegreed teachers were almost exclusively teaching in T&I, health occupations, or other technical subject areas.
In their study focusing on public postsecondary vocational education, Hollenbeck et al. (1987) found that almost 21 percent of postsecondary instructors were nondegreed, 8 percent held a baccalaureate degree, and about 71 percent had graduate credit or a master's degree or higher. Similar to other authors, the vast majority of nondegreed postsecondary teachers were in T&I, technical, or health occupations subject areas.
Teachers in these three areas comprise a large percentage of the vocational teaching force. According to data provided in the American Vocational Journal (1991), 30.7 percent of high school vocational teachers are in T&I programs, another 1.6 percent are in health occupations, and 3.9 percent are in a technical field. At the post-secondary level, 17.5 percent of faculty are in T&I programs, 20.1 percent are in technical programs, and 19.4 percent are in health occupations programs.
There is considerable controversy among vocational and other educators about continuing to allow T&I (and other) vocational teachers to matriculate into classrooms without benefit of college-level preparation. Historically, the assumption that increased occupational experience will result in better teaching of a craft or trade was widely held among vocational educators, especially those in T&I. Various authors regularly reported that teachers' competence in T&I subject matter can only be obtained by experience on the job; that increased trade experience significantly increased classroom teaching performance ratings; that work experience was related to both teachers' and students' success in obtaining high scores on standardized trade tests; and, that because work experience was so valuable, college credit should be awarded for it as part of the major for bachelor's degree candidates (Duenk, 1990; Leighbody, 1972; Swartz, 1974; USDE, 1985).
However, some empirical studies question the assumptions that more trade experience earned by the teacher will result in better teaching and student performance. Welch and Gardner (1976) found that the amount of trade work experience did not result in increased student performance. More recently, Mullins (1993) found that years of trade experience had no significant effect upon the success of T&I teachers when evaluated by their immediate supervisor. Both studies failed to support the practice throughout the United States of requiring extensive work experience for state certification of T&I teachers.
Gray (1993) and others have commented that work experience and a workshop for new teachers are "woefully inadequate" for a T&I classroom that purports to prepare youngsters for the technical workforce of the future. Gray proposes a model of T&I teacher preparation that is based on a new mix of work experience, formal technical training, and formal pedagogical training. Lynch and Griggs (1991) call for a jointly-planned and implemented field-based model of professional development for nondegreed vocational teachers, resulting in a baccalaureate degree. A core pedagogical curriculum should be completed prior to any teacher assuming instructional roles in public schools.
There are more issues or problems related to nondegreed teachers in vocational education classrooms that are not in the literature, but are gleaned through interviews with practitioners; thus, generalizability about the whole issue of nondegreed teachers in the classroom is problematic. For example, it seems to be generally known that many nondegreed teachers face major problems in gaining admission to higher education because so many colleges and universities have standards that the teachers cannot meet, such as minimal standardized test scores, completion of college-prep curricula, or satisfactory completion of some alternative college-entrance requirements. If not admissible into a "regular" category, these vocational teachers are required by the institutions to enroll in developmental or remedial studies, which they often find demeaning. Even if admitted into regular or developmental programs, scheduling of these classes is difficult while concomitantly teaching full-time. Further, apparently a sizable percentage of probationary teachers do not pass NOCTI of other licensure exams.
Another problem frequently mentioned is that there is little economic incentive for nondegreed teachers to earn degrees. They usually earn as much money (and sometimes more) than their counterparts with degrees. Further, many are on extended day or year contracts which further inhibits their ability or incentive to earn a degree.
Thus, the hassles of required occupational and other testing, admission to higher education institutions, and access to college courses - combined with minimal economic incentive to earn a college degree - have contributed to the development of alternative state and local certification procedures that continue to result in less college and university involvement in providing general education, pedagogy, and subject-matter coursework to nondegreed vocational education teachers.
Some authors and speakers at conferences are questioning whether nondegreed teachers can teach applied math, science, communications, and other academically-related subjects in their vocational classes if they've had no collegiate preparation in the arts and sciences. Others calling for a bachelor's degree as a minimal requirement to enter teaching address issues related to professionalism and professionalizing the vocational teaching force. The controversy to require a bachelor's degree or not to enter continue teaching has not been resolved. However, there may be a slight trend for states to require a baccalaureate degree for all vocational teachers prior to their receiving a permanent, professional teaching certificate in that state. Apparently at least 17 states require the degree for permanent certification, but allow T&I teachers a considerable length of time to earn it (McDonnell & Zellman, 1992).
Preparation of degreed vocational education teachers: delivery systems/curriculum. Other than trade and industrial education, technical education, and health occupations education, the primary delivery system for preparing vocational education teachers has been through a baccalaureate degree in a vocational education program area. Kaufman (1992) reports that 71 percent of vocational teachers major in an education area (e.g., agricultural education, business education, secondary education) compared to only 55 percent of nonvocational majors. Nonvocational teachers are much more likely to major in an academic subject field (mathematics, science, social science) than are vocational teachers. Further, fewer vocational teachers major in an occupationally-specific area (e.g., business, computer science, engineering, health) than do nonvocational teachers major in an area of the arts and sciences.
The baccalaureate degree is the primary delivery system used by colleges and universities to prepare vocational education teachers. Only 6 of the 78 universities in Lynch's (1991) survey eliminated or planned to eliminate baccalaureate-level preparation for prospective vocational education teachers. Lynch reported that a second, much less frequently used model is through a post-baccalaureate program leading toward a graduate degree. In reality, both baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate vocational teacher preparation programs are offered on most campuses, sometimes in tandem. Further, there appears to be a slight trend to offer MAT (master of arts in teaching) programs for vocational educators with undergraduate degrees in nonteaching fields (Anderson, in press; Lynch, 1991). Other delivery models are available at some institutions on an individualized, case-by-case basis (e.g., major in a technical field to include teacher certification, education as a second major, education as a minor, double major with another secondary education field). Generally, the required curriculum anatomy of a vocational education undergraduate major is as follows: Total required semester credits = 128; approximately 37 percent or 47 credits in general studies, 43 credits (34 percent) in subject-matter courses typically offered in a college/department external to vocational education, 14 credits in vocational pedagogy, 14 credits in educational foundations, and 10 credits in student teaching. It is important to note that there are some (although not major) differences among vocational subject areas, especially as related to awarding credit for occupational experience and competency testing and credits earned in the technical content area. Trade and industrial education and health occupations are notable exceptions in these categorical areas.
The number of credits actually completed by those preparing to be vocational teachers is apparently considerably more than required. Through transcript analysis of 412 vocational education 1988-89 school year baccalaureate graduates from 22 southern universities, Finch, Schmidt, Oliver, Yu, and Wills (1992) found actual credit completion as follows: Total completed credits = 146.5; approximately 60 credits or 41 percent were in general studies, 50 credits (34 percent) in subject-matter, and 29 credits (20 percent) in education courses (10 credits in student teaching). Remaining credits were in physical education, health, or not elsewhere classified.
As was true in the Lynch study (1991), data provided by Finch et al. (1992) showed some differences among subject areas. Interesting to note was that 30 percent of the coursework completed in general studies was transferred from other institutions, presumably community or technical colleges. Nearly all general education credits earned (92 percent) were in lower-division (freshman-sophomore) courses. Further, these credits were skewed heavily toward the social sciences, humanities, and English. An average of only 8 credits were earned in mathematics and computer sciences and 10.5 in the natural sciences. And the number of math and computer sciences courses may be skewed by the relatively large number of business education majors in the data base - all of whom were required to complete computer courses. For example, technology and trade and industrial education majors averaged just 7.5 credits in mathematics and computer sciences. The authors commented that there may be potential general education course deficiencies in vocational teachers' undergraduate programs. "This is of particular concern if these graduates begin their careers by working with teachers of mathematics, science, and other general areas in the integration of vocational and academic education" (p. 16).
Pratzner and Ryan (1990) commented that there is little evidence of any increase in mathematics, science, or communications preparation for vocational education teachers. They further concluded: "It seems clear that, in general, beginning vocational education teachers did not pursue a rigorous liberal arts program... moreover, T&I teachers took significantly fewer courses in these academic areas in their preservice preparation than any of the other beginning vocational teachers" (pp. 790-791).
Further analysis of university vocational teacher education curriculum design, particularly vocational education pedagogy, led Lynch (1991) to conclude, "it can generally be assumed that [graduates] received industry- or business-based occupational experience, preparation to work with at-risk or special-needs students, a course in computer applications, preparation on advising vocational youth organizations, preparation to work with business- or industry-based groups, and experience in a pre-student teaching clinical environment. It is less likely that they received instruction in...integrating basic skills with vocational education" (p. 194). Regarding the latter, other authors, too, reached similar conclusions that vocational teachers are not prepared to teach basic skills in vocational education programs (Anderson, 1991; Pratzner, 1987; Weber et al., 1988).
Data and information discussed in previous sections about the current status of vocational teacher education in this country collectively lead to the conclusion that American colleges and universities have significantly diminished their commitment and capacity to produce teachers for America's vocational and technical education systems. This conclusion, then, leads to the obvious question: Will there be an adequate supply to meet the demand for vocational education teachers in the future? The answer to this question can not be answered with a simple "yes" or "no;" the appropriate response is "it depends."
Teacher demand and supply data are very difficult to validate and are fraught with great uncertainty, especially those related to supply. The demand for the total teaching force, including vocational education, may be easier to predict if we accept certain assumptions, for example: birth rates will remain relatively stable; the percentage of faculty who teach vocational subjects in high schools (currently about 20 percent) and postsecondary institutions (currently predicted at about 60 percent) will remain the same; students will continue to "demand" vocational and technical education at about the same percentage as they currently do; and turnover of teachers can be predicted, etc. - in sum. These factors will remain essentially as they are now or changes can be predicted, and thus we can extrapolate numbers to predict the demand for the future.
Various authors and agencies have used some or all of these factors, sometimes supplemented with survey data, and have predicted great demand for vocational teachers in the years ahead. Data in the Vocational Education Journal (1991) for example, cited U.S. Department of Labor data as predicting better than average demand for adult, secondary, and college vocational teachers and charted predicted demand as especially high for secondary and adult instructors. Further, Kaufman (1992) reported that about 27 percent of all high school vocational teachers were aged 50 or over (compared, incidentally, to 18.5 percent of nonvocational teachers, aged 50 or over). Presumably the vast majority of these over age 50 teachers will be retiring by the year 2000, and thus creating a high demand for their replacements.
The lead article in a recent Vocational Education Journal was entitled "Who Will Teach the Teachers?" In that article, Dykman (1993) concluded, "There is little data to support a claim of a [current] vocational teacher shortage" (p. 27). However, of 37 states that responded to her questionnaire, 17 indicated a demand for teachers in certain [but not all] vocational areas. Dykman points out that anecdotal evidence and some survey data show that many states are concerned about the future as teachers retire and high school student populations begin to swell again. Supply is difficult to predict. As discussed in previous sections of this paper, colleges and universities simply aren't producing a large quantity of vocational education teachers. Unless there are significant changes made in our nation's colleges and universities relative to producing more vocational teachers, states will not be able to depend on them as a major supply source in the future. And the debate continues as to the wisdom of permitting people without college-level preparation and training in professional education to teach in vocational education programs.
But the problem of supply may be deeper than finding adequate numbers to staff classrooms. There is also the quality issue. Especially since 1984, the literature on teacher education in general has been fraught with commentary on the need to upgrade significantly the quality of the teaching force. As discussed by Lynch (1988) and placed in context for vocational education, the issue of quality seems to focus on two views of teacher education reform. One is grounded in the public perception of an "inadequately prepared, nurtured, evaluated, and compensated teaching (and related administrative and support) staff" (p. 115). The public and their state legislators simply have not felt our nation's schools were staffed with good teachers. Thus, over 1,000 pieces of legislation designed to reform teacher education were initiated by state legislative bodies in the mid-1980s (Darling-Hammond & Berry, 1988).
A second quality issue speaks of making teaching, once and for all, a respected profession. This means establishing requirements for training and entry into the field; defining the nature of the work, the structure of the job, and the authority that governs it; developing and monitoring accountability measures (i.e., through accreditation); enforcing a code of ethics, with special concern for clients; identifying a knowledge base that must be mastered by those who are to practice the profession; and preparing practitioners to exercise a high degree of autonomy - all based on interpretive and applicative knowledge. In essence, each view speaks to standards.
Finally - but closely related - what does the vocational and technical education teacher of the future need to know and be able to do? Do current teachers being produced possess the knowledge and skills needed in today's vocational and technical education classrooms? How about tomorrow's classrooms? Dykman (1993) noted that states showed need of teachers in high tech areas and then strongest in health occupations, skilled trades, and technology. However, these are not areas for which colleges and universities seem to produce teachers.
Perkins II legislation, anticipated school-to-work transition legislation, and national and state reports addressing reform in vocational education imply that teachers must be prepared, for example, to (a) implement programs of tech prep, (b) integrate academic and vocational education, (c) operate apprenticeship and other school-work connected programs, (d) serve at-risk learners effectively, (e) use computers and technology throughout the instructional program, (f) design new and innovative curriculum and instruction for the contemporary workplace, (g) provide for leadership development among students, (h) inform students of multiple career options and career paths, etc. Are current vocational teacher education programs preparing their graduates to implement these programs and practices?
The next section will examine the responsiveness of vocational teacher education to four initiatives prominent in Perkins II legislation: (1) tech prep; (2) integration of vocational education content and programs; (3) school-to-work transition and interacting with business and industry; and (4) work with special populations.