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Leadership in Career and Technical Education: Beginning the 21st Century


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Foreword Leadership in Career and Technical Education: Beginning the 21st Century is the third edited book published by the University Council of Workforce and Human Resource Education (UCWHRE), formerly the University Council of Vocational Education (UCVE). The previous books, Beyond Tradition: Preparing the Teachers of Tomorrow’s Workforce (Hartley & Wentling, 1996) and Beyond Tradition: Preparing Human Resource Development Educators for Tomorrow’s Workforce (Stewart & Hall, 1998) reported trends in their respective fields and also addressed issues that are perennial to workforce education. This publication is somewhat different in that it represents a collaborative effort among members of the UCWHRE, the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education and the National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education. This collaboration symbolizes efforts to link theory and research to practice and practice to theory and research. It is for the above reasons, as well as some additional ones that I will reference, that I celebrate having played a role in this edited publication. Contributing authors include some of the most established scholars in the field and some of the most promising. Chapter reviewers helped the authors polish their scholarship and make the texts more accessible to practitioners where much of the “real” work and leadership of career and technical education occur. Not only do I value and appreciate these efforts from my colleagues but I also find inspiration and hope from them in these challenging times. While these individuals made significant effort and played a central role in this publication, Dr. Jeff Allen at the University of North Texas in particular assumed a major leadership role in this publication and without his contributions it is doubtful this publication would have come to fruition.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Leadership in
Career and Technical Education:
Beginning the 21st Century
Leadership in
Career and Technical Education:
Beginning the 21st Century
Edited by
James A. Gregson
University of Idaho
Jeff M. Allen
University of North Texas
University Council for Workforce
and Human Resource Education
Columbus, Ohio USA
Copyright © 2005
by the University Council for Workforce
and Human Resource Education
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, or
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without
written permission of the publisher.
Cover Design: Jeff Allen, Lynne Cagle
Table of Contents
Chapter 1....................................................................................1
New Approaches to Preparing
Career and Technical Education Teachers
Kenneth Gray
The Pennsylvania State University
Chapter 2.................................................................................29
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework for
Secondary Vocational Education and Career and
Technical Education over the Past Century
William G. Camp and Courtney L. Johnson
Cornell University
Chapter 3.................................................................................63
The Changing Environment of Career and Technical
Education Leadership Development in the
United States
Christopher J. Zirkle, Rebecca A. Parker, and N. L. McCaslin
The Ohio State University
Chapter 4.................................................................................95
Imagining the Future of Career and Technical
Education: Reflections for Career and Technical
Education Leadership from National Leadership
Institute Scholars
Jerry R. McMurtry
The University of Idaho
Chapter 5............................................................................... 133
Leadership in Career and Technical Education:
An International Perspective
Joshua D. Hawley
The Ohio State University
The University Council for Workforce
and Human Resource Education
The University Council for Workforce and Human
Resource Education is a nonprofit organization representing
the nation's leading universities. The Council provides
leadership for teaching, research, and service initiatives in
career and technical education and human resource
The mission of UCWHRE is to be a recognized force in
shaping the future of career and technical education and
human resource development through improving the policy
and practices of education in the United States toward the
betterment of individuals and the larger society.
The purposes are to:
1. Provide a forum surfacing and debating the
contemporary issues significant to career and
technical education and human resource
2. Develop and formulate positions on emerging
trends and issues affecting career and technical
education and human resource development.
3. Improve the capacity of member institutions to
shape the direction of career and technical
education and human resource development
through teaching, research, and service.
4. Promote an understanding of significant issues in
career and technical education and human resource
5. Increase the visibility of higher education
institutions concerned with the professional
preparation of individuals preparing for roles in
career and technical education and human resource
6. Expand collaboration with individuals and
organizations, which focus on issues affecting
career and technical education and human resource
In carrying out the above purposes of the organization,
attention will be given to maintenance, development, and
operation of the UCWHRE.
Leadership in Career and Technical Education: Beginning the
21st Century is the third edited book published by the
University Council of Workforce and Human Resource
Education (UCWHRE), formerly the University Council of
Vocational Education (UCVE). The previous books, Beyond
Tradition: Preparing the Teachers of Tomorrow’s Workforce (Hartley
& Wentling, 1996) and Beyond Tradition: Preparing Human
Resource Development Educators for Tomorrow’s Workforce (Stewart
& Hall, 1998) reported trends in their respective fields and
also addressed issues that are perennial to workforce
education. This publication is somewhat different in that it
represents a collaborative effort among members of the
UCWHRE, the National Research Center for Career and
Technical Education and the National Dissemination Center
for Career and Technical Education. This collaboration
symbolizes efforts to link theory and research to practice and
practice to theory and research.
It is for the above reasons, as well as some additional
ones that I will reference, that I celebrate having played a role
in this edited publication. Contributing authors include some
of the most established scholars in the field and some of the
most promising. Chapter reviewers helped the authors polish
their scholarship and make the texts more accessible to
practitioners where much of the “real” work and leadership
of career and technical education occur. Not only do I value
and appreciate these efforts from my colleagues but I also
find inspiration and hope from them in these challenging
times. While these individuals made significant effort and
played a central role in this publication, Dr. Jeff Allen at the
University of North Texas in particular assumed a major
leadership role in this publication and without his
contributions it is doubtful this publication would have come
to fruition.
Providing a coherent sense of leadership in career and
technical education at the beginning of the 21st century is not
an easy task for many reasons:
First, career and technical education exists at many levels
(e.g., middle school, high school, community and technical
colleges) and has many purposes (e.g., preparation for work,
academic achievement through contextualized learning, career
development). Consequently, leadership in career and
technical education is difficult to operationalize and theorize
since it exists for many reasons and in many different
Second, in this era of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), some
would suggest that career and technical education should no
longer be offered in public schools but rather only at the
postsecondary level. As a result, career and technical
education programs continue to decline across the nation as
schools and states struggle with diminishing resources and
increased expectations however narrowly defined (e.g.,
student achievement on standardized examinations).
Third, programs which prepare career and technical
education professionals have greatly declined in the past two
decades at research extensive and land grant universities and,
consequently, so has research that focuses on career and
technical education in general and on leadership in particular.
Further, those academicians in higher education who still are
members of programs that prepare career and technical
education professionals and leaders, often times have had role
expansion or revision to the extent that their focus is less on
career and technical education and more on such areas as
Human Resource Development.
The contributors to this edited book authored their
respective works in the context of challenges in the nation,
higher education, and career and technical education. While
the chapters differ theoretically, empirically, and practically,
they uniformly address leadership issues for, in, and about
career and technical education. It is my hope that you find the
chapters as meaningful as I have.
Jim Gregson
University Council of Workforce
and Human Resource Education
New Approaches to Preparing
Career and Technical Education Teachers
Kenneth Gray
The Pennsylvania State University
The future is here. It's just not widely
distributed yet. William Gibson (1948 - )
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a bit of
speculation regarding forms that career and technical
education (CTE) licensure/preparation will take in the 21st
century. To a certain extent, the future is already clear. CTE
education itself changed quite dramatically in the last 15 to 20
years of the 20th century. By the turn of this century the
effects of these and other legislative/demographic/market
developments on CTE teacher preparation programs were
evident. Thus to a great extent this chapter is more about
observing recent developments in CTE teacher preparation
than pure speculation about the future.
Before beginning I would like to recognize the work of
those who have gone before me in writing about CTE
teachers and teacher preparation. Many of these scholars are
cited in what follows. I would, however, draw the reader’s
attention to an earlier University Council-edited book Beyond
Tradition: Preparing the Teachers of Tomorrow’s Workforce, edited by
Hartley and Wentling (1996), which deals exclusively with
CTE teacher preparation; to the work of Richard Lynch
(1996, 1997), who has written extensively on this topic; to the
recent work by Bruening, Scanlon, Hoover, and Hodes
(2002); and finally to the comprehensive work of McCaslin
and Parks (2002).
2 Gray
Teacher preparation is a critical and timely issue for
CTE (Maurer, 2001; Smith, 2003). Maintaining an adequate
supply of teachers is particularly critical for CTE. All too
often, when a school district cannot find a CTE teacher the
solution is to eliminate the program. Thus it is not too
dramatic to suggest that a viable CTE teacher preparation
system is second only to CTE program enrollments in its
potential impact on the future of CTE. In fact it is exactly the
inability of the traditional university fulltime student model
CTE teacher preparation to solve CTE teacher shortages and
the resultant increase of CTE teachers who enter the
profession using alternative certification routes that is already
changing preparation. However, before elaborating on these
and related issues, it is useful to review the present state of
CTE and ask What is the future of CTE? because ultimately as
its prospects rise or fall so too does CTE teacher preparation.
Career and Technical Education
in the 21st Century
CTE is practiced at the high school and pre-
baccalaureate postsecondary level. Each has undergone
changes at the end of the 20th century that have implications
for CTE teachers and teacher preparation programs.
Community and Technical Colleges
The first factor of significance affecting postsecondary
pre-baccalaureate technical education in the 21st century is the
increased importance of workers prepared at the technician
level. For example the second fastest growing occupation is,
according to Department of Labor projections, computer
support technicians. There will be 100,000 more of these jobs
than jobs for computer engineers. While immigration via
temporary H1b visas prevented significant shortages of
technicians in the 1990s the advent of stricter immigration
regulations since 9/11 terrorist attacks suggests that firms will
have to rely on the domestic labor market to provide most of
such workers in the future. This reality, coupled with the
New Approaches 3
growing number of underemployed 4-year college graduates
that are returning or reverse-transferring into 1-year and 2-
year technical programs suggests the future outlook for the
expansion of postsecondary CTE should be good, and thus
the demand for teachers at this level should also increase.
A second factor affecting postsecondary technical
education is the increased credentialing requirements for both
new and incumbent CTE faculty. During the 1990s many
community and technical colleges, as well as for-profit
technical schools, sought accreditation that would allow them
to offer more advanced degrees. In order to meet standards
of regional accreditation groups these institutions are under
pressure to increase the educational credentials of their
technical education faculty. Thus both new and old faculty
find themselves needing higher-level degrees. While an
associate degree may be adequate for initial employment in
content areas of teacher shortages, the new standard is a
bachelor’s degree with the prospect of masters and even
doctoral degree requirements in the future. Thus a significant
new market for CTE teacher preparation programs,
particularly at the graduate level, is now postsecondary
technical education faculty seeking advanced degrees.
Private Sector For-profits
While largely overlooked – if not looked down upon –
by the teacher preparation community, the number and
relative importance of for-profit CTE schools is significant.
There are 490 private for-profit CTE schools in the U.S.
Importantly; these schools are centralized in California,
Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York. While in the past the
credentials of faculty in these institutions were based mostly
on work experience, these institutions are now also seeking
accreditation to offer degrees and thus also must upgrade
their faculty, thus creating another new potential demand for
undergraduate and graduate education.
4 Gray
High School CTE
The future of CTE teachers and teacher preparation
programs, regardless of the form they may take in the future,
depends first and foremost on the health of high school CTE.
By the turn of the 21st century high school CTE had already
undergone significant transformation. Enrollments that
declined during the 1980s had stabilized, and the inclusion of
Tech Prep in federal legislation legitimized an expanded
mission that included preparation for college. Thus, it is
argued, the present state of high school CTE is likely to
predict its future for some time to come.
At the turn of the century CTE was still a major factor
in the American high school curriculum. Forty-three percent
of high school teens take three or more CTE courses
(National Assessment of Vocational Education [NAVE],
2002); the only content areas where more credits are
generated is English: 4.3 versus 4. One in four high school
teachers teach CTE courses. More importantly one quarter of
high school students are CTE concentrators taking three or
more courses in a single labor market area. Of this group
80% take an academic course sequence as well, and when
they graduate, this group of CTE concentrators 60% go on to
college, with 60% going to 1-year and 2-year technical
programs (Gray, 2002).
Perhaps more important to the future of high school
CTE is the fact that 25% of teens drop out and of those that
graduate 30% go to work, not college. Research indicates that
CTE is the best curriculum to keep these teens in high
school, and outcomes studies find they are more likely to be
employed or in college when they graduate than similar
cohorts that do not participate (Harvey, 2002, Plank, 2001).
Importantly, while work-bound and at-risk youth may not be
the priorities at the federal level they continue to be of
concern at the local level and are therefore an important
reason why CTE support at the local and state level has and
will remain strong. Thus, it is predicted that high school CTE
New Approaches 5
will continue to be viable and that the demand for CTE
teachers will be stable.
CTE Teachers in the 21st Century
Demand for CTE Teachers
It is predicted that the numbers of CTE teachers at the
postsecondary level will increase and at the secondary level
will hold constant in the foreseeable future. While specifics
regarding the demand for community/technical faculty are
not available, data for community college faculty as a whole
suggest there will be nationally a need for as many as 30,000
new appointments due to retirements alone (Berry,
Hammons & Denny, 2001).
At the high school level demand is predicted to be stable
in terms of positions but grow due to retirements. Camp
(2000) reported, for example, that the demand for agriculture
teachers had remained stable or grown slightly between 1996
and 1998. The number of secondary school teachers in
general is predicted to grow by 1.2 million by 2008 (Gerald
& Haussar, 1998). Given that around 25% of all high school
teachers teach CTE-related courses, it is estimated that the
number of new/additional CTE teachers will grow by
approximately 250,000 during this period. Demand will
continue to be disproportionately high in urban districts, and
in states with comparatively low salaries, and for teachers
who are minorities (Dykman, 1993).
At the top of the list of factors contributing to increased
demand for teachers is teacher turnover. Given the aging of
the teaching force – the average age of teachers has increased
steadily over the past 10 years (Hussar, 1999) – some see
future demand as being driven by a wave of retirees.
6 Gray
Shortages of CTE Teachers
While prediction of dire K-12 teacher shortages in all
subject areas evaporated as the economy worsened and the
unemployed filled vacancies, shortages of CTE teachers
remained significant. Based on the U.S Education
Department School Staffing Survey (2003) the difficulty in
finding high school CTE teachers is equal to that of finding
special education teachers and second only to foreign
language teachers. Clearly, a related problem is how few who
complete formal CTE teacher preparation programs opt to
become teachers. Brown (2002) found, for example, that
about half of those with bachelor’s degrees in agriculture
education become teachers.
The lack of postsecondary CTE teachers is no less
dramatic. In a 1999-2000 survey 34% of respondents
reported an increased need for technical teachers and that
23% of their searches for postsecondary industrial technology
teachers had failed to find a qualified candidate (Custer &
Daugherty, 2000). Sixty-four percent indicated they had
increased faculty by one or more. Of particular importance to
CTE teacher preparation institutions, this study found that
criteria for selecting faculty had changed dramatically. While
in the 1980s technical skill was considered to be the most
important qualification, by 2001 a doctoral degree and
teaching experience were considered more important.
Complicating the issues again is that the survey found that
only 27% of those who did earn doctorates went into college
teaching (Brown, 2002). Thus is it reasonable to assume (a)
that the need for postsecondary technical teachers will
increase, (b) that most candidates will not have doctoral
degrees, and therefore (c) that there will be an increase in the
number of new hires who will need to complete this degree.
In all states, teaching CTE programs in public
secondary-level schools requires licensure, and in a few states
New Approaches 7
licensure is also required to teach postsecondary CTE
education in community and technical colleges. These
regulations provide the template from which teacher
preparation programs are constructed. The importance of
understanding the role of state-level teacher licensure
requirements in teacher preparation programs cannot be
overstated. If there is one criticism to be made of much that
has come before regarding the reforming of CTE teacher
licensure, it is that the discussions and recommendations
seem to assume that teacher preparation programs drive
licensure. In reality, it is exactly the reverse. State licensure
requirements drive teacher preparation (Gray & Walter,
2001). Thus to a great extent predicting CTE teacher
preparation programs in the 21st century would be easy if the
direction of CTE teacher preparation could be predicted. The
present system in most states provides a number of different
CTE certifications by program areas. With the exception of
T&I certification/licensure, requirements follow a
baccalaureate preparation model that is customary for other
high school certifications. In a majority of states beginning
T&I teachers do not need a degree: work experience is the
entry-level requirement. This system has prevailed pretty
much unchanged for 100 years, the only major change being
the addition of standardized testing requirements. Where it is
to change one would expect that (a) the multitude of CTE
certifications would be consolidated and (b) at least an
associate degree would be required for T&I teachers. Gray
and Walter (2001) proposed, for example, that all CTE
teacher certifications be collapsed into just two: one for
programs whose mission is not transition to employment and
the other for programs whose mission includes preparation
for work. To date there is little to suggest that this proposal
or any other will lead to the reform of CTE teacher
8 Gray
Present State of CTE Teacher
Preparation Programs
The decline in the numbers and size of CTE teacher
preparation programs has been well documented (Bruening et
al., 2001; Dykman, 1993; Hartley & Wentling, 1996; Lynch,
1996). Through the 1970s, the majority of CTE teacher
preparation programs were discipline specific. For example,
separate programs and faculty could exist for agriculture,
business, family and consumer sciences, as well as trade and
industrial education, all within the same academic
department. Often these departments were quite large in
terms of both faculty and enrollment. Concurrent with the
decline in CTE high school enrollments in the late 1980s,
enrollment in CTE teacher preparation programs also
declined, as did the number of CTE teacher preparation
programs. It is estimated that of the 432 institutions that
offered CTE teacher licensure programs in the 1980s, there
were at least one-third fewer by 1990 (Dykman, 1993). Since
1990 the field declined another 11% (Bruening et al., 2001).
One development is especially important –
consolidation. While many higher education programs were
simply eliminated, those that survived were typically
downsized (Hartley, Bromley, & Cobb, 1996) combining
separate CTE teacher preparation programs into a single
common program of study and/or eliminating those CTE
program areas with low enrollments. Research University-
based programs in particular are now fewer and much
smaller. In many cases CTE graduate education programs
turned to the preparation of human resource/workplace
learning and performance professionals, and CTE teacher
preparation became a less important function. In other cases
CTE teacher preparation programs were incorporated – some
say submersed – into larger departments such as curriculum
and instruction or education leadership.
What can be said in summary about the state of CTE
preparation programs at the turn of this century? To begin
New Approaches 9
with there are fewer of them. While Research University-
based CTE teacher preparation programs dominated the field
in the 20th century, these programs were much diminished by
2000, and preparation of trainers not teachers had become
the bread and butter activity. While documentation is limited,
it would seem that the locus of control in CTE teacher
preparation has in most cases moved to smaller, non-
research-based colleges and universities.
Alternative Certification and Competitors:
The New Reality
Preparation of teachers, including CTE teachers, for
most of the 20th century was the exclusive purview of public
and private colleges. Teacher shortages at the turn of the 21st
century, particularly in urban districts, ended this exclusively,
probably forever.
Alternative Route to Certification
The term alternate certification (AC) is used widely to refer
to methods of licensing teachers who do not complete a
formal baccalaureate teacher education program as fulltime
students. Presently, 45 states and the District of Columbia
have legislation authorizing various alternative route models.
It is estimated that there are as many as 150,000 practicing
teachers gaining certification via alternative routes
(Chambers, Weeks, & Chaloupla, 2003).
Feistritzer (2002) found that alternative certification
models exist to service up to 10 different types of potential
new teachers. Typical examples are those designed to induct
into teaching those who hold a BA but not in education, hold
a BA in education but are not certified to teach, hold a non-
education BA are but willing to return for a masters degree in
education, or are presently teachers but want to switch fields;
most common is some provision to allow such individuals to
begin teaching immediately. Another more recent AC has
been adopted by some states in order to comply with federal
10 Gray
requirements that all teachers be certified in the fields they
teach whereby practicing teachers are awarded additional add-
on certifications if they can pass a standardized test such as
PRAXIS in another content area.
Faced with unprecedented teacher shortages, and the
rather low percentage of graduates from traditional
baccalaureate teacher preparation programs actually going
into teaching, 40 states had enacted alternative teacher
certification regulation by the year 2000 (National Center for
Educational Information [NCEI], 2000). New Jersey, for
example, was reported to hire 22% of its teachers via the
alternative certification routes. Such legislation is an
important factor in allowing states to recruit teachers from
abroad using H1b visas; there are estimated now to be over
10,000 non-native-born teachers in the U.S via the H1b visa
program who become certified via alternative certification
regulations. And much to the disappointment of formal
teacher education programs, research that has been
conducted finds that AC teachers are as effective as those
who come via the alternative route.
Preliminary research suggests that individuals who enter
the profession via AC routes are at least as effective as those
who complete a rational teacher preparation program
(Feistritzer, 2002; Klagholz, 2000; Kwiatkowski, 2000).
Evidence suggests that AC teachers are older and perhaps for
this reason are more committed and have remained in the
profession longer than graduates of traditional programs and
that they perform as well or better on the National Teachers
New Competitors: Community/Technical College and
School Districts
Closely connected, if not the result of the rise of
alternative certification, is the entry of community/technical
colleges, for-profits, and even school districts into the market
of providing the course work for these arrangements.
New Approaches 11
Community colleges have for some time provided programs
to certified early childhood professionals and teacher aids but
not traditional classroom teachers. Faced with unprecedented
needs and the inability of higher education institutions to
develop solutions, states are now turning to their community
college systems, which in general welcome the challenge.
Texas, for example, now allows community colleges to
provide teacher preparation programs. In a recent survey of
community colleges deans, 54% indicated they had one or
more teacher preparation programs (Gerdeman, 2001). As
will be discussed, many of these programs are offered
cooperatively with 4-year and graduate degree-granting
programs. And finally many large school districts have begun
their own programs; New York City, which in one year was
forced to hire 9,000 unlicensed teachers (Bradley, 1999) is a
prime example.
New Competitors: Private Sector For-Profits
Another new entrant into the teacher education
market is for-profits, many of which are already licensed to
offer baccalaureate degree programs. Sylvan Learning
Systems, for example, earned $59 million from teacher
education offerings in 2002 (Blumenstyk, 2003). Prime targets
of these companies are individuals with degrees who wanted
to enter teaching, those needing professional development
credits, and those seeking master’s degrees. The potential of
for-profits dramatically changing the landscape of teacher
preparation and graduate education is nothing less than
startling (see Blumenstyk, 2003). The effect of CTE teacher
preparation is less than clear. Because the CTE teacher
education market is relatively small, it may not be worth for-
profits’ consideration. However, CTE teachers who need
advanced degrees often find that their employers are not too
choosey about what field these degrees are in. Thus the
potential for CTE graduate education to lose market share to
for-profits is very real.
12 Gray
New Roles and Models of
CTE Teacher Preparation
By the turn of the 21st century the number of CTE
programs had declined. CTE teacher preparation programs at
research-based universities, in particular, had either been
eliminated or significantly reduced in size and scope. By the
turn of the century the smaller teaching-based colleges and
universities were now the major providers of CTE teacher
preparation. The question remains: What will likely be the
prevalent models of CTE preparation in the future?
According to Bruening et al. (2001) the traditional model
continued to be the most prevalent at the turn of the 21st
century. In this model the typical student was a fulltime
undergraduate who took a program of study that included
both pedagogy and skills courses. It is unlikely this model will
be dominant in the future because it is both expensive to run
and inefficient to meet the demand for new CTE teachers. To
begin with, fewer and fewer institutions will be willing or able
to afford the high cost of providing occupational skills
training and will be forced to resort instead to verifying
directly or indirectly a candidate’s competency. Second,
considering the huge numbers of current teachers
approaching retirement age and that only 50% of those who
finish a formal teacher education program go into teaching
and, of those, 50% leave the field in 5 years and 80% in 10
years (Szuminski, 2003), it is clear the traditional model
simply will not turn out enough teachers to meet the demand
and thus they will be forced to resort to other models that
will. These new models will vary but have in common the
need to address new roles.
New Roles for CTE Teacher
Preparation Programs
It is speculated that CTE teacher preparation programs
are beginning to evolve in reaction to the changing roles they
will adopt in order to survive.
New Approaches 13
Documentation of Occupational Skills Content
For much of the last half of the 20th century CTE
professionals debated the wisdom of the T&I teacher
preparation/licensure model that recognized work experience
not a baccalaureate degree as the core criterion. Often lost in
this debate was the reality that work experience was the
method by which T&I teachers learned subject matter
knowledge or the skills of the occupation they would teach.
The model was at least partly based on a very pragmatic
realization that teacher preparation programs could not begin
to provide instruction in the wide range of occupations
included in T&I. To begin with it would be very expensive
and second it would be very difficult to find individuals who
were both craft persons and possessed degrees necessary to
teach in higher education. Today all CTE teacher preparation
programs are faced with the same reality. Providing the skills
instruction is too expensive, and finding individuals with both
degrees and skills is increasingly impossible (Brown, 2002).
Thus it is predicted that in the future all but the best funded
institutions or those that have non-CTE teacher preparation
programs that share similar instruction training facilities such
as colleges of agriculture will be forced to rely on some type
of prior or concurrent experience where teachers gain content
knowledge. Thus it is likely that most CTE teacher
preparation programs will need to rely on prior work
experience, skill specific associate degrees, or required
internships to insure that CTE teachers have content
knowledge. It is also likely that CTE teacher preparation
programs will be accountable for determining the adequacy of
this knowledge through some type of occupational skills
assessment procedure.
Classroom Supervision of Instruction
The major role of CTE teacher preparation programs
will continue to be teaching candidates pedagogical skills.
However, whereas it is predicted that a major proportion of
new CTE teachers will start with some type of
14 Gray
provision/alternative certification, CTE teacher preparation
programs will find it necessary to provide short-term initial
“train-the-trainer” type crash course in how to teach and then
provide on-site supervision of new CTE teachers.
Awarding of Academic Credit
Awarding academic credit toward licensure and or
higher education degrees for work conducted in other
institutions or state-endorsed alternative route programs will
be a major role of CTE programs in the future. While, as will
be discussed subsequently, many different groups may
sponsor alternative teacher preparation programs, including
school districts, these sponsors are not accredited nor are
they likely to become accredited to award degrees.
Furthermore in most states only specific institutions are
designated by the states to award teaching certificates, and
while this could change, higher education lobbying is unlikely
to allow this to happen. Thus, faced with the realities that
most CTE teacher preparation programs will need to rely on
prospective students who have already mastered the skills and
that one likely place to do so is by gaining an associate degree
in a technology at a community/technical college and that, in
light of teacher shortages, community/technical/junior
colleges are increasing seen as providers of potential teachers,
it is likely that many CTE teacher preparation programs will
develop articulation agreements with community colleges
whereby they will accept community college credits towards a
degree and teacher certification. It is equally likely that most
CTE teacher preparation programs will seek ways, if they
have not done so already, to award credits for work
experience, a practice that exists for returning adults at most
colleges. The market for such developments is compelling.
The 2-year providers have the occupational programs and
students; the college-based CTE teacher preparation
programs have the state/national accredited teacher
preparation programs. The key to making the articulation
work is the ability or willingness of the latter to accept the
credits of the former toward a degree and/or teacher
New Approaches 15
certificate. Such arrangements are becoming quite common,
in part because, when colleges are unwilling to accept the
credits of 2-year providers, state legislators, as witnessed in
Florida and Texas, seem more than willing to authorize the 2-
year providers to offer a complete teacher preparation
Certifying Out-of-Field and Add-on Permits
In times past, when adequate supplies of teachers in
most program areas was the rule, not the exception, it was
somewhat uncommon for working teachers to seek
certification so they could teach in a new content area. While
again exact data are not available, it is predicted that this route
will become more common. One reason is the track taken by
many states in complying with the provision of No Child Left
Behind requiring that all teachers be highly qualified. In many
states this provision has been interpreted to mean that all
teachers should be certified in the field they teach, and in
order to comply quickly states have made it considerably
easier to gain additional teacher certifications. In some
states, for example, out-of-field or add-on teaching
endorsements are given to anyone who can pass the relevant
subject matter PRAXIS exam. In the case of CTE,
particularly T&I, there are no such exams; thus CTE teacher
preparation programs will likely develop some type of
program to accommodate those who wish to change to CTE
fields. Such programs are, for example, an important means
of providing technology education teachers in South Carolina
(Simons & Linwell, 1998).
Professional Development
While not new, it is predicted that providing
professional development activities for practicing CTE
teachers will grow in importance. In 35 states, permanently
certified teachers must complete prescribed professional
development activities in order to maintain their license to
teach (Hirsch, 2001). In many states CTE teacher
16 Gray
preparation programs are a major provider of these activities.
Because providing such activities is a source of additional
funding and credit generation it is likely they will grow in
importance in the future.
New Models of CTE Teacher Preparation
Alternative Certification
It can be predicted that AC in CTE will become the
dominant teacher preparation model in the 21st century for
several reasons. First, fewer and fewer traditional college
students aspire to be CTE teachers; thus enrollments of
fulltime students will likely decline. Also, fewer and fewer
CTE teacher preparation programs can afford to maintain the
instructional labs to teach occupational skills. As witnessed by
the decline of CTE teacher preparation programs at most
large universities, this combination of declining enrollments
and high costs leads sooner or later to institutional decisions
to eliminate the programs. Thus it seems difficult not to
conclude that those CTE programs that adopt some form of
the T&I model will likely survive. Second, even if institutions
are willing to continue to support traditional programs, these
programs have not been able to provide sufficient numbers
of teachers to meet the demand. Thus under pressure from
local school officials, states will adopt alternative certification
regulations; most have already done so.
It is predicted that the future model of teacher
preparation in the U.S. will be AC and that CTE will be no
exception. A long article in Techniques on alternative routes to
certification by Wright (2001) is one sure sign of the
importance of AC to the CTE field. The specific form AC
takes will probably differ state-by-state and institution-by-
institution but will have some common challenges. Namely,
AC programs in CTE will need to provide a delivery system
that accommodates mostly part-time adult learners, develop a
means for assessing not teaching subject matter skills and
awarding academic credit for this experience, and a way to
provide some type of a short-term train-the-trainer type
New Approaches 17
teaching methods course, which probably will take place in
the summer, followed by supervision of instruction in the
new teacher’s classroom.
On-Site Teacher Preparation Models
One alternate route variation is the on-site teacher
preparation model. In this model the school district/regional
CTE center, etc. cooperates with the certification institution
whereby the candidate learns the profession via a form of
supervised on-the-job training. The key is the word supervised.
In this model the teacher preparation institution provides on-
site supervision of instruction and awards academic credit for
successful completion. This is the model used, for example,
for T&I certification in Pennsylvania whereby Indiana
University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University, and
Temple University supervise beginning T&I teachers during
their first 2 years (Walter, 2002). In a certain sense this
method is an alternative to the professional development
Distance Education
While research suggested that at the turn of the 21st
century most CTE teacher preparation programs were still
traditional, they did find that one area of change was the
rather widespread adoption of some form of distance
education. As the number of CTE teacher preparation
programs declined, those remaining were positioned via
attrition to provide teacher preparation outside of their
traditional service areas; distance education was the typical
solution. Whereas it is predicted that more than half of future
CTE teachers will enter the profession via some alternative
route, that they will begin teaching fulltime prior to gaining
permanent certification and therefore will be working fulltime
while trying to complete CTE teacher preparation course
work, distance education is an obvious solution for both the
student and the preparing institution.
18 Gray
Flexible Graduate Education
As discussed previously there is evidence that the
demand for CTE graduate education will increase.
Importantly this does not mean the demand for fulltime
graduate education will grow. The opposite is predicted. In
this regard the future is here. Few native-born students are
interested in fulltime graduate education. Most CTE graduate
education programs that have survived to the 21st century
have already adapted to this reality by offering condensed
courses, distance courses, etc.
Program Content
It has been argued above that, aside from graduate
education, providing pedagogical instruction, not content
knowledge, will be the major instructional role in the future
for most CTE teacher preparation programs. Teacher
effectiveness research suggests four areas of competence
needed to be a successful teacher (Smith, 2003):
academic/verbal skills, subject matter knowledge, teaching
methods, and field experience. Of these, teaching
competencies and field experiences are likely to dominate.
While arguably the competencies for beginning teachers as
outlined by the National Board for Professional Teaching
Standards (NBPTS, 2001) are applicable to all teachers
including CTE teachers, there are special competencies for
CTE teachers. Gray and Walter (2001), for example, have
suggested the following:
xAnalyze the classroom/laboratory environment and
develop a plan to maximize the effectiveness of the
instructional program as well as safeguard the health
and well-being of all;
xDesign and deliver instruction within the
competency-based methodology;
xIdentify and involve relevant stakeholder groups;
New Approaches 19
xDevelop and cultivate business, industry, and
community partnerships;
xImplement Tech Prep fundamentals;
xPlan, initiate, and supervise work-based learning; and
xAssist in the post-graduation placement of students.
Additionally there would seem to be others, including the
xAbility to develop Web-based instruction.
xAbility to pass general knowledge teacher tests.
xAbility to develop instructional strategies for students
of various abilities including at risk and special needs.
xAbility to develop rapport with race and ethnic
diverse students.
xAbility to emphasize and reinforce occupationally
specific math, science and communication concepts.
xAbility to deal with work-related stress.
Of these competencies, teaching prospective CTE
teachers how to emphasize and reinforce specific math,
science, and communication concepts is perhaps the newest,
and at this time the most pressing concern. As explained
earlier, high school CTE students are as a group less
academically prepared when they enter high school and thus
are also apt not to do as well on state-mandated achievement
tests. Thus CTE programs find it necessary to do whatever
possible to reinforce the academic content already imbedded
in the occupational content. In general this is a totally new
competency for CTE teachers, and both they and CTE
teacher educators are now struggling to become skilled.
20 Gray
As a way of summarizing, what can be predicted for the
future of CTE teacher preparation? The outlook for
postsecondary CTE seems strong. At the high school level
attrition due to increasing numbers of students going to
college had played itself out by the turn of this century. While
the number of CTE credits taken by high school students has
declined, 43% still take three or more CTE courses, 25% are
considered concentrators taking three or more in a single
labor market area, and of this latter group 60% go to college.
Further it is predicted that at the state and local level CTE
will continue to receive significant support because serving
the now consistent 30% of students that go to work not
college and doing something to reduce the 25% dropout rate
prevention will be a priority. All of which suggests that the
demand for CTE teachers will remain constant at the high
school level and grow at the postsecondary level, particularly
for graduate education.
In predicting a future model of CTE teacher preparation
one major caveat needs mentioning first. Specifically, that
first and foremost CTE teacher preparation programs are
driven by state licensure/teacher certification requirements.
For example, if states were to move away from unique
teaching certificates for different high school CTE programs
to a more generic credential, many teacher preparation
programs would change dramatically. At this time one
direction in state licensure is clear. Namely that states have
largely abandoned the idea that teacher preparation programs
in higher education institutions are the only or even the
preferred provider of teachers. The implication of this
development seems clear; the days of a few institutions
having little or no competition in preparing CTE teachers are
over (or soon to be over) particularly if these institutions are
perceived as being inadequate to meet state needs for CTE
New Approaches 21
It is highly unlikely that the present traditional model of
fulltime undergraduate preparation that includes skill training
will survive as the dominant model. It is or will be too
expensive to operate and, because of declining interest in
CTE teaching among traditional college students and the low
number of CTE students who actually become teachers, this
model cannot provide adequate numbers of teachers. The
declining number of research universities that have viable
CTE teacher preparation programs already evidences the
result of this reality.
There are developing new markets for CTE preparation
programs. First, as the community/technical colleges and for-
profits technical schools seek to upgrade the credentials of
their technical education faculty in order to meet
requirements of accreditation agencies, these professionals
will be looking for advanced degrees, and the logical major is
CTE. Second is the largely untapped group of workforce
development professionals who work for non-profits and
government-sponsored programs. In the past these
individuals came largely from the ranks of unemployed
themselves, but there are now signs that this field is becoming
professionalized, and thus creating a new market.
It is predicted that in the future the most common route
to CTE teaching will be some form of AC. This means that
students will be older, most likely have at least an associate
degree, have prior work experience, and will not be fulltime
students. As a result it is most likely that CTE teacher
education programs will rely on work experience, degrees, or
internships to ensure subject matter competence. The role of
the CTE teacher education institution will be to certify
subject matter competence and provide instruction in
teaching effectiveness methods. Major challenges will include
preparing new teachers in how to accommodate special
needs, at-risk youth, and reinforcing math, science, and
communication concepts in the curriculum. Another
challenge will be providing this instruction in formats other
than traditional college classes; many CTE teacher education
22 Gray
programs have already started using distance education, off-
campus courses, and the use of adjunct faculty. And lastly it
is again quite possible if not probably certain that the
alternative route certification models states adopt will include
some type of on-site supervision/observation of new teachers
and that CTE teacher preparation programs will be expected
to provide it.
Finally, while in the past CTE teacher preparation was
the sole domain of traditional degree-granting institutions, it
is likely in the future these programs will no longer have such
a monopoly. The priority at the state level will be to ensure
there are teachers, and there are signs already that the states
no longer view teacher preparation as something that only
higher education institutions can do. It is highly likely, for
example, that in many states community/technical colleges
will offer teacher preparation programs and even be licensed
by the state to award licensure and degrees. If this is the case
it is also highly likely that for-profits will enter the market as
well. Many large urban districts have already started their own
teacher preparation programs, and they will include preparing
CTE teachers if necessary. Thus perhaps the greatest
challenge for present CTE teacher preparation programs is to
become strong partners in alternative route teacher
preparation programs as they develop in each state. In the
future teacher education in general will become an open
market. This is perhaps the greatest threat to existing
programs in many states. Survival will depend on taking the
initiative to become a part of this new reality of higher
education capitalism unrestrained, and in a market only the
most innovative, the most flexible, and the most efficient will
New Approaches 23
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28 Gray
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework for Secondary
Level Vocational Education and Career and Technical
Education over the Past Century
William G. Camp and Courtney L. Johnson
Cornell University
The authors argue that a theoretical framework is at least
as important for a profession as for a research study. They
examine the theoretical framework that under girded the
system of vocational education established under the Smith-
Hughes legislation in the early 1900s. They briefly outline the
attempts of late 20th century scholars to develop a theory base
for vocational education as the movement toward career and
technical education took hold. They contend that the career
and technical education system evolving today is based on the
principles of human capital theory, taking into account the
demands of educational reform, ongoing calls for educational
accountability at all levels, and the demands imposed on
workers by a high-performance economy and society. Finally,
they argue that the curriculum and pedagogy of career and
technical education can no longer be based on behaviorist
principles and that the nature of our instructional programs
must change to meet the demands of the changing workforce
for critically-thinking, problem-solving workers.
The research literature is replete with references to
theory and theoretical frameworks. Peer review requirements
for manuscripts under consideration for scholarly publication
typically include specific evaluation categories regarding
theoretical frameworks. We find it difficult to imagine
allowing a doctoral dissertation to be approved without at
least some attempt to relate the research to some form of
theoretical framework. The professional literature makes
30 Camp & Johnson
much less ado about the relationship between theory and
practice. An attempt to find meaningful references to an
overarching theoretical framework for the profession of
career and technical education has proven to be very difficult;
yet, we would propose that a theoretical framework is at least
as important for a profession as it is for a research study.
Kerlinger (1979) concluded that "the purpose of science is
theory” (p. 15). His implication was that the fundamental
purpose of science, and by extension, the fundamental
purpose of research, is to create theoretical explanations of
reality. Theory, he reasoned, allows us to understand and
predict nature. Conversely, Marriam (1998) described theory
as providing the conceptual basis for all research. In his
retiring presidential address to the American Vocational
Education Research Association in December 2000, Camp
We can infer a symbiotic relationship between
theory and research. Theory provides context
without which the research could not be
meaningful and research generates and tests
theory without which the theory would not have
meaning. The two, theory and research, are each
the sine qua non of the other. (as cited in Camp,
2001, p. 12)
Creswell (1994) explained that theories can be grouped
into three general levels based on each theory’s degree of
generality or specificity. Grand theories explain broad categories
of phenomena and tend to be sweeping in nature. Middle-range
theories explain categories of phenomena beyond the
working hypotheses of everyday life but lack the overarching
nature of grand theories. Substantive theories offer limited
explanations and may be thought of as day-to-day
propositions or hypotheses.
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 31
Theoretical Frameworks
Lamenting what they saw as a general lack of direction
in the field, Doty and Weissman (1984) concluded:
The confusion over what vocational education
“should be” exemplifies the lack of a theory or
theories of vocational education. Although some
may consider the C.A. Prosser and T.H. Quigley
(1949) theorems, or other similar principles, as
the theories of vocational education they are not
adequate. These are simply guidelines for
conducting a vocational program – not
explanations of behavior or physical events. (p 5)
We would argue that no profession has its own theory.
Rather, we would contend that a profession should be based
on theory and that the practice of a profession should be
explained by its theoretical framework.
The use of the term theoretical framework in relationship to
research is widely accepted. From a qualitative perspective,
Marshall and Rossman (1989) used the term “theoretical
frame” (p. 24). They contended that the theoretical frame
provides a conceptual grounding for a study and rests on
both tacit (experience-based) theory and formal (literature-
based) theory. From that perspective, the “theoretical frame
serves to inform the researcher's assumptions and guide his
or her questions about the research setting” (Camp, 2001, p.
In a symposium sponsored by the American Vocational
Education Research Association (AVERA), Warmbrod
(1986) wrote that "a theoretical/conceptual framework can be
defined as a systematic ordering of ideas about the
phenomena being investigated or as a systematic account of
the relations among a set of variables" (p. 2). Warmbrod went
on to admonish researchers in career and technical education
to emphasize the theoretical/conceptual framework to
32 Camp & Johnson
provide "structure and meaning to the interpretation of
findings" (p. 4).
Noting the clear differences in perspective based on
epistemological stances of qualitative and quantitative
researchers, Camp (2001) proposed a definition of theoretical
framework as, “as a set of theoretical assumptions that explain the
relationships among a set of phenomena” (p. 18). Camp went on
later to propose,
to provide an adequate theoretical framework
for a study, the literature must first establish at
least one supportable premise and then generate
one or more propositions that the researcher can
postulate in the form of theoretical assumptions
regarding the phenomena under study. (p 23).
Thus, a solid theoretical framework for research is a
concise train of logical statements that begins with a
theoretical premise as its basis and then proceeds through a
rational series of supporting theories, research, or premises
that lead inexorably to the study.
That same definition would seem to hold from the
standpoint of developing a theoretical framework for a
profession. If that assumption holds true, a theoretical
framework for a profession can be defined as a “concise train of
logical statements that begins with a theoretical premise as its basis and
then proceeds through a rational series of supporting theories, research, or
premises that lead inexorably to the guiding principles of the profession.”
An acceptable theoretical framework for a research study can
be based on a theory that is at Grand, Middle-Range, or
Substantive level, but we do not believe that criterion is
acceptable for a profession. Certainly for a mature profession
such as career and technical education, which traces its
foundations back to the ancient world, nothing less than
grand theory should be acceptable as its basic theoretical
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 33
For the remainder of this chapter, we propose to briefly
outline the theoretical framework that served as the historical
foundation for vocational education as it developed under the
leadership of David Snedden and Charles Prosser during the
years leading up to and following the passage of the Smith
Hughes Act in 1917. That discussion will be followed by a
very brief review of the theoretical foundations of vocational
education for the latter third of the 20th century. Finally, we
will propose a theoretical framework for contemporary career
and technical education as we move further into the 21st
century. We will not attempt to undertake here the task of
developing a set of guiding principles, as Charles Prosser
(1925) and Mel Miller (1985) did in the previous century.
A Theoretical Framework for
Secondary-Level Smith-Hughes
Vocational Education
David Snedden and Charles Prosser are generally
credited with being the architects of Smith-Hughes style
vocational education in the United States (Camp & Hillison,
1984). The most specific set of principles for the design of
the vocational education system was provided by Prosser
himself, in the form of what came to be known as Prosser’s
Sixteen Theorems (Prosser & Allen, 1925; Prosser & Quigley,
Although Prosser’s theorems cannot be called “theory”
in the literal sense, they comprise the guiding principles from
which vocational education was designed in the early 1900s.
We have never been able to find a cogent set of foundational
theories or philosophies that were actually identified by any
of the major players in the early development of vocational
education in this country. Nevertheless, subsequent work by a
number of authors, most notably Arthur Wirth (1972), helped
vocational educators to informally reconstruct the theoretical
foundation on which Prosser must have based his theorems.
If we couple those theoretical bases with Prosser’s theorems,
a remarkably cogent theoretical framework emerges.
34 Camp & Johnson
Social Efficiency
The overarching grand theory of social efficiency
appears to have provided the basis for the rationale used by
proponents of vocational education in the early 1900s (Camp,
1983; Doty & Weissman, 1984; Wirth, 1972). The basic tenet
of social efficiency was that everyone benefits when a social
and economic system works with maximum efficiency;
therefore, social efficiency must be the ultimate goal of any
social and economic system. A number of less sweeping,
generally middle-range theories had implications on the
overall social efficiency theory. The following paragraphs
summarize the dominant theories that seem to have played a
part in the early development of vocational education.
Social Class and Social Stratification
Many sociologists held that society was rightly divided
into a class structure, based largely on economic
considerations. Although the desirability of social
stratification from an idealistic perspective was not defended,
its contribution to social efficiency made stratification by
social class an economically beneficial phenomenon (Camp,
1983; Wirth, 1972).
Social Control
The theory of social control also appears to have had a
clear impact on Prosser’s thinking. Social control theorists
believed that a fundamental necessity for any society to
achieve stability and to make progress was directly dependent
on the ability of that society to maintain control over its
members. Ideally, that control should be based on voluntary
conformity to an accepted set of social norms and mores. In
that theory, the role of schools was held to be the
development of “good citizenship” and the inculcation of a
set of accepted values based on the individual’s place in
society (Camp, 1983; Wirth, 1972).
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 35
Probable Destiny
Another widely held theory of the time was known as
probable destiny. Given the goal of social efficiency and the
reality of social stratification, a person’s social and economic
future was largely based on his or her family and background.
Recognizing that exceptions were possible, in general,
children of wealthy parents could expect to become wealthy
adults and factory workers’ children would likely become
factory workers (Camp, 1983; Wirth, 1972).
Measurement Theory
In the field of psychology, measurement theorists had
come to believe that personal characteristics could be
determined with great accuracy by means of appropriate tests
or other measurement tools. The concept of intelligence and
the idea of the intelligence quotient (IQ) became popular as
well as the idea of measuring interests and abilities in other
arenas (Camp, 1983; Wirth, 1972).
The dominant learning theory of the time was
behaviorism. Although behavioral learning theory clearly
qualifies as grand theory, using Creswell’s (1994) definition,
behaviorism did not play a central role in the development of
vocational education. Thus, we consider behaviorism to have
played a supporting role in the vocational education drama.
One tenet of behaviorist theory was that virtually any task
could be analyzed into discrete subtasks and that those
subtasks could be taught to students using specific
procedures designed to create stimulus-response pairing in a
linear fashion. Given that principle, then any person could be
taught how to perform basically any task (Camp, 1983; Wirth,
36 Camp & Johnson
Snedden and Prosser believed that students should be
sorted into educational tracks based on their probable
destinies and provided with occupationally specific
instruction. They should further be provided with instruction
designed to help them understand their relative places in
society and to appreciate the importance of all kinds of
workers in a complex and socially efficient social and
economic system (Camp, 1983; Wirth, 1972).
Dual Systems
Snedden and Prosser believed that general educators
would not support an educational system, the basic intention
of which was to prepare workers for existing jobs in industry,
farms, and the home. Thus, they contended that vocational
education must systematically separate itself from the general
education system and that it must be administered by
different people using different rules than those under which
general education was administered (Camp, 1983; Camp &
Hillison, 1984; Wirth, 1972).
Instruction Based on the Real World
Students must learn to work in realistic settings. Idealists
such as John Dewey (Dewey, 1924) held that the role of
education was to liberate students for a better, more
democratic society. Prosser and others contended that the
best way to liberate students was to provide them with the
tools (skill set and attitudes) necessary to achieve economic
independence and productive citizenship in an efficient social
and economic system (Prosser & Allen, 1924; Prosser &
Quigley, 1949). The latter argued that teaching students how
things “should be” in their work would serve only to create
unrest among workers and inherent inefficiencies into what
should be a smoothly functioning social and economic system
(Camp, 1983; Camp & Hillison, 1984; Wirth, 1972).
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 37
If we put together all of those theories, we arrive at a
very clear theoretical framework for vocational education of
that era. We can easily surmise the theoretical basis for
Prosser’s Sixteen Theorems which then provided an
operational basis for practice in the profession.
Prosser’s Sixteen Theorems
As an education leader and administrator, Charles
Prosser would not have been particularly concerned with
grand theory or even middle-level theory. Instead he would
have been concerned with day-to-day explanations for day-to-
day problems. Thus, his theorems, or guidelines, as Doty and
Weissman (1984) called them, can be seen to be substantive
theory as defined by Creswell (1994). Summaries of Prosser’s
Sixteen Theorems can be found in a number of different
sources from the early to mid-1900s. One such summary was
included in Camp and Hillison (1984).
1. Vocational education will be efficient in proportion
as the environment in which the learner is trained is
a replica of the environment in which he [sic] must
subsequently work.
2. Effective vocational training can only be given
where the training jobs are carried on in the same
way, with the same operations, the same tools, and
the same machines as in the occupation itself.
3. Vocational education will be effective in proportion
as it trains the individual directly and specifically in
the thinking habits and the manipulative habits
required in the occupation itself.
4. Vocational education will be effective in proportion
as it enables each individual to capitalize his
interests, aptitudes, and intrinsic intelligence to the
highest degree.
5. Effective vocational education for any profession,
trade, occupation, or job can only be given to the
38 Camp & Johnson
selected group of individuals who need it, want it,
and are able to profit by it.
6. Vocational training will be effective in proportion as
the specific training experiences for forming right
habits of doing and thinking are repeated to the
point that these habits become fixed to the degree
necessary for gainful employment.
7. Vocational education will be effective in proportion
as the instructor has had successful experiences in
the application of skills and knowledge to the
operations and processes he undertakes to teach.
8. For every occupation there is a minimum of
productive ability which an individual must possess
in order to secure or retain employment in that
9. Vocational education must recognize conditions as
they are and must train individuals to meet the
demands of the "market" even though it may be true
that more efficient ways for conducting the
occupation may be known and better working
conditions are highly desirable.
10. The effective establishment of process habits in any
learner will be secured in proportion as the training
is given on actual jobs and not on exercises or
11. The only reliable source of content for specific
training in an occupation is in the experiences of
masters of that occupation.
12. For every occupation there is a body of content
which is peculiar to that occupation and which
practically has no functioning value in any other
13. Vocational education will render efficient social
services in proportion as it meets the specific
training needs of any group at the time that they
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 39
need it and in such a way that they can most
effectively profit by the instruction.
14. Vocational education will be socially efficient in
proportion as in its methods of instruction and its
personal relations with learners it takes into
consideration the particular characteristics of any
particular group which it serves.
15. The administration of vocational education will be
efficient in proportion as it is elastic and fluid rather
than rigid and standardized.
16. While every reasonable effort should be made to
reduce per capita cost, there is a minimum level
below which effective vocational education cannot
be given, and if the course does not permit this
minimum of per capita cost, vocational education
should not be attempted. (p. 15-16)
A Concise Restatement of
the Theoretical Framework
The ultimate goal of society is to benefit the members of
that society, and the optimal way to achieve that goal is by
building an efficient social and economic system. At
maximum efficiency, a social and economic system is socially
and economically stratified. An efficient system maintains
social control largely on the basis of voluntary conformity on
the part of its members with an accepted set of social norms.
A person’s social class and occupation are based on
measurable factors and can be predicted, given appropriate
measurement tools. An effective educational system is at the
heart of an efficient system. The proper role of schools in an
efficient system is to sort youth into educational tracks based
on their probable destinies. Once sorted into appropriate
educational programs, the students are to be inculcated with
an understanding of a set of acceptable social norms and
provided with academic and occupational skills appropriate
for their probable destinies. General educators are not well
suited by temperament or philosophy to deal with education
40 Camp & Johnson
for work, so a separate educational system for vocational
education is necessary. In that separate system for vocational
education, the principles of learning theory based on
behavioral science can be used to establish pedagogies that
allow for the effective transfer of attitudes and skills needed
for productive citizenship in an efficient society.
As we stated earlier, no single person seems to have
assembled a coherent theoretical framework for vocational
education in the early 1900s. Yet by retroactively examining
the dominant social, economic, and psychological theories of
the time and concatenating those theories with the
contemporary practical guidelines, we believe that we have
been able to surmise a cogent theoretical framework.
Beginning with the grand theory of social efficiency, that
theoretical framework leads inexorably to Prosser’s Sixteen
Theorems. The Theorems provided a direct and simple set of
operational guidelines for program designers and
administrators in the early to mid-1900s.
Theoretical Foundations
in the Late Twentieth Century
Similarly, no coherent theoretical framework for
vocational education (later called career and technical
education) in the last quarter of the 20th century can be
found. Indeed, as Doty and Weissman (1984) wrote,
“Vocational education does not appear to have a theoretical
basis” (p 5). Some would argue that Rupert Evans and Edwin
Herr provided a theoretical framework in their very
influential book on the Foundations of Vocational Education
(Evans & Herr, 1978) that many of us used as a text for
foundations courses in the 1970s and 1980s. The Evans and
Herr book provides a detailed look at a number of
philosophical and theoretical propositions that served as a
basis for vocational education as it was practiced at the time.
More recently, Howard Gordon authored another
foundational book, The History and Growth of Vocational
Education in America (Gordon, 2003) that provides an excellent
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 41
look at the historical development and current status of
career and technical education. In both the Evans and Herr
book and the Gordon book, the authors’ purposes were to
provide a broad foundational grounding for professionals in
vocational education, not to provide a theoretical framework
(i.e., a concise train of logical statements that begins with a
theoretical premise as its basis and then proceeds through a
rational series of supporting theories, research, or premises
that lead inexorably to the guiding principles of the
Yet, one can find Prosser-like sets of principles that
received general agreement in the vocational education
community in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early 1970s, Mel
Barlow (1974) edited the fourth annual yearbook of the
American Vocational Association in which he proposed a set
of principles to provide a foundational basis for practice in
vocational education in the late 20th century. Barlow (1974)
wrote, “It is possible to suggest a number of the fundamental
ideas that have withstood, and probably will continue to
withstand, the test of time” (pp. 19-20). He went on to
delineate seven enduring principles of vocational education,
hypothesizing that they were still valid in the last quarter of
the century. For a complete look at his paper, see Barlow
(1974) or for more a concise summary of Barlow’s “enduring
principles,” see Doty and Weissman (1984, p. 8).
Just over a decade after Barlow’s paper, as an Advanced
Study Fellow for the National Center for Research in
Vocational Education Mel Miller proposed an organized
philosophy and set of guiding principles for vocational
education (Miller, 1985) that went beyond Barlow’s simple
analysis of historically significant principles. Miller’s
proposition was an attempt to provide not only a Prosser-like
set of guiding principles but to base those principles on a
specific epistemological foundation, namely the philosophy of
pragmatism. For a complete look at Miller’s principles, see
Miller (1985).
42 Camp & Johnson
A Theoretical Framework for
Secondary Level Career and Technical Education
in the Early 21st Century
All of the preceding discussion brings us to today. Is
there a coherent, cogent theoretical framework for career and
technical education today in the first decade of the 21st
century? If such a framework exists, we have not seen it and
cannot find it. We conclude that no serious attempt at
establishing a theoretical framework for the profession has
been undertaken.
In the process of deducing what the theoretical
framework for vocational education must have been some 80
years ago, we have two advantages. First, one man, Charles
Prosser, played a pivotal role in designing vocational
education, and he left us with a simple set of theorems from
which we can extrapolate the underlying theories that must
have served to guide his thinking. Second, we have the
advantage of many decades of hindsight to fortify our
thinking. Lacking a single intellectual focal point such as
Prosser and lacking 8 decades of hindsight, we am forced to
conclude that any theoretical framework or set of principles
we can assemble today must be promulgated with much
timidity and great tentativeness. Nevertheless, we can at least
attempt to apply reason to an intractable question: What is
and what should secondary-level career and technical
education “be about” in the first quarter of the 21st century?
To build a cogent theoretical framework for a
profession, we should begin with a single grand theory. We
believe that social efficiency theory served as the grand theory
underlying Prosser’s vision of vocational education. After
much thought, we now believe that human capital theory best
serves as the fundamental theoretical premise of
contemporary career and technical education. Beginning with
human capital theory as our foundation, we must consider
the political milieu in this country that resulted in the current
educational reform movement, the educational accountability
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 43
movement that now has escalated to include direct
measurement of student outcomes in the form of high stakes
testing. We must also consider the economic and social
changes that led up to the SCANS report and its impact on
the shift from vocational education that prepares entry-level
workers for employment to career and technical education
that integrates academics and occupational instruction,
increases student achievement in academics as measured by
high stakes testing, and increases critical thinking skills. In
light of all of those external pressures as well as pressures
from within the profession, vocational education has
undergone remarkable changes in the last 2 decades, and we
must consider what the “new vocational education,” career
and technical education, actually looks like today. Finally, in
light of all of those elements, we must acknowledge and
embrace a shift from behaviorism to constructivism as the
basis of our curriculum and pedagogy.
Human Capital Theory
In the past, the input of human workers was largely
treated as a material component of the production process
(Hornbeck & Salamon, 1991). Changes in the role of
technology in the American economy since Prosser’s days
have caused a change in the type of labor the workforce
requires today. Prosser wrote of the “privates of industry”
(Wirth, 1972) but today the focus in our economy has shifted
from the “brawn” of human labor to the “brains” of human
labor (Hornbeck & Salamon, 1991). The role of the unskilled
worker is becoming less important in our economy while the
skills, knowledge, and abilities of workers are becoming more
valuable (Becker, 1965). Human capital exists in many forms.
Improvements in education, health, and training of
employees increase their value to an employer and the
community at large. Human capital is unique in comparison
to other types of capital. Unlike other types of capital,
associating a dollar value with human capital is very difficult.
Traditional capital is bought, sold, or consumed, whereas
44 Camp & Johnson
human capital is vested in and is almost permanent to the
person who acquires it (Becker, 1965).
The fundamental ideas of human capital theory date
back to the 1600s with Sir William Petty, who was one of the
first to try to estimate the money value of a human being
(Kiker, 1966). In the 1800s, several different methods
surfaced for determining the monetary value of humans as a
production input. This effort turned out to be a most difficult
and unreliable procedure then and would be socially
unacceptable now (Kiker, 1966). In the 1900s these ideas
resurfaced with a slightly different variation. Economists
began looking at the value of humans in comparison to other
forms of capital and the costs and returns involved with
human resources. Depending on their accepted definition of
capital, some theorists, including Adam Smith and John
Stuart Mill, did not include human beings as capital but only
their skills. Their contemporaries, Johann H. von Thunen and
Irving Fisher clearly did include human beings in their
definition of capital (Kiker, 1966). Others, including
economist Alfred Marshall, discarded the idea altogether as
“unrealistic” (Kiker, 1966). Human capital theory remained in
the background of economic thought for centuries but has
more recently moved to the foreground with the work of
modern economists Theodore W. Schultz and Gary S.
The concept of human capital is said to have been
“‘reborn” with Schultz’s presidential address to the American
Economic Association in 1960 (Kiker, 1971). In his address,
Schultz named investments in human capital as the major
explanation for observed increases in national output.
Schultz’s assertion stimulated a proliferation of research on
the topic, and thought on the “value of human beings” began
anew (Kiker, 1971). Gary S. Becker was the major player in
reformatting modern thought on human capital to a human
capital theory in the 1950s. Published in 1965, Becker’s book,
Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, With Special
Reference to Education, is the culmination of 9 years of research
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 45
and studies. It contains mathematical data on the implications
of investment in human capital. In simplest terms, Becker’s
findings are that more educated and skilled employees make
more money (Becker, 1965) and, by extension, create more
wealth. Becker’s research on the human capital theory
provides concrete evidence to link investments in human
resources to long- term benefits and cultural advantages. The
work of these two men, Schultz and Becker, brought the
ideas of human capital back into common thought and
changed the way we think about the value of people in the
workplace and community at large.
The modern technological movement increases the
demand on the nation’s educational sector to produce a
knowledgeable, skilled workforce. Education includes not
only schooling in the most obvious sense, but also on and off
the job experience and training. Schooling is arguably the
most advantageous form of education based on the idea that
college graduates are more capable than high school
graduates; high school graduates are more capable than
middle school graduates; and so on (Becker, 1965). This shift
puts an emphasis on education in a college, or at least
postsecondary, setting versus solely a high school education.
As workers become more educated, they become more
capable; wages increase, and employment increases (Becker,
1965). Education increases productivity and increases an
individual’s value to the employer, improving productivity of
the workplace, wages, and job security (Becker, 1965).
Education undoubtedly has both cultural and financial
advantages; the difficulty is estimating the costs associated
with investments in education.
Once an individual’s education is complete, an
immediate wage increase ensues (Becker, 1965). These wages
are much higher than what would have been earned without
education, and they continue to increase at a higher rate
compared to those who were not educated to the same
degree (Becker, 1965; H.P. Miller, 1960). Research by Becker
and Herman P. Miller indicates a higher total lifetime earnings
46 Camp & Johnson
for educated workers that increases with the degree of
education (Becker, 1965; H.P. Miller, 1960). The future value
of the knowledge gained must compensate for all losses, both
opportunity costs and direct costs, or employees have no
incentive to bear that burden (Schultz, 1963). These costs are
high and demanding on the employee, but society wants
people to attain higher education and therefore allows it to be
highly subsidized at a cost to the public.
The benefits of all types of education not only affect the
future of the individual person, but the community as a
whole. Education and training produce material and cultural
advantages that cannot be assigned a dollar amount (Miller,
1960). These advantages may often be well worth the
investment of time, effort, and money without the added
economic advantages. Our lack of ability to calculate cultural
advantages forces us to focus only on the economic
advantages of education (H.P. Miller, 1960). Most of these are
associated with years of education and include personal
satisfaction in life and becoming a well-respected member of
the community.
Education and the Economy
Workforce 2000. The Secretary of Labor formed a
commission to look at the kinds of workers that would be
needed to maintain a competitive American economy at the
turn of the new millennium. Workforce 2000, published in
1987, identified a profound shift in the kinds of worker the
schools needed to be preparing (Hartley, Mantle-Bromley, &
Cobb, 1996).
Goals 2000. In 1989 President Bush convened an
“Education Summit” of state governors with the objective of
redirecting education in this country. The report of that
summit was entitled Goals 2000 and charged our schools to
“change the national educational emphasis from process to
performance, from complacency to high expectation”
(Hartley et al., p. 27).
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 47
Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills
(SCANS). In 1990 the Secretary of Labor under President
Clinton appointed a commission to reexamine the role of
schools in preparing young people to succeed in the world of
work. The commission was charged to determine what
schools should be doing to encourage a high-performance
economy that employs high-skill workers in high-wage
occupations. The commission submitted several reports,
concluding its formal work in 1992. The body was formally
referred to as the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving
Necessary Skills but came to be known as the SCANS
Commission (Hartley et al., 1996).
The SCANS report identified five workplace
competencies and three foundational skills and personal
qualities required in the high-performance workplace
characterizing the modern economy. That report provided
the following charge to American schools.
COMPETENCIES effective workers can productively
xResources - allocating time, money,
materials, space, and staff;
xInterpersonal Skills - working on teams,
teaching others, serving customers, leading,
negotiating, and working well with people
from culturally diverse backgrounds;
xInformation - acquiring and evaluating data,
organizing and maintaining files, interpreting
and communicating, and using computers to
process information;
xSystems - understanding social,
organizational, and technological systems,
monitoring and correcting performance, and
designing or improving systems;
48 Camp & Johnson
xTechnology - selecting equipment and tools,
applying technology to specific tasks, and
maintaining and troubleshooting
THE FOUNDATION - competence requires:
xBasic Skills - reading, writing, arithmetic and
mathematics, speaking, and listening;
xThinking Skills - thinking creatively, making
decisions, solving problems, seeing things in
the mind's eye, knowing how to learn, and
xPersonal Qualities - individual responsibility,
self-esteem, sociability, self-management,
and integrity. (Secretary’s Commission on
Achieving necessary Skills, 1991, p. iii)
Educational Reform Movements
A Long History of Educational Reform. At any given time
since Colonial days, American education has been in a near-
continuous series of reform movements. Those reform
movements sometimes tend to swing toward less restrictive
and more student-centered educational programs, such as the
Progressive School movement and Dewey’s Laboratory
Schools in the 1920s and 1930s (Meyer, 1957) and the Career
Education movement of the 1970s (Bailey & Stadt, 1973). On
other swings of the pendulum, the reforms tend more toward
a rigid focus on subject matter and accountability, as seen in
the Report of the Committee of Ten in 1893 (Eliot et al.,
1893), resulting in a restructuring of high schools in this
country which emphasized the basics of science,
mathematics, language, and social studies (Meyer, 1957).
Excellence Movement. Like the 1893 report of The
Committee of Ten, the current educational reform movement
in America again centers on strengthening our schools’
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 49
performance in teaching the so-called “basics,” and most
educators trace the movement’s origins to the publication of
A Nation at Risk, in April 1983. All of us who lived through
those turbulent years remember the opening paragraphs in
that report (National Commission on Excellence in
Education, 1983) which stated, in part:
Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged
preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and
technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors
throughout the world the educational foundations of our
society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of
mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a
people. Our society and its educational institutions seem to
have lost sight of the basic purposes of schooling, and of the
high expectations and disciplined effort needed to attain
them. This report, the result of 18 months of study, seeks to
generate reform of our educational system in fundamental
ways and to renew the Nation's commitment to schools and
colleges of high quality throughout the length and breadth of
our land.
Reform of Teacher Education. The excellence movement
in the early 1980s aimed at reforming curriculum through
increasing the emphasis on core academic courses in schools.
That goal was to be accomplished by increasing the academic
course requirements for high school graduation. Proponents
of the excellence movement believed that much of the
perceived problem in our schools was a result of poorly
prepared teachers (Holmes Group, 1986). The result of that
belief was a major movement, driven largely by the same
groups of people that advocated the excellence movement, to
reform teacher education programs in the nation’s colleges
and universities (Holmes Partnership, 2004). The reform
efforts typified by the Holmes Group involved requiring all
teachers to hold degrees in the subjects they would teach and
moving teacher education programs from the undergraduate
to the graduate level (Holmes Group, 1986), effectively
eliminating the undergraduate education degree in many
50 Camp & Johnson
institutions. Accompanying political efforts at state levels
resulted in increased requirements for discipline-specific
coursework and concomitant reductions in pedagogical
preparation. A simultaneous effort to increase requirements
for teaching certification involved the requirement for
standardized examinations for teachers, primarily
emphasizing basic skills on the part of the teacher along with
content area expertise. Typical of those examinations are the
Praxis I and Praxis II. The Educational Testing Service (2004)
described those two examinations as follows:
Praxis I: Academic Skills Assessments are
designed to be taken early in a student's college
career to measure reading, writing, and
mathematics skills. The reading, writing, and
mathematics assessments are available through
either a paper-based or computer-based format.
Praxis II: Subject Assessments measure
candidates' knowledge of the subjects they will
teach, as well as general and subject -specific
pedagogical skills and knowledge. The pedagogy
assessments, Principles of Learning and
Teaching, are included in this group (retrieved
September 27, 2005, from
High Stakes Testing. Attempts to reform American
education have traditionally been tied to political swings in
the country and accordingly have tended to be short lived.
Previous attempts from either the political left or the political
right have generally failed for any of a number of reasons, not
the least of which is that they have tended to focus on
changing how teachers are prepared, how teachers teach,
what curriculum students actually receive, or how schools are
structured, all of which have proven to be extremely
intractable (Vallely, 2003).
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 51
The reform movement currently underway has taken a
very different tack from previous movements in that student
outcomes are being targeted by means of standardized, high
stakes testing. Vallely (2003) wrote, “In essence, unlike any
time in history, assessments have become the centerpiece of
reform; designed to play a crucial role in guiding instruction,
monitoring performance, providing improvement data, and
holding schools accountable” (p 43). The essential outcome
of the high stakes testing movement has been to provide
impetus to the “excellence movement” just as it seemed on
the verge of yet another failure (Vallely, 2003).
No Child Left Behind. The Bush No Child Left Behind
(NCLB) program, as proscribed in PL 107-110, combines
elements of the excellence movement, the reform of teacher
education, and high stakes testing in an unprecedented way.
NCLB capitalizes on the same marketing ploy as the two
opposing sides in the abortion debate in this country by using
an unassailable name to represent a program. Anti-abortion
becomes “Pro-Life” and pro-abortion becomes “Pro-
Choice.” Who can argue against “Life” or “Choice.” By the
same logic, a program that expends massive amounts of local
and state monies and countless hours of instructional time on
inane student testing and that requires more rigid teacher
licensure requirements when the real problem is getting
enough qualified teachers becomes “No Child Left Behind.”
What educator can argue that we should “leave a child
behind?” The NCLB requires:
xAnnual testing of all students against state standards
in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and in
science at three times in a student’s school career
(including once in high school).
x“Verification” of each state’s assessment system via
required participation (every other year) by selected
districts in the NAEP test.
xAggregate and disaggregate analysis and reporting of
student achievement results.
52 Camp & Johnson
xA state definition and timeline for determining
whether a school, district and the state are making
“adequate yearly progress” (AYP) toward the goal of
100 percent of students meeting state standards by
the 2013-2014 school year.
xTechnical assistance and then sanctions for schools,
districts and the state for failure to make AYP.
xHighly qualified teachers in core academic subjects
by 2005-2006.
xHighly qualified aides or paraprofessionals.
xSupport for students not meeting standards and/or
for those who have special needs (e.g., homeless,
xThe use of “scientifically-based” programs and
strategies. (Illinois State Board of Education, 2004)
The “New” Vocational Education
What Prosser envisioned in the early 1900s was a
vocational education that prepared the “privates of industry”
for skilled occupations in factories and business, as farmers,
and as homemakers (Wirth, 1972). That mission began to
change in the 1960s when the Vocational Education Act of
1963 expanded our definitions of vocational education. It
changed even further every time a new piece of federal
enabling legislation was passed, up to and including the latest
iteration of the Perkins Act (Gordon, 1999; Old Dominion
University, 2004)
Today, career and technical education (CTE) looks very
different from Prosser’s vision for the field. For nearly a
century, secondary-level vocational education has been
offered mostly in area vocational centers (under a variety of
names and configurations) and comprehensive high schools.
Most CTE is still delivered in such settings, but today we find
programs in career academies, magnet schools, school-within-
a school, and other non-traditional configurations (Old
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 53
Dominion University, 2004). Regardless of the configuration,
CTE programs are becoming more academically rigorous and
less directly tied to single occupations. CTE is no longer just
a training program for workers; today CTE also prepares
students for postsecondary work including college as well as
for lifelong learning. CTE does not replace academic subjects,
but rather reinforces academic instruction by incorporating
basic academic instruction in a purposeful way into CTE
courses. CTE provides meaningful contexts in which students
can apply the concepts they learn in academic classrooms in
settings that help them to see the real-world relevance of
what might otherwise be abstract concepts. CTE teachers and
academic teachers are working collaboratively in integrated
teaching teams to provide learning experiences that combine
academic and CTE instruction into a meaningful conceptual
whole (Old Dominion University, 2004).
Leaders in the U.S. Department of Education attempted
to implement a cluster approach to vocational education in
the 1970s, with only marginal success. Today, under U.S.
Department of Education leadership, the state directors of
career and technical education are moving aggressively
forward on a later vision for refocusing career and technical
education around career clusters rather than single
occupations or groups of occupations. If successfully
implemented, the concept of career clusters can be expected
to lead to a partial blurring of some of the lines between the
traditional vocational service areas at the secondary level,
much as Copa and Plihal, of the University of Minnesota’s
vocational education program envisioned:
Currently, vocational education at the secondary
level is a rubric for a variety of courses, but it is
not a broad field area of study. If the areas of
vocational education that are now treated as
discrete areas of knowledge were united into an
area of study that focused on understanding
their interrelationships, we could create the
54 Camp & Johnson
broad field of vocational education (Copa &
Plihal, 1996, p 98).
Constructivism as the Basis for our Pedagogy
We believe that the last and a very basic piece of the
theoretical puzzle for career and technical education involves
learning theory. Behaviorist theory was essential to the early
development of vocational education. The principles of
behaviorist theory led directly to task analysis, which in turn
led to competency-based education (Dobbins, 1999).
Behaviorist principles formed much of the basis for the
linear, task-oriented pedagogy that has characterized career
and technical education instruction for most of the past
century (Doolittle & Camp, 2003).
As the requirements for our graduates have evolved
over time from their being compliant workers to being
critically-thinking problem solvers, so too has our acceptable
curriculum building and instructional delivery systems. We
would never contend that the pedagogy envisioned by radical
constructivists (Doolittle & Camp, 2003) can ever
satisfactorily inform instruction in the more technical or
linear aspects of practice-based programs or curricula such as
those directed toward occupational preparation. Nevertheless,
the rigid instruction that is the natural outcome of
behaviorist-based pedagogy is simply inadequate to produce
the kinds of graduates demanded by our society and economy
today as typified in the SCANS Report, Goals 2000, and
other subsequent major documents (Hartley et al., 1996).
A Concise Restatement of the Theoretical Framework
If our argument is correct, the fundamental premise
under-girding career and technical education as practiced in
the first half of the opening decade of this millennium is
human capital theory. That theory stipulates that schooling is
a fundamental building block of our entire economy and
social structure. Extended schooling for individuals translates
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 55
directly into economic growth for the entire system and
financial and other rewards for the individual in the form of
an improved living standard and higher levels of job and
personal satisfaction. Our schools are now called upon to
help prepare critically-thinking, problem-solving, self-
regulating graduates who can function in high-performance
occupations as a part of a high-performance social system.
Given the rapidly changing nature of such a high
performance system, workers today must be prepared to
move and adapt rapidly among broad families of occupations
that exist within career clusters and even across career
clusters. Career and technical education can be a critical
component of that educational system to the extent that it
provides students with generalizable skills packages, including
but not limited to occupational skills that are applicable to
broad clusters of careers. Beyond a broader perspective for
occupational preparation, and given that our system demands
higher levels of basic skills than ever before, career and
technical education must also contribute to the academic
achievement of our students in the basic academic areas.
Simple, hands-on application of work-related skills does not
contribute in a meaningful way to helping meet the rigorous
demands being placed on students today by the excellence
and accountability movements. Recognizing that some tasks
must be completed in precise ways, some aspects of our
curriculum and of our pedagogy must remain linear. But our
teachers must increasingly become knowledge and skill
development facilitators rather than purveyors of lock-step
tasks. Teacher-centered pedagogy based solely on detailed
task analysis and rigidly structured, linear, competency-based
instruction is no longer adequate, and we must increasingly
place responsibility for student learning on the student in a
setting requiring inquiry and collaboration.
A Missing Piece
Clearly the foregoing is not a complete theoretical
framework for career and technical education as practiced in
this country today. On the other hand, we believe that the
56 Camp & Johnson
proposed framework provides a concise train of logical statements
that begins with a theoretical premise as its basis and then proceeds
through a rational series of supporting theories, research, or premises that
lead inexorably to the guiding principles of the profession. What this
discussion does not address is a set of guiding principles in
the mold of those proposed by Prosser, Barlow, and Miller,
respectively. If scholars in career and technical education
could reach consensus on a theoretical framework for the
profession, then generating a set of guiding principles should
be possible.
Evolution of a Theoretical Framework 57
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62 Camp & Johnson
The Changing Environment of Career and
Technical Education Leadership Development in the
United States
Christopher J. Zirkle, Rebecca A. Parker, & N.L. McCaslin
The Ohio State University
The preparation of leaders for career and technical
education (CTE) is an urgent need requiring immediate
action. Not only do vacancies exist in current leadership
positions and will continue to increase, but the leadership
pipeline is experiencing the shortage as well. A large
proportion of education administrators are expected to retire
over the next 10 years. Many of these are principals or
superintendents of career and technical education
centers/schools/programs. Leaders with strong leadership
skills are critical for the future of career and technical
education. This chapter will address the upcoming workforce
crisis in America, the shortage of education administrators,
developing CTE leaders, domestic changes that impact
leadership, and federal laws that influence the activities of
CTE leaders. Additionally, this chapter will provide a
conceptual framework for leadership programs; illustrate the
status of leadership programs related to CTE; identify
implications for planning, implementing and evaluating
leadership programs; and finally, present policy
recommendations for local, state, and national levels to
address the leadership crisis.
The Upcoming Workforce
Crisis in America
Millions of jobs are going unfilled in business and
industry due to the shortage of qualified candidates—jobs
64 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
that offer excellent salaries, stimulating work, and
advancement potential. Homeowners are finding it difficult to
hire skilled contractors, electricians, and plumbers. Examples
of employment opportunities abound (Challenger, 2003,
Eisenberg, 2002). For example, more than 425,000 workers
are needed in the information technology area now, and more
than 1.2 million will be needed by 2005. More than 60,000
service technicians are needed in the automotive industry
where salaries range from $30,000 to $100,000 a year. In the
air conditioning and refrigeration area, 22,000 jobs are
available. The construction industry is reporting more than
250,000 available jobs with the top carpenters, bricklayers,
roofers, and painters making nearly $100,000 a year. The
hospitality, healthcare, printing, transportation, and
manufacturing industries are facing moderate to severe
shortages. In the manufacturing area, 2 million jobs will be
available in the next decade due to retirements, with many
jobs for welders, tool- and die-makers, line managers, and
others paying more than $50,000 a year. Law enforcement
agencies want to hire thousands of individuals at salaries of
$40,000 a year. The oldest members of the baby-boom
generation are now in their late 50s, and as they start retiring,
job candidates with the right skills will be in high demand.
Hecker (2001) reported that total employment would increase
to 167.8 million jobs by 2010. During this same time period,
Fullerton and Toossi (2001) indicated that the civilian labor
force is projected to reach 158 million—a shortage of
approximately 10 million employees.
The Shortage of Education Administrators
The U.S. is also facing a rapidly declining reservoir of
experienced educational leaders. In public education at the
elementary, middle, and high school levels, the National
Center for Education Statistics (2003a) reported that 54% of
principals are above the age of 50 and have about 25 years of
experience. Principals have significant effects on school
climate and student outcomes (Educational Research Service,
2000; Sebring & Bryk, 2000). Fullan (2001) indicated that
Changing Environment 65
principals are important initiators or facilitators of continuous
school improvement. Yet, despite a wave of impending
retirements and chronic difficulties in finding candidates, few
school districts have made identifying and grooming potential
leaders a priority (Olson, 2000). Directors of career education
programs are often considered principals or superintendents,
and the above statistics would be applicable to them as well.
Shults (2001) indicated that at the postsecondary level,
45% of the current community college presidents plan to
retire by 2007, and the number of advanced degrees
conferred in community college administration decreased
78% from 1982–1983 to 1996–19997. The National Center
for Education Statistics (NCES, 2001) found 30% of the
faculties in community colleges to be at least 55 years old, and
52% of respondents between the ages of 55 and 64 planned
to retire by 2004. As was the case with public schools, career
education leaders are included in these statistics for
postsecondary institutions. The National Council for
Workforce Education (2003) reported that 26% of its
membership plans to retire within the next 5 years.
State leadership for career and technical education is not
exempt from this shortage. Kister (2001) indicated that the
average time spent in the role as a state director of career and
technical education is about 3 years. She also stated that a
new type of leader is needed. Not only the traditional
leadership and management responsibilities are in that
leadership role, but now the additional responsibilities include
that of leading change, being an instructional leader,
managing multiple priorities, managing in a political
environment, being sensitive to diverse cultures, bridging
education with business and industry, doing more with less,
working collaboratively both within and outside the agency,
and advocating for career and technical education. The
immediate and future shortage of career and technical
education leaders is of grave concern.
66 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
Developing CTE Leaders
The development of educational leaders to meet the
needs of our citizenry is a difficult task. Goodlad (2002)
stated, “The most dismayingly scary characteristic of the
current school reform era is the preoccupation with simplistic
prescription devoid of diagnosis and purpose” (p. 23).
Goodlad went on to indicate that Americans have repeatedly
specified a preference for schools that develop personal,
social, vocational, and academic attributes.
Developing the next generation of career and technical
education leaders will require close cooperation between
academic and career and technical education administrators
and instructors. Career and technical education, along with
the rest of the education enterprise, is facing a rapidly
changing external and internal environment. Rojewski (2002)
reported that “work, family, and community life, coupled
with persistent calls for educational reform over the past
several decades, present numerous challenges to professionals
in career and technical education” (p. 1). The factors in the
external and internal environment require constant attention
as career and technical education leaders plan, implement,
and evaluate their programs.
In order to begin a discussion on developing the next
generation of leaders for career and technical education
(CTE), it is important to establish a clear definition of terms.
The definitions of leaders and leadership in CTE are essential
in this process. Gardner (1995) defined a leader as “an
individual who significantly affects the thoughts, feelings, and
behavior of a significant number of individuals” (p. ix). For
the purpose of this paper, leaders in CTE are defined as those
who earn the respect of individuals, stress obtaining higher
core indicators of performance to assess CTE program
effectiveness and improve the secondary and postsecondary
outcomes of students who pursue CTE, act with honesty and
integrity, and extend CTE thinking beyond the status quo.
This definition includes individuals who hold positions of
Changing Environment 67
authority as well as opinion leaders in the internal and
external environment impacting CTE.
Kotter (1996) defined leadership as “a set of processes
that creates organizations in the first place or adapts them to
significantly changing circumstances. Leadership defines what
the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and
inspires them to make it happen despite the obstacles” (p.
25). Leadership in CTE requires individuals to collaborate
with others (e.g., parents, students, educators, and business
representatives) in envisioning and creating effective and
efficient CTE programs.
To become leaders, career and technical educators must
find time to examine, analyze, debate, and evaluate issues
related to their policies and practices. Most jobs, including
those in CTE professions, now require some level of
proficiency in the use of technology. These prospective
leaders need a learner-centered model of leadership
development that recognizes schools and community colleges
as complex organizations, learning as an interactive process,
and prospective leaders as competent learners. The use of
learner-centered professional development programs
delivered through face-to-face meetings and distance
communication technology, including the use of
teleconferencing, listservs, chatrooms, and downloadable
information, is strongly recommended. Creating change in
secondary and postsecondary education also requires
visionary leaders who understand changing demographics,
identify the needs of individuals and future employers,
understand policy development processes, and lead
educational reform.
Domestic Changes that Impact Leadership
A number of other domestic changes have also
impacted leadership. Some of the more important changes
include the ongoing need for educational reform, increasing
diversity of our population, growing dependence on
68 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
technology, changing social values, shifting family structures,
increasing competitiveness for resources, and continuing
Businesses, industries, governmental agencies, and other
organizations are calling for educational reform. Employers
are seeking individuals with high academic, technical, and
employability skills (e.g., punctuality, teambuilding, writing,
and speaking).
Federal Laws That Impact CTE Leaders
The activities of leaders in career and technical
education are influenced by federal legislation. These laws
include the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical
Education Act Amendments of 1998 and the No Child Left
Behind Act of 2001.
The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical
Education Act Amendments of 1998 were signed into law on
October 31, 1998. These amendments required each state to
identify core indicators of performance that included, at a
minimum, measures of each of the following:
xstudent attainment of challenging state established
academic, and vocational and technical, skill
xstate adjusted levels of performance and state levels
of performance recognized equivalent, a proficiency
credential in conjunction with a secondary school
diploma, or a postsecondary degree or credential;
xplacement in, retention in, and completion of,
postsecondary education or advanced training,
placement in military service, or placement or
retention in employment; and
Changing Environment 69
xstudent participation in and completion of
vocational and technical education programs that
lead to nontraditional training and employment.
States, with input from eligible recipients, could also
identify in the state plan additional indicators of performance
for vocational and technical education activities authorized
under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical
Education Act Amendments of 1998. States that had
previously developed state performance measures that met
the requirements of core indicators could use these measures
to gauge the progress of vocational and technical education
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was signed into
law on January 8, 2002. This law focuses on four basic
education reform principles: stronger accountability for
results, increased flexibility and local control, expanded
options for parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods
that have been proven to work. Stronger accountability for results
requires states to be responsible for having strong academic
standards for what every child should know and learn in
reading, math, and science for elementary, middle, and high
schools. Beginning in the 2002-03 school year, schools are
required to administer tests in Grades 3-5, Grades 6-9, and
Grades 10-12 in all schools. Beginning in the 2005-06 school
year, tests will be administered every year in Grades 3 through
8. Beginning in the 2007-08 school year, science achievement
will also be tested. Increased flexibility and local control gives states
and local school districts greater say in using the federal
education dollars they receive every year. Local people will
have more say about which programs they think will help
their students the most. Additionally, No Child Left Behind
simplifies programs, so that schools do not have to cut
through as much red tape to get and use federal funding.
Expanded options for parents provide new ways to help students,
schools, and teachers. It gives parents options for helping
their children if they are enrolled in chronically failing
schools. Emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work
70 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
allows the targeting of education dollars to research-based
programs that have been proven to help most children learn.
Federal dollars will be tied to programs that use scientifically
proven ways of teaching children to read. Schools and
teachers will get help from funds that allow schools to
promote teacher quality through training and recruitment.
The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical
Education Act Amendments of 1998 and the No Child Left
Behind Act of 2001 were written to help ensure equal access
to education and promote educational excellence to help
close the academic and technical skill gap between
disadvantaged, minority, and majority students. The Carl D.
Perkins Vocational-Technical Education Act Amendments of
1998 indicators of performance and the basic principles of
the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 are also similar (see
Figure 1).
These federal laws require secondary CTE leaders to
place emphasis on accountability—especially as it relates to
the attainment of academic and technical skills, placement
and retention in postsecondary education, advanced training,
military services, or employment. To accomplish these
outcomes, CTE leaders must have a broad set of knowledge,
skills, and abilities.
For example, secondary CTE leaders should be able to
develop appropriate mission and vision statements for their
schools. They should also be able to model instructional
leadership by providing professional development
opportunities for faculty and staff and by demonstrating a
knowledge of effective instructional strategies. A knowledge
of curriculum is essential: The ability to match academic and
industry standards to course content and to develop
articulation agreements with postsecondary education
programs are only two examples of tasks secondary CTE
leaders must accomplish.
Changing Environment 71
No Child Left Behind
Basic Principles
Carl D. Perkins Core
Indicators of
for Results
Flexibility and
Local Control
Options for
Teaching Methods
Proven to Work
Student Attainment of
Academic, and Vocational
and Technical Skill
Student Attainment of
Secondary School
Diploma or its
Recognized Equivalent, a
Proficiency Credential in
Conjunction with a
Secondary School
Diploma, or
Postsecondary Degree or
Placement in, Retention
in, and Completion of
Postsecondary Education
or Advanced Training,
Placement in Military
Services or Placement or
Retention in Employment
Student Participation in
and Completion of
Vocational and Technical
Education Programs that
Lead to Nontraditional
Training and Employment
Figure 1. The relationship between the required indicators of
performance in the Carl D. Perkins and the basic principles
of the No Child Left Behind Act.
72 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
Program-planning skills such as those used with the
benchmarking and continuous assessment of student and
program progress are also needed. Helping students reach
graduation and formulate relevant postsecondary education
plans, along with providing all students with a variety of
postsecondary options (i.e., 4-year colleges, technical schools,
community colleges, and employment) is also important. It is
readily apparent that the professional development of CTE
leaders in all of these areas is an ongoing process and presents
numerous challenges.
At the postsecondary level, CTE leaders must give
greater attention to providing relevant professional
development opportunities to administrators and faculty on
workforce development issues. They also need to develop
articulation agreements with secondary and higher education
programs, provide advance standing for students who have
already completed similar courses, develop curricula based on
industry standards, and provide opportunities for students to
acquire state and national credentials.
Conceptual Framework for
CTE Leadership Programs
In this section, the term conceptual framework refers to a
general perspective or gestalt used to explain leadership
development in career and technical education. A conceptual
framework does not attempt to predict the relationship
between concepts. Rojewski (2002) indicated that
a conceptual framework does not necessarily
solve all problems or answer all questions
. . . but it should provide a schema for
establishing the critical issues and allowing for
solutions – either conforming the problem to
the framework or vice versa (or perhaps both).
Frameworks should be fairly stable but have the
capacity to change over time and adapt to
external forces. (p. 2)
Changing Environment 73
The conceptual framework presented in this chapter (see
Figure 2) is framed by two major concepts: the Interstate
School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards and
a career and technical education knowledge base. Each of
these influences will be discussed below.
Figure 2. Conceptual framework for developing career and
technical education leaders
Career & Technical Education
(CTE) Leader Knowledge Base
xDeveloping a CTE Vision
xEstablishing a CTE Culture
xOrganizing CTE Advisory Councils
xArranging for CTE Facilities
xIdentifying CTE Funding Sources
xIntegrating Academic, Technical and
Employability Skill Based Instruction
xOrganizing CTE Student Organizations
xProviding for Student Safety
xDeveloping Work Site Training Stations
xTransitioning Students to Postsecondary
xWorking with Adult Learners
xLeading Change and Educational Reform in
xUnderstanding Policy Development Processes
ISLLC School
Leader Standards
xFacilitating School Vision
xSustaining School Culture
and Instruction
xManaging Operations and
xCollaborating with Family
and Community
xProviding Ethical Behavior
xUnderstanding Political,
Economic, Social, Legal, and
Cultural Contexts
74 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
ISLLC Standards
The Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium
(ISLLC, 1996) has developed six standards that include what
school leaders should know and be able to do. These
standards were developed over a 2-year time period by
individuals representing state education agencies as well as
members of professional associations and are used as a basis
for licensing school administrators in many states. These
standards indicate that a school administrator is an
educational leader who promotes the success of all students
in the following ways:
1. facilitating the development, articulation,
implementation, and stewardship of a vision of
learning that is shared and supported by the school
community (facilitating school vision),
2. advocating, nurturing and sustaining a school culture
and instructional program conducive to student
learning and staff professional growth (sustaining
school culture and instruction),
3. ensuring management of the organization,
operations, and resources for a safe, efficient, and
effective learning environment (managing operations
and resources),
4. collaborating with families and community
members, responding to diverse community
interests and needs, and mobilizing community
resources (collaborating with family and community),
5. acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical
manner (behaving ethically), and
6. understanding, responding to, and influencing the
larger political, social economic, legal, and cultural
context (understanding the political, economic, social, legal,
and cultural context).
Changing Environment 75
Facilitating school vision. A school vision refers to a
desired future and a rationale as to why it is important to
achieve. An educational leader needs to be dedicated toward
high levels of performance that result in the success of all
students and enable them to move into successful adult roles.
The vision for a school needs to be accepted by employees,
parents, and citizens.
Sustaining school culture and instruction. School culture
refers to norms of behavior and shared values among school
staff. Norms of behavior are consistent ways of acting that
are either rewarded if they are met or sanctioned if they are
not. Shared values refer to important concerns and goals that
are shared throughout the school system. Educational leaders
must believe that all students can learn and that teaching and
learning are the basic purposes of schools.
Managing operations and resources. Managing schools
require both the efficient and effective use of resources.
Equitable allocation of resources such as personnel, facilities,
and technology is essential if all students are to learn.
Obstacles to teaching and learning need to be removed and
teachers need to be empowered to take risks that will increase
the likelihood of student success.
Collaborating with family an community. Collaboration
refers to bringing individuals and groups together in an
atmosphere of support and respect to work on issues and
concerns related to teaching and learning. It is essential that
collaboration occur if a school is to be successful in meeting
the needs of all students and enabling them to succeed.
Behaving ethically. Behaving ethically requires school
leaders to set the tone and do what is right. A school leader
must act in ways that are consistent with personal and school
values and purposes. Ethical behavior also requires school
leaders to act in a manner that makes them proud of their
decisions regardless of whether someone is looking or not.
76 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
Understanding political, economic, social, legal, and
cultural contexts. School leaders must be able to understand
and able to operate in a broad and diverse culture. These
leaders need to be individuals who can see the “big picture”
and influence this ever-changing environment. A key factor in
this context is the leaders ability to communicate effectively
with policy makers in this broad context.
Career and Technical Education
Leader Knowledge Base
In determining the knowledge base for career and
technical education leaders one must begin with a definition
of career and technical education. The National Association
of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium
(2003) indicated that career technical education is provided in
a variety of settings and levels including middle school career
exploration, secondary programs, postsecondary certificates
and degrees, and customized training for employees in the
workplace. Career technical education also provides students
and adults with (a) the technical skills and knowledge
necessary to succeed in occupations and careers; (b) the
cross-functional or workplace basics necessary for success in
any occupation or career (such as problem solving, teamwork,
and the ability to find and use information) as well as skills
for balancing family and work responsibilities; and (c) the
context in which traditional academic skills and a variety of
more general educational goals can be enhanced (p. 1).
Zirkle (2002) identified six areas of concern for
administrators of career and technical education programs.
These areas of concern included liability, program costs,
teacher recruitment and licensure, funding, business/industry
partnerships and labor market information, and transition
Norton (1995) identified 14 categories of competencies
needed by vocational teachers. The categories included
program planning, development, and evaluation, instructional
Changing Environment 77
planning, instructional execution, instructional evaluation,
instructional management, guidance, school-community
relations, vocational student organizations, professional role
and development, coordination of cooperative education,
implementing competency-based education, servicing
students with special/exceptional needs, assisting students in
improving their basic skills, and teaching adults.
McCaslin and Parker (2003) included five major themes
in the National Leadership Institute for Career and Technical
Education. The institute was designed to help prepare current
and future career and technical education leaders. The themes
were (a)develop leadership capability, (b) understand policy
development processes, (c) understand the culture and
context in which programs operate, (d) delineate vision and
mission statements, and (e) lead change and reform initiatives
The knowledge base for CTE leaders requires
information beyond that recommended by ISLLC. The
knowledge base for CTE includes developing a CTE vision;
establishing a CTE culture; organizing CTE advisory
councils; arranging for CTE facilities; identifying CTE
funding sources; integrating academic, technical, and
employability skill-based instruction; organizing CTE student
organizations; providing for student safety; developing work
site training stations; transitioning students to postsecondary
options; working with adult learners; leading change and
educational reform in CTE; and understanding policy
development processes.
Developing a CTE vision. CTE leaders need to have a clear
vision regarding the contribution that CTE can make to the
overall vision of their school or college. This vision needs to
indicate who CTE is involved with CTE, what CTE does,
whom CTE serves, and why CTE exists. Additionally the
vision needs to be memorable, compelling, and focused on
serving students.
78 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
Establishing a CTE culture. CTE leaders must establish a
teaching and learning culture that reflects the importance of
student success in the school or college and in the workplace.
Teaching and learning in CTE can provide relevance and
meaning to instruction that can be lacking in other courses.
Organizing CTE advisory councils. One of the hallmarks
of effective CTE programs is the use of advisory councils to
help determine what is to be taught. Advisory council
members also can provide work-based training sites and
employment opportunities for students who complete the
CTE program.
Arranging for CTE facilities. CTE courses often require
the use of laboratories that reflect the type of environment
that students will encounter when they enter the world of
work. CTE leaders need to be knowledgeable about the
requirements of the workplace in designing appropriate
educational facilities.
Identifying CTE funding sources. Special funding is often
available from federal and state sources for CTE instructional
programs. At the federal level, laws such as the Carl D.
Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act
Amendments of 1998, and the Workforce Investment Act of
1998 provide funding for CTE. States also can have specific
legislation that provides funding for secondary CTE
Integrating academic, technical, and employability
skills-based instruction. CTE programs provide individuals
with technical skills necessary to succeed in occupations and
careers, employability skills necessary for success in any
occupation or career (such as problem solving, teamwork,
and the ability to find and use information) as well as skills
for balancing family and work responsibilities; and the
context in which traditional academic skills and a variety of
more general educational goals can be enhanced. CTE leaders
need to be able to design and implement these programs.
Changing Environment 79
Organizing CTE student organizations. Student
organizations are an integral part of CTE programs and are
designed to help students develop their technical and
employability skills. CTE leaders need to be knowledgeable
about these organizations and how they can be used to help
deliver instructional objectives.
Providing for student safety. Most CTE programs require
that students to use tools and equipment that are dangerous if
not operated safely. CTE leaders need to understand how to
operate these tools and equipment as well as the safety
requirements for operating the tools and equipment in both
an educational and occupational environment.
Developing work site training stations. Not all of the
learning environment can be provided within an educational
system. In these cases, CTE leaders need to be able to
determine the characteristics of work-site training stations
and identify appropriate sites for additional teaching and
Transitioning students to postsecondary options.
According to Goodlad (2002), the American people have
repeatedly specified they want schools that develop personal,
social, vocational [italics added], and academic attributes. These
attributes are needed by individuals regardless of whether
they wish to pursue further education, enter apprenticeship
training, or enter the workforce. Braddock (1999) indicated
that occupations requiring an associate degree or more
education will account for 50% of total job growth from 1998
to 2008. CTE leaders must be prepared to assist students
meet these different types of career objectives.
Working with adult learners. The National Center for
Education Statistics (2003b) indicated that “among persons
age 16 and above (excluding traditional students), work-
related courses were the most prevalent form of lifelong
learning (30%)” (p. 25). CTE leaders need to be prepared to
80 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
work with adults as they develop programs to meet the needs
of their communities.
Leading change and educational reform in CTE. Perhaps
at no point in time has career and technical education faced
more challenges than today. The need to develop educational
programs that enable to meet the needs of the workplace and
lifelong learning is ever present in career and technical
education. Kotter and Cohen (2003) indicated, “ The process
of change involves subtle points regarding overlapping stages,
guiding teams at multiple levels in the organization, handling
multiple cycles of change, and more” (p. 6).
Understanding policy development processes.
Educational policy making related to CTE occurs at the
federal, state, and local level. As such, CTE leaders need to be
prepared to use their political institutions to ensure that every
student will be successful in life—whether becoming a
plumber, computer technician, or physician. The political
process in the U.S., unlike in some countries, is basically open
to participation and shaping by those outside of the policy
making process (Halperin, 2001). As such, CTE leaders need
to be prepared to help shape how their programs are planned,
implemented, and evaluated.
Status of Leadership Programs Related
to Career and Technical Education
Almost a century ago, Ellwood Cubberly (1906)
advocated for state standards for educational leaders.
Standards had already been actively discussed and
implemented for teachers by this time. By 1915, graduate
programs in school administration had been developed
(Callahan & Button, 1964). By 1937, 42 preparation programs
existed (Moore, 1937). By the mid-1950s, 41 states required
graduate work for administrator certification. In response to
growing certification requirements, the number of
administrator preparation programs nationally had grown
from 125 in 1946 to 371 in 1994 (McCarthy & Kuh, 1997).
Changing Environment 81
Secondary CTE Certification
and Licensure
Vocational education was the first area to have subject
area differentiation in high school teaching certificates
(Angus, 2001). States required special training in the areas of
agriculture, home economics, and industrial arts before the
academic subjects of English, math and science. Over 80
years ago, the Smith-Hughes Act required these specialized
certifications in order to receive funding. Smith-Hughes also
allocated funds for the supervision of agricultural programs,
and “it soon became apparent that qualified supervisors were
needed in each service (area) as a means of improving local
programs of vocational education” (Roberts, 1957, p. 170).
The Vocational Education Amendments of 1968 provided
substantial funding for the construction of area vocational
centers, and the need for principals and superintendents with
administrative knowledge, work experience in a technical
field, and teaching experience in vocational education became
a stated requirement for those individuals with administrative
oversight for vocational education programs (Edmunds,
1967). The number of university preparation programs for
vocational administrators was likely at its highest point during
the late 1960s. These programs continued to be offered by
many universities until the mid 1980s.
However, in the past 10 years, states have moved away
from requiring a specific administrative certification for CTE
programs. Administrative certificates have become more
inclusive, that is, less specialized and more generalized
(Zirkle, 1998). In 1993 the National Policy Board for
Educational Administration (NPBEA) identified a set of
knowledge and skill domains all principals must possess.
Further, the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium
(ISLLC) was established in 1994 under the guidance of the
Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This group,
a consortium of 32 education agencies and 13 education
administrative associations, worked cooperatively to establish
an education policy framework for school leadership (ISLLC,
82 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
1996). In 2002 the Educational Leadership Constituent
Council (ELCC), in cooperation with the National Policy
Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA), further
refined the original ISLLC standards into a set of NCATE-
approved standards for the preparation of educational
leaders. Each of these iterations of the standards has focused
on a set of administrative skills and knowledge germane to all
administrators, regardless of the students, programs, or
facilities they oversee. The latest ELCC/NPBEA standards
include the previously mentioned six broad areas of
administrative leadership identified by ISLLC (1996) and adds
a seventh standard specifically focused on administrator
Standard 7: through substantial, sustained,
standards-based work in real settings, planned
and guided cooperatively by the institution and
school district personnel for graduate credit.
(National Policy Board for Educational
Administration, 2002, p. 2-18)
Probably as a direct result of this philosophical change
to a more general and less specific administrative
credentialing process, several states have phased out their
CTE-specific credential. The once standard “vocational
director” credential is slowly disappearing. Studied
periodically over the past 4 decades, there is a consistent
reduction in the number of states having a specific CTE
credential. Table 1 illustrates these studies and their
corresponding findings.
Changing Environment 83
Table 1
Number of States with Specific Administrative Certificates/Licenses in
Vocational/Career & Technical Education
Author and Year N
Edmunds, 1967 37
Bowers, 1979 34
Kraska, 1989 31
Zirkle, 1998 26
Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin, 2004 20
An additional consequence of the de-emphasis of a
specific CTE administrative credential has been a
corresponding reduction in the number of CTE administrator
preparation programs in colleges and universities. While
much study has been directed at the noted decline of CTE
teacher education programs (Bruening, et al., 2001; Gray &
Walter, 2001; Lynch, 1997; Pucel & Flister, 1997), the
reduction in CTE administrator preparation programs is
perhaps more significant. In 1998, Zirkle found 67 programs
across the country for CTE administrator preparation. In
2004 the number stands at 43, a 36% decline in just 6 years.
This is much more precipitous than the 11% decline in the
past decade in the number of CTE teacher education
programs identified by Bruening, et al, (2001). Table 2
illustrates the colleges and universities known to offer a
program in CTE administrator preparation.
84 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
Table 2
College/University Preparation Programs by State
No approved programs
- completed via a
Department of
Education mentoring
University of Maine
University of Southern
Kent State University
University of Toledo
Wright State University
Central Connecticut
No universities with
approved programs
Oklahoma State
Florida Atlantic
Florida International
Florida State University
University of Florida
University of Central
University of South
Central Missouri State
University of Missouri-
Indiana U of
Penn State University
Temple University
Georgia Southern
Georgia State
University of Georgia
Valdosta State
University of Nevada-
Las Vegas
University of Nevada-
South Carolina
Winthrop University
Idaho State University
University of Idaho
New Hampshire
University of New
No approved programs
– completed via
transcript review
Ball State University
Indiana State University
Purdue University
North Carolina
North Carolina A&T
North Carolina State
Central Washington
Eastern Kentucky
Murray State University
University of Kentucky
Western Kentucky
North Dakota
North Dakota State
University of North
Valley City State
University of
Changing Environment 85
Secondary CTE Leadership
Development Programs
Perhaps as a partial result of disappearing credentialing
requirements and programs for CTE administrative
leadership, many states have recently begun developing their
own CTE leadership development programs, although the
development of programs specifically targeted at CTE
administrative leadership is not a new idea (Finch, 1977).
Over 60% of states responding to a survey by the National
Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education
Consortium (2003) reported that they offered a leadership
development academy for their administrators. These
programs generally have several characteristics in common.
They are usually one year in duration, meeting once or twice a
month. Participants in the program are generally nominated
for the program, and the programs are usually sponsored by
the specific state department of education, perhaps in
cooperation with local school districts, with academic credit
sometimes offered by a college or university. Several states
have had CTE leadership programs for several years. Some of
these leadership programs are located in the states of Idaho,
Missouri, Oklahoma, and Ohio. While these leadership
programs are needed, there has been little research into their
effectiveness. To date, Moss, Leske, Jensrud, and Berkas
(1994) have conducted the only nationally-based evaluation of
these programs.
Postsecondary CTE Leadership
Development Programs
According to the American Association of Community
Colleges (2003), there are over 100 master’s programs with a
focus on 2-year community and/or technical college
leadership. There are also over 100 doctoral programs with
the same focus. Additionally, approximately 40 non-degree
programs with a focus on 2-year college leadership have been
identified. Bragg (2002) identified several graduate programs,
86 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
including ones located at Oregon State University, the
University of Illinois, and Mississippi State University.
While not focused specifically on leadership for career
and technical education, 2-year technical and community
colleges claim CTE as a significant curricular thrust. As with
secondary CTE, a leadership shortage has been identified at
the 2-year college level as well (Shults, 2001). Graduate
programs in 2-year college leadership focus on several areas,
including leadership development, diversity, instructional
leadership, and workforce development (Bragg, 2002). These
areas are not significantly different from secondary CTE
leadership areas. Perhaps one difference between these
graduate programs and secondary leadership graduate
programs is the extensive use of cohort models for course
and program delivery. Learning communities provide
effective learning environments for a select group of students
(Bragg, 2002, p. 50). This preparation model is not widely
found in traditional secondary CTE leadership programs.
Recently, leadership for CTE has been impacted by
many events, including pressures for accountability, funding
challenges, certification/licensure changes, technological
innovations – the list is endless. Regardless of level
(secondary or postsecondary) or type of program (graduate
study, cohort, and state department-developed), present
leadership with vested interests in career and technical
education has recognized the need for leadership
development. Support is needed to ensure that leadership
programs for CTE continue in order for programs, and
ultimately society, to prosper.
Implications for Planning, Implementing and
Evaluating Leadership Programs
CTE needs high-quality leaders who inspire
commitment and engagement between a school or college
and its administrators, teachers, students, parents,
business/industry/labor, and policy makers. When a school
Changing Environment 87
or college has these types of CTE leaders, high quality
programs emerge. However, establishing these types of
leaders is not an easy task. Doing so requires opportunities
for leaders to receive intrinsic rewards (e.g., feelings of
challenging and interesting work, creativity, satisfaction,
acceptance, and value), opportunities for professional and
personal growth (e.g., learning new information and skills—
both formally and informally, advancement within the school
or college, leadership opportunities), and extrinsic fulfillment
(e.g., awards, titles, incentives, verbal statements of
appreciation, and additional resources and support for CTE).
Increasing specialization is occurring throughout society.
Whether one is seeking medical, legal, automotive, electrical,
computer, or plumbing advice, individuals with specialized
backgrounds possess more and more advanced levels of
preparation and certification or licensure. This increasing
specialization throughout the occupational areas cited above
is also occurring in education through certification, licensure,
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and
The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence.
Federal and state legislation needs to provide
opportunities for individuals to develop their leadership
potential. Funds should be made available for CTE graduate
education, state leadership development programs, and local
initiatives designed to prepare CTE leaders.
Establishing and operating high-quality CTE programs
requires leaders with a specialized knowledge base. Federal
and state laws are requiring higher levels of accountability for
academic, as well as CTE program outcomes. In order to
meet these requirements, leaders need a thorough
understanding of how to develop more efficient and effective
programs. Present and future administrators in CTE must be
prepared to function in an environment where the integration
of academic and career and technical education is a certainty.
A shortage of career and technical education leaders may
result in a lack of instructional leadership if the individuals
88 Zirkle, Parker, & McCaslin
administering the program are unaware of the mission, vision,
goals, and objectives of career and technical education.
Policy Recommendations for
Local, State, and National Levels
Schools or colleges who want to develop high quality
CTE leaders must not only find ways to support their
development, they must also find ways to keep them in their
CTE also needs to develop a set of national standards
for developing its leaders. The process followed by ISLLC
could be used as a model for developing these standards. A
national set of standards could also be used to facilitate
reciprocity of leaders across state lines. A specialized course
or two in the administration of career and technical education
should be included for all individuals seeking leadership
positions in high schools.
Current administrators should encourage other
individuals, such as teachers, who exhibit leadership
characteristics, to pursue training relative to leadership
development. Federal and state funding to develop and
strengthen leadership development programs should be made
available to colleges and universities, states, and local
education agencies. Established CTE leadership programs
should be replicated in other states to fill the need for CTE
leadership programs. The need for effective leadership will
not disappear.
Career and technical education must develop
relationships and collaborate with other educational
disciplines. For too long, career and technical education has
been seen as “alternative education,” that is separate, and
often, unequal. By developing these relationships, career and
technical education can be assured of being part of any
educational process that requires qualified, effective
leadership (Zirkle & Cotton, 2001).
Changing Environment 89
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Imagining the Future of Career and Technical
Education: Reflections for Career and Technical
Education Leadership from National Leadership
Institute Scholars
Jerry R. McMurtry
The University of Idaho
There probably can never be enough good
leaders. But in periods of instability, in which
change in the environment makes the familiar
way of conducting the affairs of an organization
unsatisfactory or irrelevant, the need for good
leaders becomes especially critical. Vocational
education is now in such an unstable situation.
Changes in the nature of work, increasing public
demands upon the education system, and
changes in the ethnic cultural composition of the
student body are challenging vocational
education to justify its place in the education
enterprise. Vocational education must begin its
own transformation if it is to remain a viable
form of education in the new environment.
Now, as much as in any previous era, vocational
education needs effective leaders. (Moss, Finch,
& Johansen, 1991, p 7)
The above is a passionate call to action for vocational
educators in an attempt to alert the field to an impending
crisis. It was apparent in the early 1990s that vocational
education would not have the necessary individuals in the
leadership development pipeline to meet the need for leaders
in the field. The authors of this quoted based their statement
96 McMurtry
on the early work in vocational education leadership by Moss
and Liang (1990), which pointed directly to the harsh reality
that the field lacked an adequate number of leaders, there was
no formal established leadership development structures, and
the field was making no formal effort to remediate or resolve
the problem. They argued for the need to establish a
leadership development system for vocational education and
lamented the fact that there were not enough effective leaders
for vocational education and that a nationwide coherent and
systematic process to identify and develop potential leaders
was not being made.
Based on the work of Moss and others, the early 1990s
saw the member schools of the University Council for
Vocational Education (UCVE) acknowledge a lack of specific
leadership development activities for vocational education.
This lack of general leadership development programs, as
opposed to school administrator preparation, quickly became
a priority issue. Even though a recognized leadership training
gap existed, there was not time to create national or state
leadership development programs (Moss, Johansen, &
Preskill, 1991). Based on these findings, the National Center
on Research in Vocational Education (NCRVE) funded a
number of initiatives to assist in the establishment of
leadership development programs at universities across the
The 1990s were a time of tremendous change in the
landscape of vocational education. Reeling from the 1983
report, A Nation at Risk and buoyed by the publications The
Neglected Majority,Workforce 2000,The Forgotten Half, and
America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages, vocational education
was poised to take advantage of what should have been a
golden opportunity to establish itself as a primary player in
workforce development and cement itself as a necessary
component of public education. Along with opportunity
there also existed a substantial threat. During this time other
themes were emerging which had a long-term impact on
vocational education. The notion of transferable courses and
Imagining the Future 97
credit for students so they could move through traditional
vocational subjects into an associate degree program or
beyond created the need to recast course offerings and
instructors so that general education credit could be offered.
Articulated programs from secondary to postsecondary
became a necessity and again required vocational educators to
work differently, this time between secondary and
postsecondary programs. Because of the changing economic
profile of the country a focus on developing broad skill sets
rather then specific job skill sets became essential;
organizations flattened out and jobs were not static but
dynamic, requiring incumbents to move quickly from one set
of skills to another. The 1990s also brought a focus on
technology, and higher order thinking and the general
changing demographic of the workforce all played a part in
the radical reforming of what work and the economy required
of those entering at the less than baccalaureate level. These
issues, coupled with an established lack of leadership ready to
address these and other emerging issues, certainly caused
tremendous stress in the vocational education community.
From a historical perspective, much was done based on
the initial work of Moss and others in establishing leadership
development programs. Resources were provided, and many
initiatives were started in an effort to create a pipeline of
leaders for the decades ahead. The question is: Were they
effective? In the years since Moss and others did the initial
work in vocational education leadership much has changed in
the field and society, yet some things have stayed the same.
Vocational education is now career and technical education,
and many of the issues faced by vocational education such as
funding and program offerings are still the same. Leadership
is still a critical issue. However, unknown to the scholars who
were engaged in researching and writing about vocational
education leadership in the 1990s and earlier, the new century
would bring significant changes and issues which they in no
way could have anticipated.
98 McMurtry
There is a growing concern that appropriate educational
leadership for career and technical education programs may
be approaching a critical shortage, a concern primarily driven
by three factors. First, the number of teacher preparation
programs has been steadily decreasing for over two decades.
Second, nationally the definitions of what qualifications are
needed to become an educational leader are not consistent
and frequently suffer administrative certification /licensure
changes. Third, across the country many individuals are
deciding that positions in educational leadership are not
desirable due to the long hours, high stress, and questionable
rewards. All of these issues have fueled the concern over the
future of leadership of career and technical programs
(Wonacott, 2001, Zirkle & Cotton, 2001).
Eleven years later the field seems to have the same
problem. Zirkle and Cotton (2001) asked very pointedly,
“Where will future leadership come from?” (p.1) Based on
societal changes and the ever-changing political landscape,
coupled with the changing themes listed above; career and
technical education is at a point unseen at any time in the
long and distinguished history of the field. Attempting to
answer the question posed by Zirkle and Cotton will require
in-depth examination of the role of CTE in the educational
The traditional path to leadership in secondary
education is to move from being initially a classroom teacher,
subscribe to a set of preparatory courses, obtain
administrative credentials, then subsequently seek a leadership
role as a principal or superintendent. Development of leaders
at the postsecondary level is similar, however often not as
prescribed in the secondary system. It is difficult to imagine a
new generation of leaders emerging from the traditional path.
Teacher preparation programs nationally have dwindled
(Lynch, 1996, 1997; Zirkle & Cotton, 2001) This fact alone
suggests that CTE is at a crisis point regarding emerging
leadership. Zirkle and Cotton (2001) suggested that states
must create their own leadership development programs such
Imagining the Future 99
as those currently in place in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Idaho.
Kister (2001), in her work on state-level career and technical
education leadership, noted that there is not a systematic
effort to develop leaders. She affirmed the notion that degree
programs and other educational endeavors do not provide a
coordinated path for preparing educational leaders. Career
and technical education leadership is facing an uncertain
future and significant challenge.
Definition of leadership
Is there a common and widely accepted definition of
leadership? Hundreds of books exist on the subject, trying to
establish some understanding of the nature of leadership and
define traits found in leaders. Is leadership a skill? Can it be
taught? Learned? Are there specific attributes or traits which
can serve as indicators or predictors which could lead to a
definition of leadership? Academics, practitioners, and
consultants, as well as individuals working at all levels of
organizations, have wrestled with leadership and how to best
teach/instruct/develop leaders. It is arguable that the concept
cannot even be completely defined and certainly not for the
lack of trying. Thirty years ago, Stogdill (1974) suggested
there was no integrated understanding of leadership, even
with an “endless accumulation of empirical data.” (p.vii).
Howard and Scheffear (1995) stated that leadership, like a
host of other words – education, creativity, discovery,
teaching – refers both to certain tasks or activities, on the one
hand, and to certain achievements or outcomes on the other,
which is to say, leadership is both a “process” and a
“product” (p. 105).
Unquestionably, leadership by its nature is a difficult
concept/construct to define. Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus
(1985) identified over 350 definitions. In the years since their
work was published others have emerged. A search on any
publication database for journals, books, and other writing on
leadership will yield thousands of works, most using a unique
definition of leadership. Dictionaries disagree on a single
100 McMurtry
definition or explanation of the term. It is somewhat
disturbing to realize that the study of leadership in
organizations goes back to a time prior to the early industrial
age. It is certainly unique that a field so well studied and with
some much written about it has not established an accepted
definition or scope of practice.
Can Leadership be Taught or Learned?
Many writers would agree that leadership can be taught
– that is, if it is studied and defined properly. Leadership can
be taught as a process, but it is more than just a process – it is
a practice. No program can teach leadership absolutes and
expect a common set of outcomes from a particular effort.
Much as a physician graduates from medical school and
begins a practice with what was taught, leadership can be
thought of in the same light, that is, skills can be taught,
learned, and practiced. Can it be learned? Certainly, history
is replete with examples of individuals without any formal
leadership training or exposure to the traits and skills found
in leaders emerging as successful leaders in a broad array of
fields. Gardner (1996) examined those leaders who emerged
due to their intellect or skill or luck – some welcomed the
leadership challenge other resented it – either way they were
leaders and learned or developed the skills necessary to lead,
move and motivate individuals. Howard and Scheffear (1995)
argued that leadership cannot be taught. Howard postulate is
supported by his belief that leadership is the result of
individuals finding their own “voice” through an exposure to
or an experience in a program of instruction. He used a
metaphor of a musician to demonstrate his point. A musician
can learn the instrument, the scales, the technical properties
of music, and performance. However, not everyone with the
same level of learning can perform at an equal level.
Leadership theory and practices can be delivered through
training or taught procedurally as a list of findings, practices
or “to do’s.” Howard suggested that to truly lead, one must
have a command of the skills taught and must learn
interpretive reflection. Just as two musicians can know the
Imagining the Future 101
same amount about music, this knowledge does not make
them both virtuosos. One will find his or her own way of
doing things. What is taken in as instruction goes beyond the
teacher and is interpreted by the individual to fit and is
contoured to fit the situation. The argument is not just an
exercise in semantics. Leadership can be taught, or at least an
exposure to traits of leadership can be provided, but to be
expert at leadership it must be learned through practice and
developed through insights into various and unique situations
and through relationships with both individuals and groups.
Leadership Development Efforts in Career and
Technical Education (Vocational Education)
The 1990s saw a significant amount of scholarship and
energy devoted to establishing leaders in vocational
education. The National Center for Research in Vocational
Education (NCRVE) was charged by the U. S. Department of
Education to provide leadership development opportunities
and services to vocational educators in the field. From this
mandate and a partnership with the University Council for
Vocational Education (UCVE) leadership development
activities were placed high as a priority in research and
Based on the work of Moss and Liang (1990) the
National Center on Vocational Education began a program
of supporting, through research and resources, the
development of leadership development programs for
vocational education. Based on the conceptual work of Moss
and Liang, 35 leadership attributes for vocational educators
were established. Further research on the 35 attributes by
Finch, Gregson, and Faulkner (1991) confirmed the evidence,
both qualitative and quantitative, and pointed to 37 specific
leadership attributes.
102 McMurtry
The 37 leadership attributes assessed in the LAI are as
xEnergetic with stamina
xAdaptable, open to
xTolerant of ambiguity
and complexity
xAchievement oriented
xConfident, accepting of
xWilling to accept
xEnthusiastic, optimistic
xTolerant of frustration
xDependable, reliable
xCourageous, risk taker
xEven disposition
xCommitted to the
common good
xPersonal integrity
xSensitivity, respect
xIntelligent with practical
xMotivation others
xCommunication (oral,
listening, written)
xAppropriate use of
leadership styles
xIdeological beliefs
important to the group
xConflict management
xTime management
xStress management
xDecision making
xProblem solving
xInformation management
Imagining the Future 103
To date, the above list is the most comprehensive
examination of leadership traits uniquely associated with CTE
(vocational education) leaders. It is hard to argue with as
extensive and all-inclusive list of traits and it is intuitive to
think that someone possessing these traits would be a good
leader. From this list the Leadership Attributes Inventory
(Moss et. al, 1991) was developed and established as a tool to
be used nationally in leadership development programs for
CTE. Additional tools were created to assist in supporting a
comprehensive leadership development program. Finch
(1993) created, with NCRVE support, the Breakers leadership
simulation. The interactive simulation allowed participants to
explore roles in a typical community college leadership
structure. Roles and expectations were outlined and defined
for participants. The simulation was based on a typical
community/technical college structure and used the
Leadership Attributes Inventory as a foundation component
of the overall simulation experience. Finch (1993) also let
efforts to develop additional resources for leadership
development and case studies appropriate for a extensive and
far-reaching leadership development experience. The overall
effort to create a comprehensive leadership development
program for vocational education was remarkable. The
development of an instrument, instructional curriculum,
simulations, and case studies blended with the institutional
support and subsidies for intensive instruction certainly
created an excellent leadership development program.
DuBrin (2001) examined leadership development and
classified leadership education programs into four categories:
feedback intensive, skill based, conceptual, and personal
growth. Effective leadership development programs must
incorporate all of these elements. The early efforts through
the UCVE and faculty at institutions such as Virginia Tech
and Minnesota undeniably created a balanced and
comprehensive leadership development program.
In 1991 all 51 state directors of vocational education and
almost 500 department chairs of programs with graduate
programs in vocational education were offered the
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opportunity to participate in UCVE-supported leadership
development activities. It is unclear how many actually
participated on a national scale. However, seven UCVE
member institutions were provided significant subsidies to
provide a new or extensively revised leadership development
program for vocational education. A majority of these
programs were short lived, and most ended prior to 1995
either through program loss or faculty and department
reallocation. An evaluation of 17 programs which used at
least one of the LAI attributes was completed by Moss,
Leske, Jensrud and Berkas in 1994. Their work examined
programs which used the early leadership development tools,
instruments, and activities developed and supported buy the
UCVE. They found considerable variance in the content and
methods individual programs implemented. The data
suggested the programs were generally well liked, and
individuals gained significant knowledge regarding their
perceptions of their leadership attributes. However, no long-
term evaluation was designed or established. It would be
another 10 years until a formal leadership development
program was established for CTE.
The National Leadership Institute
In 2001 the Professional Development Academy of the
National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical
Education established the National Leadership Institute for
career and technical education (NLI). Built on a purpose
similar to that which propelled the work of Moss and others
in the early 1990's it was designed recognizing that career and
technical education is currently, and more importantly, will be
in the future, operating in a leadership deficit. With a mission
similar to that which drove earlier CTE leadership
researchers, a new effort was initiated to establish a pipeline
of leaders prepared to address the challenges that career and
technical education will face in the new millennium. The
focus of the institute was to develop individual leadership
capabilities in selected secondary and postsecondary career
and technical educators - identified as NLI Scholars –
Imagining the Future 105
through an intensive year-long program built around five
comprehensive themes. Theme 1 was to develop individual
leadership capacity. To meet this theme the institute was
designed to assist the participants (scholars) in identifying
their leadership style and leadership philosophy and to
recognize their individual need for continuous professional
development. Theme 2 was to understand policy
development and legislative process related to CTE. Scholars
studied policy and decision making at both local and national
levels as well as worked on developing skills and strategies to
influence policy. Theme 3 was to understand culture and
individual program/state contexts. Sessions on diversity,
globalization, and national demographics allowed the scholars
to discuss and debate issues related to theme 3 and reflect on
the diversity and uniqueness of each location, state, and
program in the nation. Theme 4 delineated a vision and
mission for CTE. Scholars wrestled with issues such as
integration of academics, workforce development, and
accountability as they crafted a mission and vision statement
to guide their future leadership efforts. Theme 5 was to lead
change and establish a reform initiative. Scholars examined
change as a process, scrutinized educational reform efforts,
and generated new models of CTE which would fit into both
the current educational environment and the future.
The NLI program was delivered through six
professional development initiatives and methods; the
institute methods included :
xIndividual leadership plan
xNational face-to-face meetings
xE-meetings delivered through distance technology
(12 per year)
xInteractive discussion of current CTE research and
106 McMurtry
Specific outcomes for the participants in the institute
were as follows:
Develop and understanding of the role of a leader
and how to exercise the responsibilities inherent in
that role.
Improve their understanding of and ability to lead
reform and change processes.
Develop and improve ability to influence
policymaking at the local, state, and national levels.
Develop skills in interpreting and using research
findings and evaluation information to improve
programs and develop new initiatives.
Increase knowledge of legislative process and learn
how to impact that process.
Develop an understanding regarding the political
and financial challenges of planning and
implementing programs.
Recognizing the need to attract high-quality candidates,
extensive marketing of the NLI occurred through national
meetings, direct contact with potential scholars, and through
state directors of CTE. Identified scholars were reviewed and
subsequently selected by the Professional Development
Academy Advisory Committee. Criteria for selection into the
NLI were the following: leadership potential, service to the
profession and community, creativity, academic performance,
vision, teamwork skills, and other noteworthy
The first cohort of 33 scholars represented 11 states and
was selected from a pool of national applicants who
represented secondary, postsecondary as well as state and
local area administration positions in CTE. The second
cohort of 25 selected scholars represented 13 states and again
was representative of a broad cross section of instructional
and administrative positions in CTE. While membership in
Imagining the Future 107
the NLI was not limited to only those currently in leadership
positions, certainly some were, as evidenced by the number
of state and institutional program administrators. Scholars
represented positions in CTE ranging from classroom
teachers to ancillary service providers. A passion for CTE and
deep commitment to the future of the field was the common
thread which tied all scholars together.
Voices from the field
The balance of this chapter will provide the reader with
a picture of the challenges and future of career and technical
education leadership as seen by National Leadership Institute
participants. The voices will be those of the participants who
chose to respond to queries by the author and contributed
thoughts and ideas. It is not the purpose of this chapter to
evaluate the National Leadership Institute or discuss the
activities which comprised the educational and professional
development structure of the institute. Rather the NLI served
as a vehicle from which individuals who were identified as
future CTE leaders formed and re-formed ideas and thoughts
regarding the future of CTE and what leadership traits will be
most important and necessary for the future leaders in the
It is important to note that the author of this chapter
was a member of the first leadership institute cohort; as such,
the lens through which the data were examined and reported
is sharpened by an personal understanding of the types of
activities and discussions NLI members encountered. It is
also important to note that the data reported were gathered
from peers who knew of the author’s membership in the first
cohort and thus may reflect common understandings of
leadership and the issues addressed through the NLI and the
challenges that CTE leaders will face. Every effort has been
made to honor the voices of the participants and report
unbiased findings free of personal views and opinions. Due
to practical considerations no other further data were
gathered on the scholar responses, and triangulation was not
108 McMurtry
possible nor attempted through other means. Therefore, the
scholar statements are trustworthy only as far as the reader
can accept the fact that the author was part of the NLI and
experienced the struggles scholars faced, the fact that the
author has honestly examined personal bias and attempted to
address potential bias through a complete discussion of
possible subjective impacts and considerations, and the fact
the author used ranking to eliminate issues of selection and
engaged in an active process of interpretation to discover the
truth. By reporting the thoughts and reflections of those who
participated in the NLI and wrestled with the notions of
leadership within the context of CTE in the new millennium,
this chapter will be a call to action for those in current CTE
leadership positions and for those aspiring to join other CTE
leaders in prescribing the future of CTE.
First and 2nd-year scholars were contacted and asked to
participate in brief study which would attempt to ascertain
their views and beliefs on leadership in CTE. The study
would consist of two waves of questions, similar to a Delphi
study but not following a formal Delphi process. The initial
query for participation was answered by 31 of the 58 scholars.
A Web-based form was created and the URL sent to those
wishing to participate. Initially the scholars were asked to
respond to three questions regarding leadership in CTE
which would be followed up with a numeric ranking of the
responses. The first question was “Currently, what are the
most pressing issues regarding leadership in CTE?” The
second questions asked, “Looking into the future (5-10 years)
what do you anticipate being the most pressing issues facing
CTE leadership?” The final primary question was “Based on
your understanding of leadership and your experience in the
NLI, what are the key attributes/skills/knowledge/attitudes
needed by CTE leaders in the future?” A fourth follow-up
question was asked which was, “If you were asked to write a
scenario of the future of CTE leadership what components
would you include to insure a successful future?”
Imagining the Future 109
Of the 31 scholars accepting to participate, 28
completed the questions and submitted ideas and thoughts
which were used to build a second questionnaire asking
participants to rank the submitted ideas and thoughts. The
second questionnaire requested that the scholars consider the
strength of impact or importance of the statements gathered
in the first round. A 5-point rating scale was used ranging
from no impact/importance (value of 1) to significant
impact/importance (value of 5). Calculated rankings were used
to determine which concepts were perceived as having the
most impact or were most important to the scholars.
The following are the scholars’ responses, assembled
and ordered by the strength of their ranking. Respondents
are not identified, nor are specific responses attributed to an
individual scholar; rather, the statements will reflect only the
level of position held by the scholar. This information should
be enough to clarify the context in which the scholars’
thoughts and ideas are formed. With such a small number of
individuals within the NLI community, identification of
individuals would be possible with additional individual
information. The voices in the responses show passion and a
deep commitment to the field of CTE and a certain and
pointed concern for the future of the field.
What are the Most Pressing Issues
Regarding Leadership in CTE?
Of the responses to the query of “What are the most
pressing issues regarding leadership in CTE” a single
response overwhelmingly was ranked highest. The statement
“lack of an articulated clear national vision for CTE” ranked
above all other responses overall by being ranked as having
either a high or significant impact by all respondents. Second
highest was “lack of emerging qualified individuals to take
leadership roles.” These two responses outpaced all others in
importance and generated passionate statements establishing
them as primary issues facing CTE. The following will bring
110 McMurtry
the scholars’ voices to both issues and share insights into how
important these issues are to the field.
Scholars’ Voices
Scholars who reflected on the lack of a clear national
vision passionately described the challenge of establishing and
communicating a vision across a national landscape which
changes with state lines and federal policy. A postsecondary
level scholar describes the challenges as overwhelming and
difficult to even comprehend.
A vision for CTE which would work across the
nation would be tough and needed. My state is
very supportive of CTE but I know others are
not; I am lucky. We need something to bring us
together. I certainly don’t have the answers and
don’t know if we can even understand the
question, but how can we have a clear vision
when we run to adapt to the latest in federal law
and policy even if we don’t like what they are.
We need a vision but I don’t know how it could
come about with such a wide range of subjects
in CTE and so many different states.
A secondary-level scholar argues that vision is important
for the future and the present and looks to the national
association as an agency which perhaps should create and
communicate a vision for career and technical education:
Vision - I would have to say lack of a national
vision is the primary reason CTE is not thriving.
Not just a vision for the future but a vision for
right now. If we are talking about ACTE
[Association for Career and Technical
Education] how can they expect one person
elected to lead the association for a year and
establish a vision?
Imagining the Future 111
Leaders tell stories and use those stories to create a
vision and a path for individual and groups to follow. Stories
create culture and can reflect and reinforce important
milestones in the organization. Gardner (1996) aptly
described the role of story stories as the key to leadership
“perhaps the key to leadership, as well as to the garnering of a
following, is the effective communication of a story” (p.64).
One scholar representing secondary education related the
Lack of a story – we [CTE] don’t have a national
identity. Nothing to hang our hat on - ag ed
[agricultural education], bus ed [business
education], etc., all have their stories and
cultures. Some of their stories and cultures go
back before we even defined vocational
education. We don’t have a common culture and
we have been in competition for students for
years. How can a leader from a specific area of
vocational education [CTE] lead those in the
other service areas - and vise versa? . . . They
only understand their own story and not those
of the other areas. There needs to be a vision
articulated in a story which all program areas can
rally around. Without this [vision] I don’t think
we can continue to exist as one body,
representing many different fields of study.
CTE does have a rich history, even a storied history
written about since the time of Prosser and Dewey. However,
if there is one constant it is change, and the world has
changed. Many educational programs have been established
and subsequently retired or failed. In writing about the need
for a vision, two scholars noted the importance of a person to
establish the vision. Both reflected the need for change and
finding a person who can establish a vision for change:
I am not sure if CTE has the structure to move
ahead in the next few years. It seems we don’t
112 McMurtry
have a vision for what the future could be or a
person who can establish a vision. We are
holding too tightly to the past, perhaps due to
the fact there are very few young leaders in CTE.
Most of the current leadership is aging and not
interested in radical change - that is what we
need - vision for a radical change. I am afraid we
[CTE] will be added into the list of educational
efforts that failed if we don’t find a vision we
can all buy into.
Another state-level scholar further elaborated on the
fact that new leadership will be facing tough issues and a
troubled future:
The most pressing issue appears to be a lack of
clear national direction on the future of career
and technical education. Since there is much
uncertainty, especially due to pending
legislature legislation, it is hard to define a clear
vision and mission that is embraced by current
leadership. This certainly presents problems
when trying to develop new leadership.
A state-level CTE scholar again stated the importance of
a vision for the future but tempered the argument by noting
reflecting on the fact that to live in the past is to fail in the
CTE’s leadership needs to be developing a
vision of what CTE can be in the future, not
defending what CTE has been. CTE has a
strong history and we are proud of it; however,
we cannot live in the past, as that is a failure-
ridden approach to the future.
There is agreement among the scholars that vision or
lack of vision is a critical issue in order for CTE to move into
the future. The second most frequent mentioned critical
Imagining the Future 113
issue was related to the fact that CTE is sorely lacking in
leaders able to enter and provide the vision necessary for the
future. Scholars consistently articulated the fact that there are
limited leaders emerging in the field of CTE. Even with the
early work of the UCVE and Moss et al., in the 1990s, little
impact is currently seen from those efforts. More recently the
NLI could have a only a small impact on what is a huge
leadership gap. Training, empowering, and liberating 58
individuals may not be enough to solve the leadership crisis
which is well established.
A postsecondary scholar is very succinct in capturing the
essence of the problem:
In regards to leadership, career and technical
education will experience a large turnover of
leadership in the next 10 years. We must
continue to prepare leaders in our profession.
Reflecting more on the causes, issues, and challenge
related to the lack of entering leaders, a state-level scholar
The leaders that I see coming into CTE have
limited background in CTE and don't always
see CTE in its full light. In some ways, it
seems to be treated as just one more funding
stream and one more thing on an already
crowded list of "to-do items" for a general
education specialist at either the secondary or
postsecondary level.
A postsecondary scholar reflected on a more personal
level the frustrations seen over a number of years regarding
CTE leadership and the fact that there are not enough leaders
to support the programs which exist:
I've been involved with career and technical
education at a postsecondary level for almost
114 McMurtry
14 years. . . . since then, there hasn't been a
great influx of new leadership in career and
technical education. Most of the career and
technical education people in key positions
have been there a long time. These people are
starting to retire, and I don't see many
qualified people ready to replace them. I feel
that career and technical education has not
been valued as highly as educational
opportunities offered through 4-year
institutions. This is a key issue regarding
leadership in CTE. If it's not perceived as
being valuable there is a reluctance to support
Demographic data mentioned at the 2003 ACTE
National Convention reflected the concern that the average
age of the membership is over 50 years old. The future
success of any field depends on maintaining an injection of
youth, not just for the number of working years available but
for the diversity of ideas and thinking. Even though it sounds
like CTE leadership is facing unprecedented challenges,
scholars are upbeat about the successes of the students, and
perhaps those are the people who are key to the new vision
of CTE. A postsecondary scholar passionately reports:
There are very few programs left in the nation
which can turn out CTE leaders. Looking at
my peers in the institute, the average age here
has to be over 45 or 50. Where is the youth in
our cause? Teacher ed programs are being
cut and graduate CTE programs are difficult
to find. What once was a proud and strong
field of professional study is now only
represented in a few schools. I don’t have the
answer to the leadership question, but I do
know we are still turning out highly skilled
workers who are the very fabric and backbone
of our working society. I am encouraged at
Imagining the Future 115
the quality of student emerging from CTE
programs. We have done good work in
preparing not only technicians but, more
broadly, thinkers and learners. Perhaps our
next generation of leaders won’t come from 4
year programs but from the field. These folks
in the field know the real world and won’t
stand for anything less than excellence in the
Another state-level scholar looked at the broad picture
painted by the lack of CTE leadership programs:
An increasing number of people with little or
no career-technical education background or
experience are leading key offices, programs,
and school districts. This hinders vision,
commitment, and produces poor decision-
making on planning, programming, human
resource management, fiscal management,
assessment, and evaluation.
With the reduction of programs preparing CTE leaders
and teachers it is clear the field is in a situation nearing a
crisis. Both the fact that we have few emerging leaders
through formal programs and a lack of vision for CTE
suggests there needs to be a new youthful movement for the
field to survive. Perhaps the answer lies in those students we
turn out into the field. As skilled practitioners of CTE subject
areas they are key to establishing vision through their work
on CTE advisory committees. These advisory committees are
key to the development of programs in CTE. Advisory
committee members offer ideas on the future of the field.
These members are critical for programs which want to
continue to effectively and efficiently serve their regions.
Advisory committee members as leaders in the field and
community members could influence, through advocacy of
CTE, structures and non-supportive administrators. It is
certain that CTE needs to further examine current realities
116 McMurtry
and find a new solution to the issues brought forth by the
scholars. Leadership training may be the answer or it may be
one part of the answer to the current issues.
Looking into the Future:
What do you Anticipate being
the Most Pressing Issues for CTE Leadership?
Looking at the present state of affairs in CTE and
comparing it to the future creates no new surprises. The same
issues identified as important and critical in the current
environment are articulated as critical for the future. Both
vision and number of leaders in the field were common
themes emerging from this question. Perhaps this fact
suggests a situation in or near chaos, a situation where one
cannot look past the immediate situation to see a vision of
the future. Wheatley (1999) described chaos as the point
where a system plunges into random behavior where no
order exists (p.117).
Scholars’ Voices
Not seeing any difference between the issues articulated
by the scholars’ experiences with current realities and future
ideas is reason for concern. It appears, from a postsecondary
scholar, that we could be approaching chaos in CTE:
I can’t look to the future except through what is
happening today. We have to solve so many
problems with leadership in CTE now before we
can even think about the future. It doesn’t seem
too important to other educational leaders that
CTE is close to a leadership crisis. I think they
[other educational leaders] are fine if we just
CTE may have tried to survive by being all to many and
not adhere to the principles and vision which created the
field. The notion of a program versus a system is important.
Imagining the Future 117
It is a simple fact that programs are easily removed,
eliminated, or redesigned. Systems are not, since systems are
structures which interact with and support many programs. A
state-level CTE leader suggested a lack of vision has allowed
CTE to be redefined into something not definable as a
system to prepare students:
I also believe that if CTE can't focus its message
and mission, it may be lost. CTE at this point is
so many things to so many people that it is
losing its clarity. Many outside CTE have tried to
use CTE as the answer to many ills. It is seen as
a program versus a system.
A secondary scholar found the future must be structured
around an individual who has the knowledge and skills
necessary to be an apologist for the field:
[A CTE leader must] continue to define and
defend our purpose, providing the data that
indicate we are a vital part of education and
technical training and economic development.
We need leadership with the background to
know what we do, the credibility to foster
change, and the vision to lead.
The very premise of the NLI was to establish a program
to prepare individuals from CTE fields to enter leadership
positions in the future. Most NLI participants were already
leaders in the field and were successful in creating programs
or schools, some of which are national models or exemplars.
Creating leaders for the future is not easy and the
demographics paint an up-hill battle. If we are not preparing
CTE leaders for the number of positions available then it is
logical that other educational systems will place individuals in
those positions regardless of their professional skill training
or area of study. One school of thought is reflected by a
postsecondary scholar who has a concern regarding the value
of a deep understanding of the historical aspects of CTE. The
118 McMurtry
scholar further reflected on the notion and the value of
having individuals who understand the historical roots of
CTE in leadership positions:
I anticipate [concerning leaders in the future] a
lack of historical roots. More and more, the
leadership for CTE is coming from a non-CTE
background. We must "develop our own" in
order to continue our strength.
If we are to continue to place only CTE-prepared
individuals in the open leadership positions we will never
meet the needs regionally or nationally. Perhaps a different
perspective is required and a different way to conceptualize
the problem. A postsecondary scholar looks at the future and
has a slightly different take on the situation. Based on this
scholar’s ideas the notion of educating individuals to take
leadership positions from outside the field is needed. Further
suggested is the concept of assisting those individuals not
prepared through formal or traditional CTE programs to
become leaders.
CTE must be about supporting futuristic leaders
who can contribute to CTE's solidification and
growth. We tend not to recognize those who are
out of our “field” and are “not one of us”. CTE
is fast becoming the poster child and symbol of
educational myopia.
If in fact CTE is not preparing enough leaders to
continue to staff all the positions available perhaps the
answer might come through recognition of those with other
foundational skills sets and grow within them an appreciation
of CTE. The suggestion would be to make them champions
of CTE through education and development. There is no
clear answer to the leadership crisis in CTE, but perhaps
there is a new way to look at the situation and direct our
efforts at the education of those who find themselves leading
Imagining the Future 119
What are the Key Skills and Attributes
Needed by CTE Leaders in the Future?
Vision is mentioned in the literature as an important
attribute for organizations and should be established by the
organizations leaders. Kouzes and Posner (2002) argued for
leaders to inspire a shared vision for the organization to be
successful. Maxwell (1999) listed vision as one of the 21
indispensable qualities of a leader. It is hard to imagine a
successful leader who has no vision for the future of the
organization. Vision, as has been established above through
the voices of the scholars, is a critical skill for those leaders in
CTE. Vision was most frequently mentioned as both an
attribute and skill necessary for leaders in the future. The
following are the attributes, in order of importance as
determined by mention which, NLI scholars stated as
important for leaders in the future.
xCommitment to the principles of CTE
xAbility to change
These four attributes, except for commitment to the
principles of CTE, are part of the LAI and reflected in the list
of attributes composed by Moss et al.
Scholars’ Voices
Vision is the common thread which ties all the scholars’
reflections together. A postsecondary scholar noted:
The future leadership of CTE must have the
ability to articulate a grand vision of what CTE
can be.
120 McMurtry
A simple statement but powerful; the vision must be of
what CTE can be. Again, vision was mentioned by a
secondary scholar as the most critical attribute of the new
generation of leaders necessary to bring CTE into the future:
We cannot go into the future without a clear
vision of what we want to be and where we are
going. This is the most important thing
[attribute] a leader of the future must have. With
no vision then we will just flame out and die.
The suggestion that CTE may die is disturbing to most.
However, the essence of this statement is again a call to
immediate action for CTE at all levels and suggests that we
need individual leaders skilled to move the field into the
In these trying times, with ethical dilemmas facing
corporations and organizations consistently in the news, it is
not surprising that scholars reflected on leaders being ethical.
A postsecondary scholar reflected on the current business
climate and discussed ethics in leadership:
We have seen many leaders who you wonder
who they are listening to. There seems to be no
ethical base for organizations. I cannot stress
enough how important ethics are in leadership.
A person not seen as ethical will be dismissed as
a leader and not effective.
Further, this scholar reflected a personal situation
regarding ethical leadership in an educational organization
and how quickly a leader’s effectiveness is lost and not
regained due to a lack of ethical behaviors. The scholar
summarized the situation in this manner:
If [the leader] would have just been honest and
ethical he would still have the respect of all of
the employees. This one situation ruined him.
Imagining the Future 121
As an attribute, commitment to the principles of CTE,
may have not been deemed measurable by the LAI as the
design of the instrument and programs were specifically
targeted to individuals practicing in the field of CTE. The
emergence of the attribute “commitment to the principles of
CTE” from the NLI scholars perhaps reflects the changing
nature of CTE in the 21st century. It might be a common
understanding now that not all leaders in CTE will have the
commitment necessary to move CTE into the future. As
some scholars mentioned, not all leaders in CTE are trained
or educated through CTE programs. They find themselves in
CTE because of either a lack of individuals prepared to take
CTE leadership roles or a reluctance of prepared individuals
to take the leadership roles. A postsecondary scholar
suggested some well-prepared leaders simply do not want the
To be a leader [in CTE] is difficult. I know
past students who could do the job but don’t
want the problems. The position requires
tremendous hours, and the demands are so
different today. You have to be all to everyone -
you need to be able to work with general
education, interact with the workforce, interpret
federal legislation, fight for funds, recruit
students, manage physical plants and facilities. It
is not surprising to me many don’t want these
headaches. I see the new leaders in CTE having
to fight for everything. And to do it with fewer
and fewer resources. It is ridiculous - I wouldn’t
want the position.
It is true, the nature of leadership positions are
changing, and in the current economy we are being asked to
do more with less or at least the same amount. One scholar
reflected on this situation and termed the current situation
institutional insanity:
122 McMurtry
They [the education system] keep expecting
different results by doing the same things. This
is the a clinical definition of insanity, which can
be applied to the states and feds who insist on
having the local districts do more with the same
or less.
Change is the only constant in society today. Never have
we faced such a changing educational landscape. From the
federal level to the local level change is being driven by
federal, state, and local legislation as well as by business and
global economic competition. The organization which
changes to meet the advancing needs of society will succeed
and prevail, while those which cannot adapt readily to the
changing complexities of the new educational world order.
The attribute of ability to change is necessary as growth
comes through change.