Career and Technical Education Instructors are Leaving Faster Than They Can Be Replaced, CTE Board Says

Board Chair Joane Murphy addresses the growing concerns over instructor attrition

  • Janeka Simon
  • February 23, 2024

“We’re losing instructors, and as we lose instructors we’re losing programs.” That was Joane Murphy, chair of the Board of Career and Technical Education, remarking on the difficulties the board is facing when it comes to retaining teaching talent. 

Ms. Murphy was responding to a question about priorities from representatives of the Education Development Center, a global nonprofit established to provide technical support and expertise to education officials across various niches. The discussion occurred during a Thursday meeting of the CTE Board, at which EDC officials were present to hear the board members’ concerns in order to potentially seek federal funding for programs designed to address the articulated challenges.

The instructor shortage permeates all industry areas, but is most particularly acute in the construction and medical sectors, Ms. Murphy indicated. 

Another major issue, raised by board member and former senator Genevieve Whitaker, lies in the board’s lack of adequate financial resources with which to support instructors. “We would like to be in a better position where we can provide funding to some of our teachers when they reach a roadblock with administrators,” she said. “Many times, we have a situation where a teacher needs some resources for their classroom…so they come to the board, and we typically don’t have."

Other challenges articulated included coping with school violence. “That’s become a major issue,” said CTE board member Suzanne Magras. Dr. Magras also cited teacher certification, basic resources, and technology as also lacking, and suggested that attention be paid to ensuring that teachers and students alike are “prepared for the impact of AI and what’s coming.”

According to EDC representative Sandra Espada, Thursday’s meeting was useful in helping the organization “assess what are the needs of the territory” as it gets ready “to submit proposals to get funding from federal sources.” That funding would then be used to provide technical support “at a systems change level,” according to Nicole Breslow, a project director with EDC. 

Representatives of the organization plan to also meet with Department of Education officials as well as representatives of the Board of Education in the near future, so that a holistic idea of the territory’s CTE needs can be gained.

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