Teacher licensure challenges with the state’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs were the focus of education committee hearings in both the House and Senate last week.

The discussions came as the committees heard a report from the Career and Technical Educator Licensing Advisory Task Force revealing the teacher crisis and gaps in the system.

The report found the CTE teacher licensure process is often redundant and unclear for incoming teachers. Right now, a bachelor’s degree is required for teachers and is often hard to acquire or is not even available and is arguably not the best indicator of qualifications. Add on top of that the current teacher shortage, the system creates hardships for districts trying to attract qualified candidates to a growing range of programs for agriculture, engineering, information technology, and manufacturing.

MREA members served on the task force and provided valuable testimony during the hearings.

“Quite honestly, we wish we could offer more,” said Stephen Jones, the task force co-chair and superintendent of Little Falls Community Schools. “College prep should be a key part of education, but for some it’s career prep – that’s our challenge and many times these programs are the first to get cut.”

Lakes County Service Cooperative Career & Technical Education Coordinator Troy Haugen, who wrote the task force report, and Battle Lake High School industrial tech teacher Mr. Tom Leuthner suggested the following changes need to be addressed going forward:

  • Allow two-year accredited institutions of higher education to have the ability to offer content-related teacher preparation programs for Career and Technical Education licenses.
  • Create incentives for institutions eligible for alternative preparation providers.
  • Provide adequate, sustainable funding for any resulting change or addition to state agency scope of practice.

View the report Troy provided to MREA with the 6 key recommendations.

As referenced in the report, CTE teachers have the enormous responsibility of directly impacting the future of Minnesota’s economic prosperity. View the full report.