District of innovation-hired career and technical education teachers : a study of preparation and effectiveness.
School districts across the nation are struggling to fill Career and Technical Education (CTE) teaching positions each year (Devier, 2019). To address this demand in Texas, state lawmakers passed legislation to create Districts of Innovation (DOI) in 2015 (Texas Education Agency, 2020a). The DOI designation gives school districts more local control by removing the teacher certification hiring barrier, so administrators can fill CTE teaching positions with industry experts (Crow, 2015; Walsh et al., 2018). These new educators—known as DOI Health Science CTE teachers in this research study—bypass teacher certification programs and are put in the position of becoming teachers and learners concurrently. DOI teachers are adult learners discovering how to become teachers. Through an adult learning theory lens of andragogy, this study documented the journey of these new teachers as they acquired skills to enter the classroom. Industry experts bring life experiences to the classroom that are critical to their own learning (Power, 2018). DOI Health Science CTE teachers must learn how to manage classrooms, design curricula and lessons, and navigate district and school expectations, policies, and rules. It is important to support these new teachers to share in the common mission of the school district to improve academic achievement for all students (Hemmer & Elliff, 2018). This problem of practice focuses on the shortage of qualified teachers for the Health Science career cluster and the need to tap that industry to fill these positions. The decision to focus solely on the Health Science career cluster will be supported by data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020), which predicts healthcare occupations will grow by 15% and will add more than 2.4 million new jobs by 2029. Upon this backdrop of change sits the demand for qualified CTE teachers to provide context through real-world experiences (Perna, 2018) and to prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow (Bottoms et al., 2013; Meeder & Pawlowski, 2020).