Today's Dropout, Tomorrow's Workforce: Meeting the Needs of All Students in a Career and Technical Education Classroom
This single-case study utilized the data from a successful career and technical education (CTE) program at a public high school in southwest Texas. The CTE program selected addresses the needs of an at-risk student population in a public school district in southwest Texas whose student population was primarily Mexican American.
The opportunity to learn (OTL) paradigm, coupled with the critical theory perspective and aligned with a qualitative methodology, was used to answer the study's overarching question: What are the perceptions of the CTE administrators, counselors, teachers, and students in regards to the effectiveness of the CTE program? Two research questions guided the study: (a) What practices are in place that the CTE teachers, CTE administrators, and CTE stakeholders find responsible for the higher graduation rate of CTE students; and (b) what practices are in place that the CTE teachers, CTE administrators, and CTE stakeholders find responsible for encouraging students to continue their education past high school or to seek meaningful employment? The following conclusions drawn from this study supported and expanded previous findings: 1. The perceptions of the CTE administrator, teachers, and counselors were that CTE program effectiveness was due to team-centered leadership. 2. By helping students to experience academic success, teachers were preparing students for life's challenges whether they sought a higher education or employment. 3. Caring teachers are an important asset for students to be successful. 4. Students, particularly those who are at risk of dropping out of school, are more successful when their individual needs are addressed so they may take on the task of learning.