Build robots, building brains
TCEA 2011 review

CTE vs. Tech Apps and Computer Science

To begin with, I am a bit of a snob when it comes to certification.  I have a regular certification, earned as a post-graduate at Texas Woman’s University.  I had to file a a deficiency plan with the local university, take the required graduate classes and tests – since my college degree was in Mississippi, I had to take Texas politics, etc.  I also had to take tests in pedagogy, mathematics and computer science.  By the way I finished with an almost 4.0 (my sponsoring teacher for Computer Science student teaching did not like me and gave me a “C” which my Mathematics sponsoring teacher and the university sponsoring teacher didn’t agree with, that knocked my student teaching grade to a “B”).

I also passed all the tests on the first try – more on that later.

You have to understand that these are three entirely different certifications.  The last time I looked at getting a CTE certificate, I couldn’t just take a test, I had to have office experience, which technically I didn’t have, since I didn’t work as a secretary or a receptionist, I was one of the bosses, and a system’s analyst at that.

When I got the Tech Apps certificate, you couldn’t take a test at all.  It hadn’t been developed.  Instead you had to take a course in each of Tech Apps certification areas.  They were all pedagogy courses, meaning you learned how to do the software AND learned how to teach it at the same time.  Again, took them as post graduate courses, this time getting a 4.0 out of 4.0.

Now, you can “just” take a test, but I know people who have worked in the Tech Apps field and the Computer Science field who haven’t passed the test after multiple tries. 

The biggest problem between the two, is that there is a funding disparity.  Though some of the things I learned this week means that some of the funding hasn’t been obtained legitimately – it’s supposed to be based on the number of students who go through several years of CTE courses, and another Dallas teacher and I compared notes, and we know that there are not as many students going through CTE as they’re getting funding for.

Every CTE teacher I know gets about $3000 to spend on a discretionary basis.  We get about $2.00 per student, I got about $200 this year, which doesn’t even cover the ink for my printers.  I’ve seen CTE buy things like large full standing copiers.

Until recently they got computers more often than we did, but that has changed recently.  They also only count about 1/3 or 1/2 of a regular CTE, so principals really like them for their budget.

Tech App teachers and Computer Science teachers have always had to work hard to recruit students to keep our classrooms full.  That is new this year for the CTE teacher.

As a result, the tech app teacher and the computer science teacher perceive that we are working very hard to keep what we have, and that the CTE hasn’t had to work hard at all and it is just handed to them.  From looking at the TEKS themselves, you can tell that our courses are aimed at a higher rigor (especially CS).  

It always bugs me when I see someone trying to do what I do, that do not have the proper background and training.  I feel that it cheats the students.  I really worked hard to get where I am.  I worked hard to get scholarships and funding for my Bachelor’s Degree, my Master’s, and my certifications.  I feel it takes away from me when it is handed to someone else.

Apparently Perkins has been changing lately and that is going to be very interesting.

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