Career and Technical Education High School Principals: Perceptions after a Sudden Federal Policy Shift

Adam David Breier, Fordham University


Federal legislative acts have steadily aimed at closing the divide between Career and Technical Education (CTE) and academic programs since publication of A Nation At Risk in 1983. This trend culminated in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) goal that there should be alignment between CTE and academic standards if States and local educational agencies (LEA) were to receive funding under ESSA. However, that policy trend was punctuated before that goal was to take effect. This qualitative study focused on the lived experiences of ten New York City Department of Education CTE school principals as they made sense of their roles and of the state of CTE in light of this federal policy shift. Six key findings revealed their experiences with the policy shift itself, integration of CTE and academics at their schools, and their hopes and fears for the future of CTE in light of recent federal policy shifts. Implications for policy focus on the contradiction within ESSA caused by the recent federal policy shift. Recommendations for practice range from improved communication by state, district, and school-level leadership, and the introduction of structures that would focus on the needs of CTE schools and their teachers and leaders. Additionally, as a postscript to this study, the researcher acknowledges the global Covid-19 pandemic, which hit the United States after the conclusion of this study as a timely example of punctuated equilibrium, and offers it as a construct for examining and understanding the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic, a phenomenon, on education.

Subject Area

Vocational education|Education Policy|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Breier, Adam David, "Career and Technical Education High School Principals: Perceptions after a Sudden Federal Policy Shift" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27955143.