Noting that federal statistics indicate that special educators are more likely to leave the education profession than their general education colleagues, Kim shared some of the challenges, recruitment and retention efforts underway to increase the pipeline of special education teachers and keep them as teachers.
With nearly every state reporting a shortage of special education teachers and/or related service personnel, CEC has long been concerned that more must be done to improve working conditions, increase special and general education collaboration, and provide relevant professional development. In fact, in 2000 CEC issued Bright Futures for Exceptional Learners: An Agenda to Achieve Quality Conditions for Teaching and Learning, a groundbreaking report that deeply investigated why there are shortages of special educators and remedies to reverse the trend. Unfortunately, many of these challenges still exist today.
To bring these issues to the national spotlight, CEC has been a co-chair of the National Coalition for Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services, 30 organizations who are working together to pursue federal policy solutions to address shortages. Also, CEC’s ESEA reauthorization recommendations are focused on improving collaboration between special and general education.
Tell us what is happening in your school district? Do you have enough special education teachers and related service personnel to meet the needs of students with disabilities?