Schools nationwide expect special education teacher shortages this fall
A kindergarten teacher collects crayons from students at a California elementary school. The data shows that almost all states expect to start the school year with an insufficient number of specialist teachers. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
As students head back to class for the new school year, all but three states are reporting to the U.S. Department of Education that they expect to run out of specialist teachers and other states may not be far behind. behind.
All states except Arkansas, California and Oregon have indicated that they will have fewer teachers than they should for the 2022-2023 school year who are trained to meet the needs of students with disabilities.
That’s according to a Ministry of Education database dedicated to tracking teacher shortages across the country.
Advertising – Continue Reading Below
But Arkansas Department of Education officials say their shortage list includes special education teachers and they’re investigating why that wasn’t reflected in the federal database. And, the Oregon Department of Education said it expects to report a shortage of special educators when it updates its reports in the fall.
The California Department of Education did not respond to questions about that state’s status.
Special education is often an area where schools struggle to fill positions. Last year, the Department of Education database showed shortages in the specialty in all but two states and the previous year there were shortages in all but seven states.
But now school districts are suffering more widely for educators, with pending enrollment bonuses of $10,000 or even $22,000 to attract new teachers.
“It’s definitely not a new problem, although I’ve also heard it’s been getting worse lately,” said Denise Stile Marshall, CEO of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, or COPAA, an organization in nonprofit that advocates for the rights of students with disabilities and their families, fighting to fill special education positions. “I hope districts turn to evidence-based practices, like team teaching, to close the gap. We are also concerned that the effect on students if solutions are not found quickly will be disastrous. »
Read more stories like this. Sign up for Disability Scoop’s free newsletter to get the latest news on developmental disabilities delivered straight to your inbox.