Crisis for our Special Education Teachers
New Report's Findings
High case loads and enormous amounts of paperwork have worsened special education teaching conditions, according to a recent report by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).
The report documented:
- Nearly 70 percent of special education teachers report spending less than two hours per week in individual instruction with their students.
- Special education teachers have an average caseload of 38 students; teachers in self-contained classrooms have an average caseload of 18.
- More than 30,000 teachers without appropriate licenses teach students with special needs.
- We are losing special education teachers at twice the rate of general education teachers. Estimates forecast the need for new special education teachers to reach 200,000 in the next five years.
Recommendations from the report's action agenda include using technology tools and clerical supports to reduce the paperwork burden, creating a career continuum in special education, developing cohesive professional licensing, and providing school system supports.
The report strongly concludes that no single agency or group can solve these problems. Partners in Action need to collaborate on the solution: special education teachers, businesses, federal and state agencies, teacher associations, school boards, school districts, and parents.
As a parent, you can:
- Ask about the research that supports the IEP interventions for your child.
- Insist that your child has special and general education teachers who are fully licensed in their areas.
- Work with the school leadership to ensure that the school personnel reflect the diversity of the larger community and nation.
- Insist on reasonable caseloads and class sizes for your special education teacher.
- Ask whether the school or district has policies for using "validated practices" and how the policies are enforced.
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