Thursday, February 03, 2005

Does Highly Qualified Mean No One's Qualified?

Our Special Education Director came into the office last night and asked, "What are we going to do about meeting the new federal IDEA (Special Education) guidelines for faculty?" She indicated that this could be a huge problem around Indiana and the nation.

According to my understanding of the regulations, even special education teachers must have a license or endorsement in the areas they teach. Sounds logical on the surface doesn't it? If you were a high school special education teacher for Learning Disabled students, you would need an endorsement in any area of education that you are responsible for on the student's IEP.

So...I asked her to identify how many teachers on our staff would meet the guidelines of "highly qualified."

The answer...35%. Only 35% of our current special education staff would be considered "highly qualified" under the current law.

So here is the irony. We can't get enough applicants to take the jobs now. That is why there are so many teachers on limited licenses and emergency permits. I must be in some kind of alternate universe.

Under what rules of logic do we solve the special education teacher shortage by making the license more difficult to obtain? I think it is time to raise the pay for special education teachers to make it attractive. Every teacher knows that the liabilities and the paperwork responsibilities for special education teachers is far greater than it is for general education teachers. I think it is time to recognize that their jobs have evolved. We cannot afford to pretend that all teacher jobs are equal. An increase in their pay based on their caseloads or some such factor is more likely to solve the applicant shortage than simply raising the preparation requirements.


At Tuesday, February 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do IPS Special Education teachers earn now?

What amount of pay would attract quality candidates?

How many Special Education teachers are required in the IPS district?

I'm just trying to understand the costs.


At Friday, October 07, 2005, Blogger Clifford said...

Great work on your blog - it was very enlightening. You've got a lot of useful info on there about special education so I've bookmarked your site so I don't lose it. I'm doing a lot of research on special education exposed and have just started a new blog - I'd really appreciate your comments


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