Facing the Special Education Teacher Shortage - What Can We Do?
In many districts, classroom size is doubled. IEP meetings are being postponed. Students with disabilities aren't getting the support they need.
The special education teacher shortage has reached crisis levels across the United States. In the 2021-22 school year, 48 states reported shortages to the federal government. An ongoing survey by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 65% of schools have vacant special education positions. Teacher prep programs are shutting down due to a lack of enrollment. We are facing a perfect storm.
So what can be done to weather this storm?
Districts are getting creative with what Jaime from Blazerworks calls a "3 year emergency plan" to get people certified quickly to fill classrooms. However, these new teachers desperately need mentoring and support to be effective. This is where innovative companies like BlazerWorks come in.
BlazerWorks provides coaching, mentoring, and support services tailored specifically for both new special education teachers and retaining current teachers. Their team of dedicated mentors help build skills, share knowledge, and provide encouragement. The goal is to drastically improve teacher retention rates so students have consistent support.
Just as importantly, BlazerWorks is working to increase the future teacher pipeline. They are getting the word out to high schools and colleges about the joys and rewards of special education careers. BlazerWorks highlights the incredible impact teachers have on students' lives.
ACTION STEP: When staff shortages are happening, communication is key between all stakeholders - parents, teachers, and administrators. We must collaborate and advocate for each other. Teachers, speak up about what support you need. Parents, keep asking questions and offering solutions. There are no easy fixes, but together we can weather this storm.
At the end of the day, we all want the same thing - for our students to have the education and support they need to reach their full potential.
Our collective persistence and pursuit of solutions will see us through. Failure is not an option. Children and families are depending on us.
Listen to the full podcast episode about teacher shortages and what we can do together ⬇️
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