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Steven A. Greenburg, Education Law
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Santa Cruz, CA 95060-4567

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Teacher shortages and special education

It is critical for children with disabilities to get the special education services they need. Unfortunately, there are various things that can create challenges on this front. One is teacher shortages. A school not being able to get as many teachers as it needs, especially special education teachers, could potentially cut down on the support and opportunities special needs students have access to.

Unfortunately, a teacher shortage is exactly what the U.S. currently appears to be facing. A recent study estimated that, last year, the U.S. was around 60,000 teachers short. What is additionally discouraging from a special education perspective is that special education is one of the areas being hit particularly hard by the current shortage.

Why is this shortage happening? A drop in people entering teaching, a high level of teachers leaving the field and an increase in the demand for teachers are among the factors being pointed to.

The shortage might intensify in upcoming years. For example, a co-author of the study said that, by 2018, America could have over 100,000 fewer teachers than it needs.

How big of a challenge do you think this shortage poses for special education here in California?

It is crucial for schools to take appropriate measures to ensure that any special education challenges they end up facing do not end up depriving special needs students of the education they deserve. What steps for ensuring high-quality special education services would you like to see California schools take in response to the teacher shortage?

Source: The Washington Post, “America has a teacher shortage, and a new study says it’s getting worse,” Joe Heim, Sept. 14, 2016

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