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California special ed teachers cite staff shortages, lack of support

“We’re doing everything they ask of us and we still don’t get answers; we still don’t get the support.”

So says one California special education teacher employed at a facility in the San Diego Unified School District.

Her comment concerning the material lack of resources available to help her do her job in a classroom of 20 special ed students is obviously concerning.

In fact, it is rendered flatly alarming by this additional point: It is far from an isolated observation.

Here’s something noteworthy for any individual duly concerned with California’s special ed sphere and programs to consider. It comes via the following point stressed by state regulators. The California Teaching Commission reports that more emergency (interim and partial) credentials were issued in the special education realm during a recent year than were actual teaching credentials.

The bottom line concerning that spotlights a reality where California classrooms filled with special ed students are often overseen by teachers in need of additional training and experience.

And when fully credentialed professionals are on the job and fully engaged, they are often feeling overwhelmed by a glaring shortage of help. The teacher quoted above adds that it’s hard to routinely manage her classroom because “you’re basically putting out the fires as they start each day.”

Her lament is firmly reinforced by relevant research indicating that her school district is currently trying to fill job vacancies for about 100 special ed aides who are badly needed to support teachers’ efforts.

State and federal laws mandate that special education students in California have full and unfettered access to a meaningful education. Factors that undermine that salutary goal need to be identified and eliminated.

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