Short-Term Strategies for Dealing With Shortages of Special Education Teachers
Schools and districts facing teacher shortages often have few options for filling vacant special education teacher positions. Although the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that special education teachers be fully licensed when beginning to teach, many special education teachers receive their certification through fast-track routes that do not fully prepare them with the knowledge and skills they need to be effective. Research has demonstrated that special education teachers who have gone through a full preparation program are more likely to provide effective instruction, increase student achievement, and remain in the classroom. However, when vacancies occur and fully-prepared special education teachers are not immediately available, what can schools and districts do to ensure that students are served and teachers are supported? This brief outlines short-term strategies that, when paired with long-term comprehensive strategies, can be employed to hire, prepare, and support teachers in schools and districts facing special education teacher shortage crises.