Alternative-Routes Story ‘Missed the Boat’

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To the Editor:

The article "Alternative Routes for Spec. Ed. Teachers Relieving Shortages Worsened by NCLB" (May 3, 2006) did not meet your usual high standard for incisive reporting. Although it revealed the use of alternative-certification routes in special education, this avenue existed before the enactment of the federal No Child Left Behind Act and has not been subject to a newsworthy increase in activity as a result of that law.

The article missed an opportunity to examine one or more of the major effects of the No Child Left Behind law and of the intersecting “highly qualified teacher” provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act on special education staffing. For example, it did not mention the requirement that special education teachers become highly qualified in those core academic subjects they teach in addition to special education. Similarly, it did not address the two limited partial exceptions in the IDEA.

No single news account could cover all the relevant requirements, much less their effects on the shortage of special education teachers, but this piece entirely missed the boat.

Perry A. Zirkel
Professor of Education and Law
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, Pa.

Vol. 25, Issue 37, Page 32

Published in Print: May 17, 2006, as Alternative-Routes Story ‘Missed the Boat’

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