The shortage of K-12 special education teachers stems in part from an ongoing dearth of college faculty members to train them, according to a report that predicts the shortage of college-level special educators could grow worse.
Four years of study by the Special Education Faculty Needs Assessment project found that the demand for special education professors continues to outstrip the supply. During the next five years, institutions of higher education that grant doctoral degrees in special education will lose one-half to two-thirds of their faculty members to retirement alone, research effort found.
To expand the pipeline into the field, the researchers’ recommendations include: increasing federal support for doctoral studies in special education so that students can pursue their degrees full time; providing more support from universities and the federal government for blended teacher-preparation programs that allow teacher-candidates to earn their degrees and teaching credentials at the same time; and recruiting culturally and linguistically diverse doctoral students interested in becoming faculty members.
The project is a federally funded effort involving researchers from three universities.
A version of this article appeared in the October 05, 2011 edition of Education Week as Special Education Faculty