Special Education

Teacher Training Focus of Grants

By Christina A. Samuels — August 12, 2008 1 min read

The U.S. Department of Education has given grants to 20 universities to revamp their special education teacher-preparation programs, a step the department says is key to increasing the numbers of highly qualified teachers.

The grants, announced last month, are the first of what will be five-year projects at the chosen universities. The teacher-training programs should be making changes as soon as this fall for teacher-candidates, say representatives of the universities involved.

“We consistently hear from state, local, and higher education officials that personnel-preparation programs for special education teachers should be restructured or redesigned for graduates of those programs to meet the highly qualified teacher requirements in the [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act],” Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in a statement.

The “highly qualified” standards, as outlined in the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, require that special education teachers, in addition to having knowledge about creating lessons for children with special needs, must also in some cases have academic-subject knowledge. The standard has been a difficult one for some teachers to meet, because many teacher-training programs for special educators focus primarily on teaching methods.

The Education Department said the universities are to upgrade their programs with “research-proven strategies” that will help teachers work with students who have “high-incidence disabilities,” such as mental retardation and learning disabilities.

Colleen Thoma, an associate professor of education at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, said her university will be using its initial grant of about $110,000 to make sure teacher-candidates have a fundamental knowledge of evidence-based practices, among other projects.

“We’re hoping to offer these classes, not just to pre-service teachers, but to teachers who are already in the field,” Ms. Thoma said.

A version of this article appeared in the August 13, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education Opinion Five Teacher-Recommended Strategies to Support Students With Learning Differences
Four educators share strategies for supporting students with learning differences, including utilizing "wait time" and relationship building.
11 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Special Education The Pandemic Made It Harder to Spot Students With Disabilities. Now Schools Must Catch Up
After more than a year of disruption for all students, the pressure's on to find those in need of special education and provide services.
13 min read
Aikin listens to her eight-year-old son, Carter, as he reads in the family’s home in Katy, TX, on Thursday, July 8, 2021. Carter has dyslexia and Aikin could not help but smile at the improvement in his fluency as he read out loud.
Kanisha Aikin listens to her 8-year-old son, Carter, who has dyslexia, as he reads aloud in the family’s home in Katy, Texas.
Annie Mulligan for Education Week
Special Education What Employers Can Teach Schools About Neurodiversity
The benefits of neurodiversity have gained traction in business, but college and career support for students with disabilities falls short.
8 min read
Special Education The Challenge of Teaching Students With Visual Disabilities From Afar
Teachers of students with visual disabilities struggle to provide 3-D instruction in a two-dimensional remote learning environment.
Katie Livingstone
5 min read
Neal McKenzie
Neal McKenzie, an assistive technology specialist, works with a student who has a visual impairment in Sonoma County, Calif.<br/>
Courtesy Photo