2007/08 Support Budget

Budget Challenges

Special Education Teachers Initiative, $1.2 Million

Professor and students in a classroomCalifornia has a critical shortage of special education teachers needed to teach the 640,000 students who are entitled to services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The demand for credentialed special education teachers in California has grown steadily over the last decade, in part because the No Child Left Behind program requires that all special needs students be taught by specially qualified teachers.

In 2004/05, school districts around the state attempted to recruit approximately 4,000 new special education teachers. Unfortunately, the total number of new special education teachers produced in the state that year was approximately 2,800. Filling this gap requires a statewide increase in the production of special education teacher credential candidates of approximately 40 percent.

In spring 2006, the U.S. Department of Education reviewed plans from each state to meet their special education needs. The review of Californiaís plan identified a number of deficiencies, most notably a shortage of credentialed special education teachers and economic disparities between districts. Failing to fulfill program requirements or demonstrate significant progress could have severe consequences for the state. In particular, California and its school districts could lose federal funding under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and IDEA, and be subject to noncompliance lawsuits.

The state must assume most of the responsibility for increasing special education teacher production because school districts cannot meet the need on their own. District special education internship programs produced only 15 credentialed teachers in 2003/04 and 16 in 2004/05. CSU campuses currently prepare approximately 1,860 special education teachers per year, which is about two-thirds of all the special education teachers prepared in California. Therefore, the CSU is uniquely positioned to increase the production of special education teacher candidates by leveraging its existing program resources.

This supplemental funding request of $1.2 million will allow the CSU to expand its production of new special education teachers by 6 percent to 10 percent in 2007/08 and annually thereafter for the next decade. This range reflects a minimum increase of 6 percent annually. However, depending on a range of factors in K-12 education, the increase is projected to be in the range of 6 percent to 10 percent annually.

Specifically, the supplemental funding provided by the state will enable the CSU to begin a four-pronged growth plan that will contribute markedly to fulfilling special education teacher needs in California.

  • Pathways to Special Education for Undergraduates: CSU students will be enabled to begin planning for and earning a credential during their undergraduate coursework. Rather than the traditional pattern of waiting until completion of the baccalaureate degree for selection of this career choice, the approach features early recruitment into special education, beginning at the freshman level.
  • Articulated Programs with Community Colleges: Community college transfer students will be able to participate in articulated 2+2+1 programs that lead to a bachelorís degree and a special education teaching credential in a continuous and fully articulated program. This approach again features recruitment early in the studentís college experience and student advisement to create an efficient path to the baccalaureate degree and credential.
  • Credential Pathways for Paraprofessionals: Campuses will enroll new populations of students, with a special focus on paraprofessionals and aides in the special education field. Pilot programs have demonstrated that this is a particularly promising group for recruiting into special education teaching positions.
  • Highly Supported Internship Programs: As a result of the significant shortage of special education teachers, many students obtain teaching positions as interns and complete their credential while working full time. Despite the apparent attractiveness of such positions, the well-understood demands of teaching special needs students have historically limited the numbers of interested candidates. The program will include enhanced support and supervision for intern teachers to foster success.
Special Education Teachers Initiative
Special Education Program Components

  FY 2007/08 and ongoing
Campus Special Education Credential Pathways  
  Undergraduate pathways $200,000
  Articulated community college programs $200,000
  Paraprofessional and aide pathway $200,000
  Highly supported internship programs $200,000
    Subtotal $800,000
Comprehensive Recruitment  
  Recruitment workshops, seminars $160,000
  Public information campaign $35,000
  Website development and maintenance $10,000
    Subtotal $205,000
Systemwide Program Development  
  Recruitment/marketing materials (brochures, etc.) $15,000
  Online learning resources $100,000
  Facilitating access to loan cancellation programs $10,000
    Subtotal $125,000
Program Management  
  Statewide director, clerical assistance $60,000
  Statewide conferences, meetings $4,000
  Supplies and expenses $6,000
    Subtotal $70,000

Content Contact:
Budget Development
Chris Canfield
(562) 951-4560
Technical Contact:

Last Updated: February 05, 2007