Special Education Teacher Preparation, $1.2 Million
California has had a chronic shortage of special education teachers to teach the 640,000 students who are entitled to be served under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The demand for credentialed special education teachers in California has grown steadily larger over the last decade, in part because No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires that all special needs students be taught by highly qualified teachers.
California prepares approximately 3,350 new special education teachers annually and requires an increase of at least 60 percent above this level to meet current districts' hiring needs. Projected retirements and attrition increase substantially the need for boosting the number of new special education teachers. The CSU prepares approximately 1,835 or 55 percent of these teachers annually. Expansion of the CSU program will assist significantly in reducing shortages.
Meeting the shortage of special education teachers necessitates building additional credential pathways. Adverse effects of not addressing the need are significant. California and its school districts can lose federal funding under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and IDEA if sufficient highly qualified teachers are not available, and lawsuits can be filed against the state and districts.
This supplemental funding request of $1.2 million will allow the CSU to increase recruitment and preparation of special education teachers by 10 percent in 2009/10 and by 10 percent increments annually thereafter over the next decade. Funding includes $880,000 for development and implementation of new and expanded campus special education credential pathways, $160,000 for campus comprehensive recruitment and financial aid workshops, and $160,000 for statewide recruitment and management. The CSU will focus on increased placement of new teachers in high-poverty, high-minority districts, both of which need focused attention in order to meet federal requirements.