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Statewide Recruitment Underway for Special Ed Teachers

Date: July 20, 2001
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: General News

The demand for special education teachers is at a crisis level as classrooms become more diverse, Baby Boomers retire, and teachers struggle with burnout under increased demands and limited resources. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 600,000 additional special education teachers will be needed for the nation's classrooms by the year 2008.

As a result, a national nonprofit professional organization is launching a federally funded recruiting project in nine states, including Ohio, and the District of Columbia. The states were selected, based on the severity of their teacher shortages. The University of Cincinnati is one of 17 Ohio colleges and universities that prepare special education teachers, and UC is supporting the pilot project to attract more professionals into the field.

The recruitment effort includes a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) produced by the National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education (NCPSE). Roberta Truax, coordinator of the special education program at the University of Cincinnati, says the spots are not only aimed at the traditional aged student, but also at professionals who may be dissatisfied with their current career paths.

In addition to the television campaign, the project aims to create stronger links between state education departments, colleges and universities and school districts to combine resources for recruiting and retaining special education teachers.

The project in Ohio is receiving additional support on the state level. The State Superintendent's Task Force (SSTF) for Preparing Special Education Personnel has included a toll-free number in the PSAs that air in Ohio. The number is 888-868-1415.

Andrea Phillips, project coordinator for the Special Education Career Connection (SSTF), explains states were selected for the pilot project based on the need for teachers. "Last year, we had a shortage of about 900 special education teachers, and we're only accounting for vacancies there. That does not count teachers who are not fully certified but are working in classrooms."

Other states selected for the pilot project are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Oregon, and Texas.


 
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