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AACTE to form Special Education Networked Improvement Community (NIC)

AACTE will launch a Networked Improvement Community focused on Special Education Teacher Recruitment and Retention in May of 2019. The NIC will investigate strategies to address the persistent shortages in the field of special education.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia report special education teacher shortages. However, special education teacher shortages are not evenly distributed across the country. Generally, high poverty areas—both urban and rural—are most likely to experience the most severe teacher shortages, including those in special education. States vary in the degree of shortage they experience.

The most significant impact of the special education teaching shortage is the curtailed access to learning for students with disabilities. Multiple research studies indicate that fully prepared teachers in special education are more effective than those who are not fully prepared and are more likely to remain in teaching than those prepared in fast-track routes. 

The aim of this NIC is to decrease the shortage of special education teachers by increasing fully prepared, fully credentialed diverse special educators who teach in public schools. Ten preparation programs in higher education will participate in this NIC and implement a range of strategies that will positively impact the special education teacher shortage.

Stay tuned! A Request for Application to participate in the NIC will be issued in early March 2019 to AACTE member institutions. Institutions must apply by April 1, 2019 and will be selected through a structured review process and will be notified late April of 2019. The NIC participants will convene in 2019 and culminate their work in 2022.

For more information please contact: me at jrodriguez@aacte.org.

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Jacqueline Rodriguez

Jacqueline Rodriguez

Vice President, Research, Policy, and Advocacy, AACTE