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The Push to Get More Teachers of Color in Special Education Classrooms

Teacher of color working with two students

The excerpt below is taken from an article originally published in Ed Week and is reprinted with permission.

It’s a constant struggle for school districts across the country to find qualified special education teachers. An extra challenge: finding special educators of color to help meet the needs of a student population that can be disproportionately nonwhite.

Just over 82 percent of special education teachers in public schools are white, according to 2011-12 federal data, the most recent available. Meanwhile, only about half of students receiving special education services are white, according to 2017-18 data.

Yet teacher diversity matters: Decades of research has shown that students often perform better academically when they are taught by teachers of the same race.

“The special education field is really prime to recruit faculty of color,” said Jacqueline Rodriguez,

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