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Special Educator Shortage Requires ‘All Hands on Deck’

Jacqueline Rodriguez, Laurie VanderPloeg, and Kaitlyn Brennan talk about special educator shortages during the Council of Administrators of Special Education’s Special Education Legislative Summit on July 11, 2022, in Alexandria, Virginia.

This article originally appeared on K-12 Drive.

While the number of students needing special education services is expected to increase over the next few years, the number of special educators and specialized instructional support personnel are expected to decrease, according to speakers at Monday’s Special Education Legislative Summit, sponsored by the Council of Administrators of Special Education and Council for Exceptional Children.

Georgia State University Awarded State Department of Education Funding to Support Dyslexia Endorsement Programs

Georgia State University’s College of Education & Human Development received a $106,928 grant from the Georgia Department of Education to help teachers earn their dyslexia endorsement.

Georgia State is one of 14 universities and regional education service agencies to receive state funding, which can be used to cover tuition, fees and exam costs for teachers in dyslexia endorsement programs or to improve and expand those programs, according to the Department of Education’s website.

SFA Partners with Galena Park Independent School District for Paid Internships

Stephen F. Austin State University’s James I. Perkins College of Education has partnered with the Galena Park Independent School District to staff up to five paid internships during the 2022-23 academic year.

The program, which launches this fall, will let students use clinical teaching assignments to gain valuable classroom experience before entering the education workforce. While all teaching areas are available, GPISD particularly needs interns in early childhood through sixth grade, special education, bilingual education, math and English language arts.

Dept. of Education Sends Aid to Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

This week, the House Appropriations Committee has been busy marking up the first 6 of 12 government funding bills for FY2023. The process is expected to be almost, if not completely, partisan. In the upper chamber, the Senate Appropriations has not reached an agreement on how much to spend on defending and non-defense discretionary funding, ultimately delaying forward movement. 

Interactive STEM Camp at MSU offers Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Chance to Learn Physics, Consider College Options

(Photo by Grace Cockrell)

A group of young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder who are interested in science, technology and related fields are getting a new chance to learn about physics and other topics as part of an innovative camp at Mississippi State, which may be the country’s first of its kind.

MSU Assistant Professor of Physics Ben Crider is using a prestigious $600,000 National Science Foundation 2019 Career Grant to advance his nuclear physics research, which includes a highly interactive summer experience for students with autism that was delayed due to COVID-19.

Department of Education Solicits Public Input on Amending Section 504

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.  

After 45 years, the Department of Education has announced plans to update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Stay tuned for opportunities to provide feedback to stakeholders on what you would like to see. Take a read for more information on that and more below.

Department of Education Announces Plan to Update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Education announced plans to update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The forthcoming changes will mark the first update to the regulations in 45 years. The Department’s Section 504 regulations were the first set of regulations issued by the federal government that addressed the treatment of people with disabilities through a civil rights framework, rather than through solely a medical or vocational framework. Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public and private programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including schools and postsecondary institutions.

“While the world has undergone enormous changes since 1977, the Department’s Section 504 regulations have remained, with few exceptions, unaltered,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. “As we observe the 45th anniversary of these important regulations this month, it is time to start the process of updating them. Just as in 1977, the voices of people with disabilities must be heard and incorporated as we engage in that work.”

Washington Update: A Flurry of Activity on Capitol Hill

Capitol building Washington DC sunlight USA US congressThis weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.  

Congress may have been on recess for the past two weeks, but it certainly did not feel like that behind the scenes. There has been a flurry of activity surrounding the President’s FY2023 Budget Request. Education advocates are working diligently to get their appropriations requests to Members — hopeful to see historic increases for education funding making it across the finish line. 

The Debate over Student Loan Forgiveness Continues as the Department Cancels $238 Million in Debt for 28,000 Borrowers

On Thursday, President Biden confirmed  reports that he is considering canceling “some” amount of federal student loan debt. “I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” The President said in remarks at the White House. “I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction.”

Combatting Shortages of Educators Serving Students with Disabilities

AACTE will facilitate a webinar, “Educator Preparation Innovation: Creating Pathways to Strengthen Recruitment,” on Tuesday, April 19. The virtual session is part of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the CEEDAR Center 12-part webinar series focused on evidence-based strategies to strengthen and diversify the special education workforce.

According to multiple research studies, fully prepared teachers in special education are more effective and are more likely to remain in the teaching profession than are teachers who are not fully prepared. It is clear that public schools need fully prepared and credentialed special education teachers.

White House Unveils FY2023 Budget Proposal

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE. 

The White House in Washington DC with beautiful blue skyThe Biden-Harris Administration FY2023 Budget Proposal is here and again provides substantial increases for education funding. Your voices are being heard.

 Biden-Harris Administration Unveils FY2023 Budget Proposal

On Monday the White House unveiled the complete version of the Biden-Harris Administration’s full budget proposal for FY2023. The proposal comes just weeks after the President signed into law the $1.5 trillion FY2022 omnibus spending bill, avoiding a full year continuing resolution at the FY2021 levels.

The budget proposal calls for $88.3 billion in discretionary funding to the Department of Education- a $12.9 billion or 17% increase over the 2022 net enacted level.

You’re Invited: Complete a Needs Assessment on Technology in Educator Prep

The menu of the CIDDL website consists of Home, Resources, Events, and CIDDL Community. The message conveyed on the landing page is: Welcome to CIDDL. We are the Center for Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning (CIDDL), a national center to improve faculty capacity to use educational technology in special education, early intervention, related services preparation and leadership personnel preparation programs.

The Center of Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning (CIDDL) is seeking voices and inputs about innovative use of technology in teacher preparation programs from all AACTE members. 

CIDDL is the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)’s funded center focused on increasing the capacity of faculty to use educational technology in special education, early intervention, related services personnel preparation, and leadership personnel preparation programs.

Congressional Leaders Reach Agreement on Funding Levels

Urge Your Members of Congress to Maintain the Historic Education Funding Levels

Funding and development concept as a human hand giving or taking investment from a business pie chart made of mechanical gears and cog wheels as a financial backing symbol of investing support or charity donation to help a struggling company or person.Congress is one step closer to passing an FY22 appropriations bill which includes historic increases for education funding. Now is the time to urge your Members of Congress to maintain the proposed levels in the House passed education funding bill in the final appropriations package. Voices from the field are imperative to garnering the momentum to get this historic legislation across the finish line.

The House Passes a Short-Term Spending Patch and Congressional Leadership Reaches Agreement on Funding Levels

This week Congress made significant strides towards passing an FY22 appropriations bill that will fund the government through the fall. On Tuesday evening the House voted 272-162 to pass a stopgap funding stopgap funding bill that will keep the government running when the Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on February 18.  The Senate is expected to take up the measure that will keep the government funded through March 11 in the coming week.

Washington Update: A Focus on Children with Disabilities

Portrait of cute girl sitting in wheelchair against close up of a bookshelfThis weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.   

While it feels like there has been sand in the gears surrounding movement on FY22 appropriations and the Build Back Better Act- Congress may be on a path to more forward movement in the coming weeks. We expect there could be movement in the House next week to address the Continuing Resolution (CR) which expires on February 18th. Now is the time for advocates to be at the table expressing the critical need for the proposed historic investments in education funding. 

Honoring a Driving Force in Education Advocacy – Jane West Retires from AACTE

In commemoration of her retirement, AACTE sat down with Jane West, Ph.D., former AACTE senior vice president and current senior consultant, for a candid interview about her life, career, and the change she has inspired within education and educator preparation.

Jane West’s career illustrates her passion for education and her pursuit to ensure equitable access for all students. This commitment may be written into the very fabric of her DNA, as she was inspired early in her childhood through her mother’s example. An incredible advocate in her own right, her mother was the youngest of 10 children from a small town in North Carolina and earned a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1936. Her mother’s principal belief that public education is an essential core aspect of our society had a profound impact on West. This belief sparked the beginning of her efforts in both advocacy and education.

Resource to Prepare, Retain High Quality Special and General Educators

A Framework for Change: Investing ESSER Funds to Prepare and Support Teachers of Students With Disabilities. AACTE joined the Educating All Learners Alliance (EALA) in 2020 as the pandemic gave rise to the growing challenges to teaching students with learning differences online. The Alliance steadfastly supports PK-20 students through resource development, including the newest resource: A Framework for Change: Investing ESSER Funds to Prepare and Support Teachers of Students With Disabilities

This resource was developed by EALA partners to give an overview of strategies for preparing and developing highly qualified general and special education teachers. It will show how states and districts can invest Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to address the current and growing need for educators to support students with disabilities and their peers. It shares data and research on both current challenges and recommended strategies and outlines recommended actions for states, districts, and educator preparation programs.

Attend Session Two: Strategies to Teach Students with Different Life Experience than Yours

GSoLEN and AACTE Webinar On Teaching Diverse Learners, Session 2The current demographics in the United States public school workforce are not representative of all students in American classroom settings. Though American classroom settings continue to grow in diversity, the teaching workforce remains predominantly white, middle class, and female. These racial inequalities in classroom settings may lead to biases, stereotype threats, and a need for more inclusive environments, thereby impacting student experiences in school settings in areas such as grades, disciplinary referrals, and teacher expectations of students. Across the field of education, stakeholders, including AACTE, are attempting to diversify the field in an attempt to improve the ability of our current teaching workforce to support their students who have different experiences from their own. In an era where, in the United States, our classrooms have never been more diverse with students from multiple cultures, socio-economic levels, and students with disabilities, how can we best prepare teachers to support all students in classroom settings?

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