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Meeting the need for highly qualified, effective special education teachers: The current context James McLeskey University of Florida OSEP Project Directors’

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Presentation on theme: "Meeting the need for highly qualified, effective special education teachers: The current context James McLeskey University of Florida OSEP Project Directors’"— Presentation transcript:

1 Meeting the need for highly qualified, effective special education teachers: The current context James McLeskey University of Florida OSEP Project Directors’ Conference Washington, DC July, 2007

2 What is a ‘highly qualified’ teacher?  NCLB Bachelor’s degree Content knowledge Certification

3 What is a ‘highly qualified’, effective teacher?  Some research to support Certification Content knowledge Rigorous preparation regarding how to teach content (Brownell et al., 2007; Darling-Hammond, 2000; Darling-Hammond & Youngs, 2002; Nougaret, Scruggs, & Mastropieri, 2005; Walsh, 2001; Wilson, et al., 2001; Wilson & Floden, 2003).

4 How severe is the shortage of well prepared teachers?  The shortage of well prepared special education teachers is severe, chronic, and has persisted for at least 20 years (Boe & Cook, 2006; McLeskey, Tyler, & Flippin, 2004). Six of the eight areas with a “considerable” teacher shortage nationally are in special education. The other considerable shortage areas are physics and mathematics (AAEE, 2005).

5 How severe is the shortage? More than 10% of special education teachers (about 45,000) were not certified in (U.S. Department of Education, 2007). Shortages are more extensive in some settings than others (e.g., high poverty schools). Shortages are more extensive in highly specialized areas (#1 shortage--Severe Disabilities; #3 E/BD (AAEE, 2005))

6 How severe is the shortage?  Most special education secondary level teachers (82-99%) lack the necessary content area knowledge to teach secondary content areas (i.e., English, science, mathematics, social studies) (Boe & Borush, 2004).

7 Why the shortage? Attrition  Attrition--from (Boe, Cook, & Sunderland, 2005; Boe & Cook, 2006) About 1 in 5 SPE teachers leave each year (exit teaching or transfer to general education) About 1 in 10 transfer to another school (but stay in special education) About 25% of attrition is preventable

8 Why the shortage? Supply  Teacher Supply (Cook & Boe, 2007) Demand for entering teachers--29,000 per year (after transfers from general education) Supply from IHE approved programs--fills 1 in 4 vacancies

9 What have NCLB and IDEA 2004 contributed?  AR to certification AR programs now in 35 states Completers of AR are increasing significantly (e.g., about 50% of supply in Florida for ) Number of uncertified SPE teachers dropped from 49,000 in to 45,000 in (Cook & Boe, 2007; Rosenberg, et al., 2007; U.S. Department of Education, 2007)

10 Have AR programs increased the quality of SPE teachers?  Quality of AR programs is mixed Some provide rigorous preparation and field experiences Some provide very little preparation prior to entering the classroom  Some evidence teachers are avoiding traditional programs, taking less demanding AR to certification  Some “no program, programs”. Pass a test for certification in SPE (Cook & Boe, 2007; Rosenberg, et al., 2007).

11 Have AR programs decreased the cost of preparation?  Darling-Hammond (2000) compared costs of (a) traditional bachelor’s degree programs, (b) 5th year Holmes-type programs, (c) Teach for America.  Considered attrition 3 years after program completion

12 Average Retention Rates

13 Average Costs/Completer and 3- Year Survivor Initial CostSurvivor Cost Bachelor’s*18,30043,800 5th year**24,40036,500 TFA***10,00045,900 * Based on NCES estimates of the average instructional FTE costs at public colleges and universities in 1996 dollars **Based on same NCES estimate for four years *** Based “on cost data from a number of programs” Adelman (1986) estimated the cost of alternative route preparation at $5,000 to which D-H added “3,000 to 5,000” for “administration, mentorship, and facilities.” The 1993 TFA Annual Report estimated cost per participant to be $12,000.

14 What have NCLB and IDEA 2004 contributed?  HOUSSE plans in most states to address shortage of HQ teachers in core academic subjects in secondary schools (Burdette, et al., 2005). Much variation. 37 states have single subject HOUSSE 20 have multi-subject HOUSSE  Does completion of a HOUSSE plan produce a teacher with a deep knowledge of content?

15 Facts about new special education teachers  Increasing numbers of teachers are entering the profession as ‘highly qualified’, but without extensive preparation or deep knowledge of subject matter content (McLeskey & Billingsley, 2007; McLeskey & Ross, 2004).

16 Facts about new special education teachers  Few special education teachers are being prepared to address highly specialized needs of students with disabilities, e.g., severe disabilities (#1 shortage area), E/BD (#3 shortage area) (AAEE, 2005).

17 Facts about general education teachers  Almost 80% of students with disabilities spend a substantial portion of the school day being educated by a general education teacher (U.S. Department of Education, 2007).  Most general education teachers are not prepared to address the needs of students with disabilities.

18 References American Association of Employment in Education (2005). Educator supply and demand in the United States: Full report of the 2004 data. Retrieved April, 2007 from Benner, A. D. (2000). The cost of teacher turnover. Austin, Texas: Texas Center for Educational Research. Boe, E., & Borush, R. (2004). Personal communication, January 22, Boe, E., & Cook, L. H. (2006). The chronic and increasing shortage of fully certified teachers in special and general education. Exceptional Children, 72(4) Boe, E., Cook, L. H., & Sunderland, R. J. (2005). Turnover of special education teachers: New research on the extent and impact of exit attrition, transfer to general education, and school transfer, 2005 OSEP Project Directors Conference. Washington, D.C. Brownell, M., et al. (2007). Teacher quality in special education: The role of domain expertise. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago. Burdette, P., Laflin, B., & Muller, E. (2005). HOUSSE: State approaches to supporting special educators to become “highly qualified”. Alexandria, VA: NASDSE. Cook, L., & Boe, E., (2007). From whence didst thou come? National trends in the sources of supply of teachers in special and general education. Teacher Education and Special Education, in press. Darling-Hammond, L., & Youngs, P. (2002). Defining "highly qualified teacher": What does "scientifically-based research" actually tell us? Educational Researcher, 31(9), Darling-Hammond, L. (2000a). Teacher quality and student achievement: A review of state policy evidence. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8(1),1-38. Darling-Hammond, L. (2000b). Solving the dilemmas of teacher supply, demand, and standards: How can we ensure a competent, caring, and qualified teacher for every child. New York: National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.

19 References McLeskey, J. & Billingsley, B. (2007). How does the quality and stability of the teaching force influence the research- to-practice gap? A perspective on the teacher shortage in special education. Remedial and Special Education, in press. McLeskey, J., & Ross, D. D. (2004). The politics of teacher education in the new millennium: Implications for special education teacher educators. Teacher Education and Special Education, 27(6), McLeskey, J., Tyler, N., & Flippin, S. S. (2004). The supply of and demand for special education teachers: A review of research regarding the nature of the chronic shortage of special education teachers. The Journal of Special Education, 38(1), Nougaret, A., Scruggs, T., & Mastropieri, M. (2005). Does teacher education produce better special education teachers? Exceptional Children, 71, Rosenberg, M., Boyer, L., Sindelar, P., & Misra, S. (2007). Alternate route programs for certification in special education: Program infrastructure, instructional delivery, and participant characteristics. Exceptional Children, 73(2), Walsh, K. (2001). Teacher certification reconsidered: Stumbling for quality. Baltimore, MD: Abell Foundation. Wilson, S., & Floden, R. (2003). Creating effective teachers: Concise answers for hard questions. Washington, DC: AACTE Publications. Wilson, S., Floden, R., & Ferrini-Mundy, J. (2001). Teacher preparation research: Current knowledge, gaps, and recommendations. Seattle, WA: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington. U.S. Department of Education (2007). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) data. Retrieved from April,


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