Title: Workforce watch
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090862/00009
 Material Information
Title: Workforce watch
Series Title: Workforce watch
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Publisher: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: February 2004
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090862
Volume ID: VID00009
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Diversifying the Special

Education Workforce

It Starts with Recruitment into Teacher Preparation

Recruiting and retaining teachers from
culturally and linguistically diverse
backgrounds continues to be a national
concern. And, there is good reason for
that concern. The number of teachers
from culturally and linguistically diverse
backgrounds is declining, while demo-
graphics point to an increasingly diverse
,m diverse
student population. Today, only 14 per-
jistic cent of special education teachers are
er from diverse backgrounds, compared to
38 percent of their students.
Supply is insufficient to accommodate
rams-Have the demand for a diverse teaching fac-
rategies to ulty. Only 14 percent of candidates in
ent? special education teacher preparation
programs are from diverse backgrounds.
Further, the vast majority of teacher prep-
aration programs anticipate no change
in the number of candidates from diverse
backgrounds in their programs.
This trend is expected to continue well
into the next decade unless something
FEBRUARY2004 can be done to address the challenges
PB-9 faced by individuals from culturally and
linguistically diverse backgrounds as they
attempt to enter the special education
workforce. And the effort to produce suf-
ficient numbers of qualified candidates to
fill shortages begins in special education
ON PERSONNEL teacher preparation programs.


Have you considered strategies that
might increase recruitment and retention
of individuals from diverse cultural and
linguistic backgrounds in special educa-
tion teacher preparation programs? Read
on to gain insights from the research.

Have You Considered the
Challenges Associated with
Entering Teacher Education
An understanding of the factors that act
as deterrents to entering teacher educa-
tion programs may provide insights into
what might be done to help individuals
from diverse backgrounds address chal-
lenges-both in pursuing higher educa-
tion and in doing well once they are en-
rolled. Factors include:
* Effects of poverty. More than two-
thirds of those living in poverty are
from diverse backgrounds. Living in
poverty can adversely affect one's
education and preclude one's entry
into a teacher education program.
Schools in communities with high
rates of poverty are more likely to ex-
perience shortages of qualified teach-
ers, which can result in inadequate
academic preparation of students.
* Lack of financial assistance. High-
er tuition costs, coupled with fewer

Few students frc
cultural and lingu
backgrounds ent
special education
preparation prog
you considered st
increase recruitm



available federal grants, have
made a college education un-
affordable for many students.

Test requirements. With the
exception of Asian Americans,
students from diverse back-
grounds generally tend to
achieve lower scores on un-
dergraduate and graduate en-
trance exams than their Cau-
casian counterparts. Further,
many students from diverse
backgrounds are screened
from the profession by their
scores on certification exams.

Many individuals from cultural-
ly and linguistically diverse back-
grounds are discouraged by fam-

Forty percent
of schools na-
tionwide have no
teachers from di-
verse cultural and
linguistic back-
grounds on their

ily members and
friends from se-
lecting teaching
as a career. The
benefits of di-
versity have be-
come appreciat-
ed by other pro-
fessions that of-
fer prospective
candidates more
perceived pres-

tige and greater financial rewards.

Have You Considered
Recruitment and Retention
Support Strategies?
The literature points to a num-
ber of strategies that have proven
to be successful in recruiting and
retaining students from diverse
backgrounds to preparation pro-
grams. Consider these examples:
* Initiate early opportunities
to learn about teaching. Re-
cruit students early (e.g., high
school) when their initial inter-
est is strong.
* Provide financial assistance.
Financial supports (e.g., fel-
lowships, stipends, contin-
gency funds) are helpful. So

too are financial arrangements
forged with school districts that
provide paid internships.

* Cultivate word-of-mouth
recruitment techniques.
One-on-one interactions
with prospective students can
provide the best recruitment
opportunities. Recruiting
methods should be directed to
students, graduates, and fac-
ulty from diverse backgrounds.
Examples include campus visits
for students and parents, a
toll-free telephone number for
questions, exposure to teacher
preparation programs, media
campaigns, speakers bureaus,
published success stories,
passes or tickets to college
activities and resources, and
promotion of campus features
(e.g., organizations for diverse

* Make test preparation
courses available. Instruc-
tion that focuses on test-tak-
ing skills has been used to
increase recruitment and re-
tention. Courses focused on
preparation for college en-
trance exams and state teach-
er licensing exams have been
successful in increasing exam
pass rates.

* Offer academic support. In
addition to a supportive cam-
pus and classroom environ-
ment, strategies used to assist
students include study skills
seminars, assistantships, stu-
dent advising and tutorial pro-
grams, special labs, and test-
taking workshops. Students
also may benefit from pro-
grams that provide assessment
and support in reading skills,
writing skills, and English lan-
guage proficiency.

* Review materials and courses.
Textbooks, instructional materi-
als, and syllabi should be free

of bias. They should also por-
tray positive images of diverse
cultural groups.

Ensure role models. A sig-
nificant predictor of enrollment
and graduation is the presence
of faculty from diverse back-
grounds. Similarly, mentor pro-
grams in which students from
diverse backgrounds have the
opportunity to study with pro-
fessors who share a common
interest, and cohort programs
(i.e., being part of a group
that proceeds through the pro-
gram together) have been suc-
cessful in retaining students.

For More Information

Information reported in this brief
was based on the COPSSE re-
search synthesis, Diversifying the
Special Education Workforce,
prepared by Naomi Tyler, Zina
Yzquierdo, Norma-Lopez-Reyna,
and Susan Saunders. This docu-
ment can be found on the COPSSE
web site at www.copsse.org.

The Center on Personnel Studies in Spe-
cial Education is funded by the Office of
Special Education Programs of the U.S.
Department of Education [cooperative
agreement #H325Q000002]. COPSSE
research is designed to inform scholars
and policymakers about beginning teach-
er quality, effective initial preparation, and
the effects of preparation alternatives. The
Center is directed by Drs. Paul Sindelar
and Mary Brownell. The policy briefs were
produced by Warger, Eavy & Associates.
University of Florida, 300 Norman Hall,
RO. Box 117050, Gainesville, FL 32611
352-392-0701 (X283), www.copsse.org

Opinionsexpressed here
do not necessarily reflect he
-7 views of the US Department
I,_-K of Education

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