Title: Workforce watch
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090862/00010
 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: VID00010
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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*r I

Diversifying the Special

Education Workforce

District Recruitment and Retention Strategies

The number of teachers from cultur-
ally and linguistically diverse back-
grounds is declining in the schools, while
demographics point to an increasingly
diverse student population. Consider
these facts:
SToday, only 14 percent of special edu-
cation teachers are from culturally and
dered linguistically diverse groups, compared
to 38 percent of their students.
egies to
rsity of the African American males comprise
only 0.4 percent of elementary spe-
faculty in cial education teachers and 2.3 per-
cent of secondary special education
Forty percent of schools nationwide
have no teachers from culturally and
linguistically diverse backgrounds on
their faculties.
Supply is insufficient to accommodate
the demands for a culturally and linguis-
tically diverse teaching faculty. Only 14
percent of candidates in special educa-
FEBRUARY2004 tion teacher preparation programs are
PB-10 from diverse backgrounds. The vast ma-
jority of institutions of higher education
S anticipate no change in the number of
candidates from diverse backgrounds in
their programs. Further, it is estimated
that only three of every four graduates of
ON PERSONNEL special education preparation programs
DIESINSPECIAL enter the workforce, with the number for

individuals from diverse backgrounds be-
ing lower than their White counterparts.
Attrition may or may not be a factor, as
evidence is often contradictory. While
generally teachers from culturally and lin-
guistically diverse backgrounds leave the
profession at high rates-with estimates
as high as 41 percent-some research
suggests that more than 80 percent of
special education teachers from diverse
backgrounds plan on staying. Attrition
tends to be higher in urban districts where
conditions can be more challenging.
These trends are expected to continue
well into the next decade. How can dis-
tricts recruit and retain sufficient numbers
of qualified special education teachers
with diverse backgrounds? Read on to
gain insights from the research.

Have You Considered Recruitment
and Retention Support
The literature points to a number of strat-
egies that have proven successful in re-
cruiting and retaining special education
teachers from diverse backgrounds.
Consider the following examples:
* Provide incentives. Low salary has
been shown to be an important vari-
able-both preventing teachers from

Have you consi
recruitment state
increase the dive
special education
your district?



diverse backgrounds from en-
tering teaching and encour-
aging their decision to leave.
As teacher shortages become
more pronounced, districts are
offering incentives to recruit

* Improve working conditions.
Incentives may not be enough
to keep teachers if working
conditions are unpleasant.
Work-related stress often arises
with paperwork burdens, child
behavior challenges, and lim-
ited opportunities for planning
with colleagues.

* Ensure administrative sup-
port. Personal job satisfac-
tion can have a positive effect
on teachers' decisions to stay
in the profession. Retention
of faculty and staff members
from diverse backgrounds is
greater with the presence of
leadership from similar back-

* Provide support to new
teachers. Inadequate prepa-
ration and the fact that new
hires often receive the most
difficult teaching assignments
contribute to the high attrition
rate observed during the first
few years of teaching.

Have You Considered
Alternative Certification?
What You Should Know
About It
One of the ways that some dis-
tricts have responded to the need
for teachers from diverse cultural
and linguistic backgrounds is
through alternative certification
routes. The intent is to fill class-
rooms with qualified personnel
and reduce the need for emer-
gency certificates.

One of the most encouraging
features of alternative certifica-

That Diversifying Your Teaching Faculty:
* Is the equitably correct thing to do?

* May result in fewer inappropriate referrals and placements of students
from diverse backgrounds?

* May increase academic achievement for students from diverse back-

* Can provide closer links between the school, home, and community?

* Can enhance multicultural communication skills of all children?

tion programs is their apparent
success in recruiting and certifying
significantly larger percentages
of candidates from diverse back-
grounds. Overall, alternatively
certified teachers represent about
10 percent of all newly certified
teachers-yet it is estimated that
about 40 percent of those indi-
viduals come from diverse back-

Several large urban districts that
experience extreme shortages of
certified teachers report success in
recruiting and certifying individu-
als from diverse backgrounds via
alternative certification programs.
For example, the Los Angeles Uni-
fied School District prepares 96
percent of all the alternative cer-
tification teachers in California,
which averages about 300 can-
didates annually. Approximately
one third of those individuals
come from diverse backgrounds,
compared to 13 percent from the
state university system.

Factors that may contribute to
the attractiveness of alternative
certification programs for candi-
dates from diverse backgrounds
* Convenient location of programs.
* Financial aid provided to can-

* Infusion of practical methods,
including intensive on-the-job
supervision and mentoring.

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,
PO. Box 117050, Gainesville, FL 32611
352-392-0701 (X283), www.copsse.org

Opnonsexpressed here
Sdo not necessarily reflect the
viewsof theUS Department
Xhr of Education

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