Title: Workforce watch
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090862/00016
 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: VID00016
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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PB-16 ( PDF )

Full Text



An Insufficient Supply and a

Growing Demand for Qualified

Special Education Personnel

What State Policymakers Should Know

Federal law provides that school dis-
tricts utilize appropriately prepared
individuals to provide special educa-
tion and related services to students
With disabilities, and that states ensure
an adequate supply of qualified per-
serve the sonnel. However, nationwide, there is
serve the
a growing shortage of qualified special
with education teachers, related services per-
high sonnel, paraprofessionals, and special
education administrators. Further, while
rtsupply- demographics point to an increasingly
Sto ensure diverse student population, in all person-
nel areas, the number of individuals from
culturally and linguistically diverse back-
grounds is declining.
Shortages can affect the quality of edu-
cation and services, making retention
and recruitment of certified and quali-
fied personnel in special education an
increasing challenge for state policymak-
ers. Are you prepared to ensure a quali-
FEBRUARY2004 field special education workforce? Read
PB-16 on to gain insights from the research.

Are You Prepared for Shortages
of Special Education Teachers?
There is a severe, chronic shortage of
special education teachers. Some 98
ON PERSONNEL percent of the nation's school districts re-
EDUCATION port shortages of qualified special edu-

cation teachers. During the 2000-2001
school year, approximately 47,500 spe-
cial education positions were filled by
uncertified personnel-a 23 percent in-
crease from the previous year. The prob-
lem is equally challenging in low inci-
dence areas-teachers of students who
are deaf or hard of hearing and teach-
ers of students with visual impairments-
where shortages have resulted in many
students receiving limited service, too of-
ten from individuals without appropriate
certification or licensure.
Some states and districts may be hit
harder by shortages than others. For ex-
ample, shortages vary:
* By state-with some states reporting
that more than 20 percent of special
education teaching positions are filled
by noncertified individuals.
* Within state-with high poverty, ur-
ban areas reporting the highest turn-
over rates and unfilled openings.
* By job description-with the area of
emotional disturbance experiencing
the greatest need nationally. [Note:
All areas of disability show shortages.]
* By diversity of teaching staff-with
estimates ranging from a five to a
12 percent diversity rate among the

- Personnel who
needs of students
disabilities are in
demand and sho
Are you prepared
a quality special



teaching force in the coming
years (2005 2009), com-
pared to 40 percent of the stu-
dent population.

Are You Prepared for
Shortages of Related
Service Providers?
There have been and continue to
be shortages of qualified school-
based related service providers.
Consider these facts:
* In 1997-1998, the overall va-
cancy rate for physical therapy
positions was seven percent
for children six through 21
years of age, and two percent
for children three through five
years of age.
* During the next five years, the
demand for occupational ther-
apists is expected to increase
by as much as 35 percent.
* Between 2000 and 2010,
more than 34,000 addition-
al speech-language pathol-
ogists will be required to fill
demands, bringing the to-
tal vacancies to an estimated
* Currently, there is one edu-
cational audiologist for every
71,555 students-a significant
departure from the one for ev-
ery 10,000 to 12,000 children
currently recommended by the
American Speech-Language-
Hearing Association and many
state licensing agencies.

Supply has not kept pace with
shortages. Traditionally, few relat-
ed service providers have sought
employment in schools. There are
a variety of reasons why this is
so, the most common being that
few have an interest and/or spe-
cialized training in school-based
treatment. Moreover, salaries typi-
cally are much higher in the pri-
vate sector (e.g., hospitals).

Are You Prepared
for Shortages of
As school districts increasingly rely
on paraprofessionals to assist with
instructional and learning tasks,
the issue becomes one of quan-
tity-ensuring an adequate sup-
ply-as well as quality-making
sure that those paraprofession-
als who are employed are quali-
fied. Demand has increased sig-
nificantly and may be even more
acute in school districts that have
turned to paraprofessionals to
help address needs related to:
* Continuing efforts to include
students with disabilities in the
general education classroom
and the community.

* A growing need for related
services for students.

* Increasing numbers of students
from diverse cultural and lin-
guistic backgrounds.

Further, shortages of paraprofes-
sionals are being noted in some
rural areas, as well as in spe-
cialized areas such as assisting
students in transition programs,
working with students with autism,
helping students from culturally
and linguistically diverse back-
grounds, and providing positive
behavioral support to students
with emotional and behavioral

Are You Prepared for
Shortages of Special
Education Administrators?
The present number of unfilled
special education administrator
positions nationwide indicates
that districts are experiencing a
shortage. Further, it is estimated
that more than 20 percent of dis-
trict-based special education ad-

ministrators are not fully certified.

Fewer than one percent of all ad-
ministration graduates with mas-
ter's or doctoral degrees special-
ize in special education adminis-
tration. If these trends continue, a
significant number of special edu-
cation administrator positions will
remain open in the coming years,
because there will not be enough
qualified candidates to fill them.

For More Information
This policy brief summarizes in-
formation found in other COPSSE
policy briefs (PB-3, PB-4, PB-5,
PB-10, PB-18, PB-19, and PB-
21). These policy briefs are based
on COPSSE papers that contain
in-depth information regarding
supply and demand, as well
as offer recommendations that
school districts may undertake to
improve recruitment and retention
efforts. The documents can be
found on the COPSSE web site at

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

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