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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Teacher Training in California

Courtney Vaughn writes in the Hi-Desert Star:
A spike in the number of students diagnosed with autism is prompting changes in California schools. New requirements of special education teachers are sending some educators back to school.

In 2009, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing added an autism spectrum disorder authorization, meaning teachers who are credentialed to instruct students with mild to moderate disabilities must now undergo additional training before teaching autistic students. The added credential authorizations address a variety of disabilities aside from autism, like orthapedic impairement, emotional disturbance, traumatic brain injury and other conditions.

Teachers with credentials for moderate to severe disabilities were not asked to complete additional training.

While autism advocacy groups applaud the measure, some teachers say the added requirement is burdensome.

“It is very unmanagable; we do two jobs, but they’ve taken away our time, and now they’ve given me another class to teach and required me to go back to college,” Cora Heiser, a Twentynine Palms High School special education teacher, said Monday. “I’m gaining absolutely nothing from this except for keeping my same job.”