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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Reforming Credentialing in CA Special Ed

In The Politics of Autism, I write about special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Carolyn Jones at EdSource:

Last month, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing approved the latest in more than a dozen changes to the requirements for credentialing aspiring special education teachers.

With a focus on co-teaching and collaboration between special education and their general education colleagues, the changes are intended to boost achievement among students of all abilities.

Even though the landmark federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, approved by Congress 45 years ago, requires special education students to be taught in general education classes — or “mainstreamed” — whenever feasible, that has not happened to the extent that backers of the law envisioned.


According to the Learning Policy Institute, only 13% of students in special education met or exceeded the state’s math standards in 2018-19, compared to 43% of their peers, even though the majority of students in special education have conditions such as dyslexia, epilepsy, deafness or speech impairments that don’t affect their cognitive abilities.


The new standards, slated to go into effect in 2022, are part of a series of changes the credentialing commission launched in February 2018 in the requirements to earn the “education specialist” credential needed to teach special education students. Once implemented, these reforms would cap more than five years of work by the commission.

A primary goal of the new standards is to improve working conditions for special education teachers, who have among the highest turnover rates in education. More than 20% of special education teachers in California quit over the course of a single year (between 2015-16 and 2016-17), according to a recent report by the Learning Policy Institute.