More than 7.5 million American students have disabilities that qualify them for individual education plans. But teachers trained in this critical area are in short supply. Special education teachers and administrators share how the shortage is affecting them, and John Yang speaks with Kimber Wilkerson, professor of special education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to learn more
WILKERSON: Schools in states have been sort of forced to be as creative as possible. In some cases, they're making it easier to become a special educator or a teacher. I don't personally think those are the best solutions because what it tends to do is bring in people who are less qualified and that less quality of preparation makes them burnout even faster and provide more poor quality services to kids.
But there are some really creative solutions in terms of trying to provide supports to career changers or people who work in schools already. Some of these are called grow your own programs, where they might take special education paraprofessionals and provide them with the education that they need to be certified. And these are individuals who've already been working with students with disabilities and already have kind of a commitment to that school community.