Archive for the ‘special_education’ Tag

The State of Special Education in U.S. High Schools

The Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center released a new report yesterday – Special Education in America: The state of students with disabilities in the nation’s high schools. In conjunction with its release, Education Week is hosting a monthlong series of online chats related to the findings of the report. The first in the series, The State of Special Education in the U.S., was held yesterday.

I wasn’t able to be present for the chat, but I did submit a question ahead of time. I checked out the transcript today and was delighted to discover that my question was addressed by one of the moderators, Patricia Guard, who is deputy director of the Office of Special Education Programs, the division of the U.S. Department of Education serving the needs of children and youth with disabilities. Here’s the exchange:

Question from Cynthia Curry, Technology Integration Mentor, Maine Learning Technology Initiative: What federally-supported strategies, policies, or resources are being implemented or considered to improve the skills and knowledge of general education teachers to meet the needs of students with diverse learning needs?
Patricia Guard:
This is a very important question. Over half (55%) of students with disabilities spend 80% or more of their school day in a regular classroom. Therefore, the knowledge and skills of both general and special education teachers are critically important to learning for these students. OSEP supports the improvement of the knowledge and skills of general education teachers to meet the needs of diverse learners in a number of ways, including training stipends, national centers and the development of state teacher licensure models for general and special educators. For example: • Nearly 1/4 (1,679) of all scholars (7,501) who entered OSEP-supported training grants in FY 2006 were from general education. These general educators were preparing to pursue a career in special education. • In 2001, the Council for Chief State School Officers’ OSEP-funded project, developed model state teacher licensure standards on what both general and special education teachers need to know and do to teach students with disabilities in their classroom. • OSEP support the IRIS Center, at , that provides free web-based training modules so that general education faculty and general educators, and others can learn evidence-based practices for teaching students with disabilities. • OSEP is co-funding the OESE-funded Comprehensive Center on Teacher Quality, which provides TA to State education agencies to support professional development for general education teachers to improve teacher quality for diverse learners in high needs schools.

I thought the reference to the IRIS Center’s trainings was particularly helpful. Here’s the schedule for the remaining chats (all at 3-4 pm):

11/10 Chat 2: Special Education and High School Reform

11/17 Chat 3: High School Completion and Transitions

11/24 Chat 4: Designing and Delivering High Quality Special Education