Hot tip for special ed students who want to excel academically -- steer clear of special ed teachers
06/16/2011A paper on districts' special education services shepherded to press by Rick Hess in AEI's Future of American Education Project and featured in Hess' blog leaves little question about the veracity of the title that "Something Has Got to Change." Author Nathan Levenson — with a great track record for both cost- and instructionally-effective reforms in his district management work — paints a nightmarish picture of special ed mismanagement on too many levels to count. Boiling down his recommendations on increasing the achievement of students in special ed, he advises that they actually need to steer clear of special ed teachers! That's because special ed teachers are weak in content and reading instruction, the latter being the area in which most special ed students need the most help. What a sad commentary on the professional capacity of special ed teachers — but the deficiencies in their preparation is evident in NCTQ's reviews of teacher preparation programs. Our recent review of 23 special ed teacher preparation programs in Illinois found only one (4 percent) required adequate content preparation and only six (26 percent) required adequate preparation in reading.