The state should ensure that special education teachers know the subject matter they will be required to teach.
Commendably, Massachusetts does not offer a K-12 special education certification.
Massachusetts also appropriately requires its elementary special education teacher candidates to meet the same subject-matter requirements as other elementary education teacher candidates. As described in Goal 1-B, the state's policies for preparing elementary teachers in subject matter are excellent. Further, teacher candidates for elementary special education are required to pass the state's Foundations of Reading test and its General Curriculum test, which includes relevant topics in English, mathematics, history and social science, and science and technology/engineering.
Regrettably, Massachusetts fails to require that secondary special education teacher candidates are highly qualified in at least two subject areas, and it does not customize a HOUSSE route for new secondary special education teachers to help them achieve highly qualified status in all subjects they teach.
Code of Massachusetts Regulations 603 CMR 7.06 (25)
Ensure that secondary special education teacher candidates graduate with highly qualified status in at least two subjects, and customize a HOUSSE route so that they can achieve highly qualified status in all subjects they plan to teach.
To make secondary special education teacher candidates more flexible and better able to serve schools and students, Massachusetts should use a combination of coursework and testing to ensure that they graduate with highly qualified status in two core academic areas. A customized HOUSSE route can also help new secondary special education teacher candidates to become highly qualified in multiple subjects by offering efficient means by which they could gain broad overviews of specific areas of content knowledge, such as content-driven university courses. Such a route is specifically permitted in the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Massachusetts recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.