The state should ensure that special education teachers know the subject matter they will be required to teach.
Commendably, Vermont does not offer a K-12 special education certification.
However, although Vermont requires that elementary special education teacher candidates meet the same preparation requirements as all elementary candidates, it does not ensure that they have appropriate subject-matter knowledge relevant to the elementary classroom (see Goal 1-B). The state also does not require that elementary special education teacher candidates pass the same subject-matter test as general education candidates.
Further, Vermont 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.
Supplement A (5440-82) to the Vermont Standards Board for Professional Education Manual of Rules Praxis Test Requirements www.ets.org
Provide a broad liberal arts program of study to elementary special education candidates, and require that they pass the same content test as general education teachers.
Vermont should ensure that special education teacher candidates who will teach elementary grades possess knowledge of the subject matter at hand. Not only should the state require core-subject coursework relevant to the elementary classroom, but it should also require that these candidates pass the same subject-matter test required of all elementary teachers. Failure to ensure that teachers possess requisite content knowledge deprives special education students of the opportunity to reach their academic potential.
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, Vermont 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).
Vermont pointed out that it does allow for K-12 special education certification. However, teachers must meet the requirements for both elementary and secondary special education in order to be licensed for K-12.
Vermont is commended for recognizing the distinction between elementary and secondary special education preparation.