From the Director’s Desk………..
Some time ago I wrote about special education in Texas and the chronic under identification of children with handicapping conditions there. That was several years ago. Fast forward to the current school year and Texas is still under the federal “needs assistance” label meaning they are not yet compliant with federal regulations. Lawsuits continue even as services expand. I assumed that the challenges in Texas would have implications for all of us.
I didn’t realize what those implications might be. How do you add thousands of teachers when the number of licensed special educators is falling? In the last 10 years the number of licensed professionals in the special education field has decreased by 17% – and that decline hasn’t reached bottom yet. Texas leads the nation in the number of teachers working under emergency licenses, provisional licenses, or working towards licensure through alternative pathways. 2015-2016 data put them at over 22,000 educators working under a non-traditional license who are not yet fully certified. Texas has many programs available that enable college graduates to teach. Some of them – like school district teaching permits are connecting students with educators who want to make a difference. State grants are available to districts who want to establish their own training programs. The idea makes sense when you consider that school districts have high quality, licensed educators available who know the local students and their needs.
No matter what pathway to licensure one might take, the most important quality in special education teachers and related service providers is the belief that I can make a difference. That core belief is found in abundance in Keystone staff members. It’s what makes Keystone Learning Services great.
Thanks for all you do.