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The Legal Problem With Special Education Shortages

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Across the U.S., students are not receiving the qualified special education they need due to a shortage of special education teachers. Not only does this pose problems for special needs students who do not have access to appropriate resources and special education services, but it is also a legal problem.

There is a critical need for compassionate, patient teachers with full special education certification. Earning an online Master’s Degree of Education in Special Education is an important step toward working as a special education teacher and improving the lives of students with disabilities.

The Lack of Certified Special Education Teachers

There is currently a shortage of special education teachers in the United States. Because of this shortage, schools are employing teachers without full special education certifications to work with special needs students. When special needs students do not work with properly trained advocates and teachers, it hinders their academic success. Employing teachers who are fully certified is an important part of preparing special needs students for college and professional careers.

Certified Special Education Teachers Are Required by Law

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that each special needs student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP). An IEP is a working document specifying the student’s treatment, goals and progress metrics, based on his or her disability. The school, the administration, the student, the parents or family of the student, and any other therapists or teachers working with the student all have access to the IEP. Of particular importance is the role of a teacher with full special education certification. When schools do not have fully certified special education teachers on staff, special needs students do not receive the services they deserve. It also means that schools are breaking the law by not providing federally mandated resources for students with disabilities.

Special needs students have a legal right to special education teachers with full special education certification. Training new special education teachers is critical for filling the service gap for students with disabilities. Graduate students who earn an online master’s degree in special education are one step closer to filling these vital roles for the special needs community.

Learn about University of Texas Rio Grande Valley online M.Ed. in Special Education degree program.


NPR: Behind the Shortage of Special Ed Teachers: Long Hours, Crushing Paperwork

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