The following local, state and federal policy recommendations may be useful for recruiting and retaining special education teachers and specialized instructional support personnel.
Improve the ability of local and state educational agencies to identify the needs of students relative to shortage issues and to advocate for needed resources and systems change.
Increase Professional Recruitment Strategies
Enhance state and federal funding sources and programs that assist higher education institutions in recruiting students; especially minority and bilingual candidates into high-need professions. Programs include loan forgiveness, personnel preparation grants and alternate routes-to-certification, as well as incentives to recruit qualified higher education faculty.
Align Licensure/Accreditation with Professional Standards
Encourage states and districts to develop a cohesive professional licensure system to align licensure and program accreditation requirements with professionally recognized standards. Standardization of the licensure requirements for each state would allow special education personnel to apply for existing jobs and increase job mobility.
Increase Support for Recruitment/Retention Activities
Increase direct technical assistance and federal funding to assist local educational agencies in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel through improved workplace conditions and professional support, including teacher induction, mentoring and other incentives.
Expand Opportunities for Collaboration between Special and General Education
Support programs and legislative initiatives that provide special and general educators with an understanding of the needs of children and youth with disabilities through preparation and professional development.
Increase Funding to Support Special Education Personnel
Support through local, state and federal funding the creation of positions to ensure that the specialized support staff are serving appropriate numbers of students.
Comprehensively Address Shortages through Legislative Vehicles
Increase federal funding to support states and districts in creating new positions and programs to meet student needs and improve academic outcomes. Specifically, build the capacity of districts, states and higher education instructions to address special education shortages through the: