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Indiana offers scholarships to address special education teacher shortage

The Indiana Department of Education announced Monday that it will spend $2 million to help fully license special education teachers by providing scholarships for required training and streamlining required coursework. The program aims to ensure there are enough specialized teachers when the state ends the use of emergency permits in the next school year.

The Indiana Department of Education will partner with the University of Indianapolis’ Center for Excellence in Learning Leadership to help teachers obtain full licensure or enter a program that qualifies them for provisional clearance under the new state’s requirements.

“Through this initiative, statewide partners are coming together to provide current and future special education educators in Indiana with access to convenient, rapid options and key financial support, so that they in turn can continue to support our students at Hoosier on a daily basis,” Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner said. statment.

The IDOE announced earlier this year that it plans to end its use of emergency permits because their issuance is a longstanding violation of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The state will replace them with a new temporary license for teachers in approved training programs.

But Indiana has faced a persistent shortage of special education teachers for years, and schools are relying on teachers with emergency permits to fill job openings. The state issued emergency permits for private education 43 percent more in 2019-20 than it did four years ago. Without them, officials and teachers warned that students could suffer.

Read more: There is no semester. Missing friends. How the pandemic shook Indiana special education students

The new program, known as the Indiana Special Education Assistance License, is designed to facilitate the transition and increase the number of fully qualified special education teachers. Carrie Dunk, executive director of CELL, said it gives potential special education teachers and district administrators one place where they can find training options.

“In most cases, it costs no or almost no cost to a teacher to complete their license and become fully licensed as a private teacher,” Dahncke said. But getting more people who are fully qualified in this field.”

Licensed teachers who wish to add a special education license to their credentials can receive free training at three participating universities: Indianapolis University, Taylor University, or Indiana Wesleyan University. Full scholarships are available for people with a bachelor’s degree who wish to become teachers by moving on to teaching programmes. Individuals already enrolled in special education teacher preparation programs are also eligible for scholarships to help them complete training.

Read more: It can be difficult to navigate the special education system. Here’s What Three Indiana Families Experienced

Dunk said the program has a particular focus on working with teachers who are already licensed in other fields and want to add special education, because the path to full licensure is shorter.

“We try to get as many people into the field as quickly as we can,” Dunk said.

The program will also offer a free workshop for teachers who have not passed the state licensing exam.

The $2 million effort is funded by federal COVID Relief and Individuals with Disabilities Act funding.

Contact WFYI Education Reporter Dylan Peers McCoy at dmccoy@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: Tweet embed.

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