Schools hiring emergency teachers for special education, potentially violating federal law – Oregon Capital Chronicle:

More than 130 emergency licensed teachers are filling in as special education instructors in Oregon this year, shortchanging thousands of students and potentially violating a federal law.

That law, the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, ensures that children with disabilities are given an appropriate public education equal to that of their peers without disabilities, including equal class time and access to qualified teachers.

But an emergency teacher in Oregon doesn’t have to meet the high standards required by federal law for special education teachers, who must have a bachelor’s degree and full state certification to teach special education, or be in the process of receiving certification while enrolled in a special education degree program.

The state is responsible for ensuring the law is followed. But Oregon education officials appear to be shirking that responsibility.

I have oh-so-many complaints about the Oregon Department of Education. But lack of adherence to this federal mandate is not one of them. There simply aren’t enough special education teachers available. I have no idea what people think the state is supposed to do here. There’s already state legislation in the works to raise salaries of special education teachers 20% above standard (we’ll see if funding for that follows), but the fact of the matter is that public education is necessarily a bulk process. Special education attempts to make it an individualized process and there will never be enough funding for that unless we’re prepared to raise taxes and reorient our society significantly. I’m not saying I’m opposed to that, but it doesn’t seem to be in the offing any time soon.