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Cleveland State University taking a deeper look at the special education teacher shortage in Northeast Ohio

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Posted at 6:37 AM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 18:18:52-04

CLEVELAND — Special education students need the best of the best teaching them, but Northeast Ohio is struggling with a teacher shortage in that field. Cleveland State University is working to close that gap.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education chose Cleveland State as one of 10 colleges nationwide that will be a part of “Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community.”

“Our goal is to produce the best and the brightest who are committed to teach special education in urban schools and districts,” said Tachelle Banks the chair of the Department of Teacher Education at CSU. “To improve the outcomes of the students and the children that attend those schools."

Ohio isn’t alone when it comes to the special education teacher shortage. She said Ohio is on trend with every other state in the country and that half of all schools and 90% of high poverty schools struggle to find qualified teachers.

She credits the “why” to lack of adequate pay, poor working conditions, and not enough support.

“Once they arrive to the school, you want them to choose to stay,” she said. “That has everything to do with resources and pay and support that they get or receive once they are at the school."

For the ones that are working, they’re bogged down with a bigger workload and more students to teach, which means less individualized attention for the students who need it most.

Banks says Ohio has been struggling with this shortage for the past 10-15 years, and is hoping the research group will find an applicable solution to fix it.