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Allentown, PA: School officials agree, SPED pop. "seems to be increasing"

Feb 26, 2024, WFMZ TV, Allentown, PA: States, school districts looking for ways to address need for more special education teachers in Pa.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Professor Jean DesJardin, who heads the Education Department at Moravian University, is excited; 18 students specializing in special education at the university are currently student teaching.

"I really do think that there's candidates or students at this time that have had really good experiences in the field growing up," said DesJardin.

She said many of her current students have benefitted from classroom inclusion, learning alongside their peers with learning disabilities.

But it's not enough: the supply of special education teachers is nowhere near meeting the demand.

William Seng, Executive Director of Human Resources at Allentown School District, said "We are experiencing a teacher shortage across the state of Pennsylvania, and certainly high-need areas like special ed, is one that it's being exhibited the most." . . .

"There's more individuals that are retiring and leaving the field," said DesJardin. "It could be because there's a lot of demand on teachers."

"We're also seeing a higher identified population that needs those services," said Seng.
Both agree the number of students in need of the services seems to be increasing. . .


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