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Norman, OK: More teacher aides as SPED needs increase

May 8, 2018, Norman, OK, KGOU Radio: Teacher Shortage Forces Schools To Rely On Aides, Assistants http://kgou.org/post/teacher-shortage-forces-schools-rely-aides-assistants … Aides and assistants’ jobs include many of the tasks teachers used to do but are less able to now because of increasing class sizes and more pre-K and special-education students, education officials say. … Teaching aides and assistants have increased by 17 percent statewide from school years 2010-11 to 2017-18, based on the most recent count from the Oklahoma State Department of Education. In October, there were 10,334 teaching aides and assistants working in the state’s public schools, up from 8,854 in 2010-11. Enrollment growth has been slower, at 5 percent. The number of certified teachers is down 1 percent, even with an increase in emergency-certified teachers…. More support staff also are needed to help schools deal with an increase in students who have disabilities or are on individualized education programs. … Another factor in the growth of teacher helpers is the rising numbers of special-education students – an increase of 15 percent statewide since the 2010-11 school year. … … The need for support is greater in a separate special-education class. Five adults, including a teacher, may be needed in a class that has seven students with autism. Two adults may be assigned to a a single student with severe physical and learning disabilities. … In Deer Creek Schools, the number of support personnel has doubled since the 2010-11 school year. Ashley Dawson is grateful for this because her son, Lanham, has autism, obsessive compulsive disorder and epilepsy, and is in a special education class at Deer Creek Elementary. …