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U of S. Carolina tries to help certify more SPED teachers; state faces shortage

Aug 29, 2018, NBC2, Charleston, SC: New USC program creating more educators with Special Education backgrounds https://www.counton2.com/news/new-usc-program-creating-more-educators-with-special-education-backgrounds/1404074143 The University of South Carolina says dozens of special education positions were left vacant in South Carolina schools last year because of a shortage of special education teachers. So now the university is trying to create more educators with special education backgrounds. The early years of a child's education are usually the most crucial in a student's academic career. But when a child has special needs it's even more important to progress during those years. "Maybe they're not saying as many words or they're not understanding the verbal language that they're given. so then we see issues to how to provide modifications to meet their needs first," explained Dr. Kate Ascetta, an assistant professor in the College of Education. Legislation passed in 2017 requiring teachers to be licensed to teach special education for 3-5 year olds. Normally, a qualification like that wouldn't be a problem, but at USC special education courses were limited to graduate students. Dr. Ascetta added, "We have a really robust special education program at the Masters and Ph.D level however we don't have a current undergrad program except for now." The university is offering a special education program to undergraduate students so they can have that certification when they graduate. … The goal of the program is to create qualified special education teachers that work for the students without adding an extra course load. "It was important to provide undergraduate students with exposure to a variety of teaching methodology and strategies and really strengthen our workforce and meet the needs of our state," Ascetta continued. …