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UC Riverside: 'Tremendous need' for SPED teachers; Riverside has plan to provide teachers

Jan 31, 2019, UC Riverside: Training the next generation of special education teachers A new program offered through the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside, seeks to boost the number of fully credentialed special education teachers in Southern California’s Inland Empire. Students accepted into the 2019 cohort of the UCR Special Education Scholars Program can earn both their master’s degrees in special education and their state-mandated education specialist instruction credentials — all without incurring debt. To qualify for one of 15 “service awards” that cover costs of the program, each applicant must commit to working for at least four years as a special education teacher in either a Riverside or San Bernardino county school district upon graduating. The goal is to address the extreme shortage of fully credentialed special education teachers in the Inland Empire by funding cohorts of students who want to serve in these positions in Riverside and San Bernardino county schools, said Thomas Smith, dean of UCR’s Graduate School of Education. “The statewide and local need for fully credentialed special education teachers is tremendous,” Smith said. … In neighboring Riverside and San Bernardino counties, more than 100,000 of the region’s 843,000-plus students [12%] are identified as special education students, with the majority coming from low-income families. Data released by the state indicates most of California’s special education students have been diagnosed with learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, or autism spectrum disorder. To keep up with the growing demand, the Riverside County Office of Education joined forces in 2018 with the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools to apply for one of 41 Local Solutions Grants offered to address the shortage of special education teachers across the state. …

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