Tennessee schools in need of special education teachers

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 9:57 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Schools across the nation need more special education teachers for the upcoming school year.

There are hundreds of special education open positions listed on recruiting websites for Tennessee schools, as well.

During the 2021 school year, Tennessee had more than 1,000 vacancies and issued more than 1,300 that allowed people to teach in the classroom without a license.

Jeff Strand of the Tennessee Disability Coalition said being a special education teacher is tough, but those specialists are needed now more than ever.

“When we don’t have enough trained special-ed teachers, we’re denying those kids the opportunity of achieving education just like their general-ed peers,” Stand said.

The average pay for a special education teacher in Nashville is around $50k/year, but it is expected to change.

The Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) plan requires each increase in education funding to come with more pay.

A quality public education is a protected right for students with disabilities.

Governor Bill Lee said he believes the Grow Your Own program is the key to filling these vacancies.

“Our teachers are the best and brightest in the country, but we have to backfill and replace those that are retiring,” Lee explained. “…we are rapidly growing, we have more kids more needs for the best teachers, we are working hard on the grow your own.

The Grow Your Own program allows teachers to get their certifications while working in district classrooms.

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