Yet despite the integral role the law has played in granting students with special needs access to education and inclusion opportunities, it remains flawed and underfunded. Red tape and complicated financial provisions continue to make it difficult for school districts to efficiently and effectively serve students with disabilities while complying with the law’s rules and regulations. Furthermore, in part due to some of these problems, special education teachers are leaving the profession in droves, making qualified teachers harder and harder to come by….
The challenges special education teachers face are enormous, and addressing these challenges can be equally as daunting. But if IDEA is to accomplish what it set out to accomplish 40 years ago–to ensure that all students have access to a free and appropriate public education–having high quality teachers to teach our special education students is a non-negotiable. Reauthorization of IDEA is now 6 years overdue. As policymakers rethink the law’s provisions, considering how IDEA is impacting teacher satisfaction and teacher quality should be a top concern. For now, districts must look at creative ways to address these challenges with the tools and resources available at their disposal.