|Action||Comprehensive Revision of the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel|
|Comment Period||Ends 11/6/2015|
Requirements for obtaining a provisional special ed license
I agree that more than 3 credits of special education law is needed in order to obtain a special education provisional teaching license. However, I believe anyone without a teaching license who is applying for a provisional special ed teaching license should complete an introductory special ed law course that gives an overview of IDEA, in particular the development and implementation of an IEP. That course should should be followed by a characteristics course and a behavior management course. It is also important that provisionally licensed teachers who are not already licensed to teach in another area (general education, health education, etc.) need to show that they have completed an undergraduate degree and they can meet minimal skills in reading, writing and math (i.e. taken and passed Praxis Academic CORE, or demonstrate competency with ACT/SAT scores) AND they have been accepted in an approved teacher preparation program to complete the rest of their course and internship requirements to obtain a renewable license. In lieu of student teaching, their teacher preparation program should demonstrate that these provisionally licensed teachers have had management and mentorship supervision as part of completing program requirements.
These recommendations are made for several reasons. First, provisionally licensed teachers need to have an understanding of the laws, regulations, policies and procedures that govern the IDEA process. This includes the components of an IEP and their role in creating and following an IEP. They need to understand the characteristics of students with disabilities and what research states are best practices in meeting the academic, social and functional behavioral needs. Management of behavior to include FBA/BIPs are also essential for beginning special education teachers to know. Second, teachers without minimal literacy and numeracy skills are not effective in teaching students who struggle in those areas. Provisionally licensed teachers with low skills in reading and writing have a hard time passing the VCLA and RVE tests- requirements to obtain a renewable teaching license. Third, every beginning teacher, licensed or on provisional status, needs support and mentoring in order to learn what is needed to do their job. This is why it is critically important to provide mentorship within the school system as well as proper supervision within an approved program. Teachers who have such support are more apt to stay in teaching, and the students they serve also benefit from the support. Research shows that it costs schools systems too much money when new teachers leave at high rates within their first five years of teaching.