Special education teacher shortage a growing issue in Alabama

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 9:07 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Your child may be affected by the teacher shortage in Alabama and people trained to teach students with special needs are in even shorter supply.

While there weren’t enough of these teachers before the pandemic, Alabama Education Association Regional Manager William Tunnell says the shortage of qualified special education teachers has only gotten worse.

Tunnell stresses every position in education is difficult to fill right now, but admits things must be done to get more teachers. He points to the state superintendent’s attempt to get special education teachers an additional $5,000 stipend as proof that education leaders are working to tackle the issue in the state. In his eyes, to make a lasting impact he believes other improvements must be made.

“Raising salaries to entice people to go into the position, increasing and improving our benefits. All of these are things the state, the legislature, AEA have all been working towards over the last several years. Maybe some paperwork reductions, things of that nature would be helpful,” said Tunnell.

Tunnell says education leaders are looking at lightening the paperwork load for special education teachers and he says the shortage has gotten so bad that many districts are competing with one another for talent and teachers in the state.

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