I recently visited a popular job posting site and conducted a search for Special Education Teacher jobs in Houston, Texas. The results were amazing – 221 jobs in Houston waiting to be filled. Why so many? Has the general population not realized the growing need for qualified people to care for our children? Are our SpEd teachers burnt out from the extreme demands placed on them and have moved on? As I prepare to send my son back to school next week, I am relieved to know that his SpEd teacher is still at our school, but what about other schools in Texas?
In December 2015, the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) was replaced with the Every Student Succeeds Act (“ESSA”) with goals set to ensure students not only graduate from high school, but also attend college. In order for this federal Act to succeed, states are encouraged to be innovative accountable for results. According to their website, the Texas Education Agency (“TEA”) will attempt to fully implement ESSA by focusing on four goals: (i) improving our low-performing schools; (ii) tying high school success to a future with college and a career; (iii) getting back to basic reading and math; and most importantly (iv) “recruiting, supporting and retaining teachers and principals.”
As a parent of a child with special needs, your voice should be heard during this planning process. Provide feedback on the key policy decisions concerning your child’s education. We need keep our SpEd teachers from leaving their professions by paying these teachers proper compensation for all that they do every day with our kids. We need to attract additional skilled professionals and paraprofessionals.
ACT NOW – The Texas Education Agency is now accepting comments on the ESSA State Plan until August 29th.