Special Education Standards
After the Reading Task Force finished its work in the spring of 2009, the Board of Teaching convened a Special Education Task Force to look at the licensure requirements of special education teachers. Ms. Thomson and Mr. Alexander were again asked for input in the process, specifically regarding what the reading standards should be for teachers with special education licensure.
Early in the process, it became evident that there was resistance from Special Education Task Force members to include the same reading standards developed by the Reading Task Force for teachers of reading. Special Education Task Force members were concerned that this was too great an expectation given all the other course work required of special education licensed teachers. This position was disconcerting in that it created the potential to have newly-licensed teachers in mainstream classrooms better prepared to teach reading than special education teachers.
Fortunately, the literacy law that passed in the spring of 2009 required all students learn to read using scientifically-based reading instruction. This law, coupled with a letter of support from Senators Saltzman and Olson, ensured that the reading standards required of mainstream classroom teachers would also be required of special education teachers.