Statewide program helping address special education teacher shortage

Published: Sep. 18, 2019 at 11:26 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Kate Ascetta, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina.

She helps turn students into teachers. And there’s no secret we need more in South Carolina. According to the most recent Cerra Supply and Demand report, at the start of the 2018-19 school year, there were 621 vacancies. Special education teacher vacancies made up about 20% of the vacancies in the state.

Dr. Ascetta said, “It’s a hard job. Having been a preschool special education educator myself, I know its not easy day in and day out.”

The state’s Department of Education has a program called SC CREATE (Centers for the Re-Education and Advancement of Teachers in Special Education and Related Services Personnel) to help build a special education teacher and related services workforce in the state.

Deputy Superintendent John Payne said, “making sure we are addressing these students need is critically important to the success of these students and the state of South Carolina.”

SC CREATE is a scholarship program sponsored by the state’s Department of Education that allows people employed full time by a public or charter school or a Department of Education program to get certified in six different programs that serve the needs of students with disabilities in South Carolina.

Payne said, “when we originally started the program it was really to address the shortage of teachers of student who have a learning disability. Over time we have added to this. We offer programs in every special ed certification program in South Carolina.”

People can be certified to become special education teachers, school psychologists, and speech-language pathologists to name a few things.

There are centers in more than a dozen universities across the state.

The Department of Education said this program also helps with retention. “They are staying in their teaching positions a little longer than what we expect from someone beginning their career.”

To find out more about the SC CREATE program click here.

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