What do you do when you’ve got a surplus in one area, and a shortage in another? California’s got an answer. Forced to pink-slip 23,000 regular education teachers this year due to budget shortfalls, the state plans on retraining some of them to help ease the shortage in special education classrooms. Through a partnership between the California Teacher Corps and local school districts, the pink-slipped teachers can work toward alternative special education certification, and can then be rehired by their districts as SPED teachers. In most professions, hiring the folks who’re fired to serve the neediest population might seem backwards (and, hey, immoral). But this is teaching, where tenure-strangled human capital decisions mean layoffs typically have much more to do with longevity than quality. So props to California, which has found a way to keep young and enthusiastic teachers in its classrooms and address the SPED teacher shortage at the same time.
“Special Education a Second Chance for Pink-Slipped Teachers,” by Katy Murphy, Oakland Tribune, April 14, 2010