Alabama struggles to find special education teachers

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama is looking to put more teachers in the classroom, especially special education teachers.

Officials with the Alabama State Department of Education said filling these positions has been an ongoing challenge across the state. About 10% of the student population in Alabama qualify for special needs services.

State Superintendent Eric Mackey said Alabama’s special needs students have performed better than many of its peer states. However, it has been a challenge to bring in more special education teachers.

“We think that’s because it’s really intensive work,  you’re working with students who have special needs,” Mackey said.

After being around a family member with a disability, Alan Miller decided to go into special education. He taught special education for five years in Alabama.

“It really sparked my interest in discovering, what is special education, how are kids with disabilities educated in our state,” Miller said.

Right now, the state doesn’t have any incentives to attract more teachers, but Mackey said this is something to consider.

Mackey said that within the last week, he has gotten calls from local school districts asking for help finding special needs teachers.

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