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Abstract/ Summary

The shortage of special education teachers is a persistent problem in Maine. In addition to the shortage of individuals prepared to work as special education teachers, there is also a need to support special education students in the general education classroom. The majority of students who are identified with disabilities spend most of their time in classrooms with general education teachers. Yet, general education teachers' preparation to work with the special education students in their classrooms is limited. In order to address the need for teachers who are prepared and qualified to work with students with disabilities, the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs commissioned this study by the Maine Education Policy Research Institute as part of its 2018-2019 work plan. The purpose of this study is to examine dual general and special education and "Grow Your Own" approaches to teacher certification. To that end, this report begins by providing a review of relevant published research, followed by an overview of the components of teacher credentialing, requirements for general and special education teacher certification in Maine, and information about the current teacher certification pathways and programs in Maine. This is followed by descriptions of new approaches to teacher preparation that Maine might consider in order to address the need for certified special educators and general educators who are better prepared to work with students with disabilities. This background information is followed by profiles of dual certification and Grow Your Own teacher preparation models and education policies and programs in other states that are designed to address the shortage of qualified teachers who are prepared to meet the needs of students with disabilities. In conclusion, possible education policy implications for Maine are identified.


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