LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would help address a growing shortage of special education teachers in the state was recently signed into law by the governor.
Senate Bill 657, sponsored by state Sen. Lana Theis, allows prospective educators in the process of obtaining state certification to teach special education to do so under an interim basis. They are required to complete a training program equivalent to at least 32 college credit hours.
“Nothing is more important than the education of our children, especially those with special needs,” said Theis, R-Brighton, who chairs the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee. “Unfortunately, Michigan is experiencing a severe shortage in special education teachers, and we need to be doing more to get qualified educators in our classrooms, and quickly. I appreciate that the governor signed my bill.”
A teacher with an existing teaching certification will be granted an interim special education certification if they complete an accelerated training program that meets certain state criteria.
The bill limits the granting of interim certifications in special education to a period of three years, but those who might be issued certification under the bill would be able to continue teaching after the sunset.
SB 657 also requires the state’s Center for Educational Performance and Information, with the Department of Education, to partner with at least one research university to analyze and produce a report every Jan. 1, beginning in 2022, on the teacher shortage situation in Michigan.