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Behind the Shortage of Special Ed Teachers: Long Hours, Crushing Paperwork

There is a letter that school districts really don’t like sending home to parents of special education students. Each state has a different version, but they begin with something like this:

“Dear Parent, as of the date of this letter your child’s teacher is not considered ‘highly qualified.’ ” And then: “This doesn’t mean your child’s teacher is not capable or effective. It means they haven’t met the state standards for teaching in their subject.”

In any other subject, that’s an annoying problem that suggests students may not be well served. In special education, it means the school district is breaking the law.