In the News: AU Professor, Students Discuss Special Education Teacher Shortage

KELO-TV visits with special education faculty and students at AU

Exploring the nationwide shortage in special education teachers, KELO-TV visited with Dr. Matt Johnson, assistant professor of education, and AU special education majors, to learn why they're passionate about the field.

Special Education Teacher Shortage

By Casey Wonnenberg, KELO-TV

It's getting more difficult for schools to find special education teachers — 49 states are dealing with a shortage.

A local university is getting national attention for getting more students into the field.

Learning how to teach children to read is not always an easy task. Add in a learning disability or a behavior disorder, and you really need to have patience.

"This isn't a field people choose all the time," Taylor Machacek said.

Machacek and Hannah Hahn are junior special education majors at Augustana University.

"I like building relationships with students, and I like being able to impact their lives," Hahn said.

Not only do very few people major in special education, but the turnover rate once they're on the job is also high. Half of the teachers leave their jobs within five years. Augie is hoping to change that. College Choice has ranked the school 20th in the nation for special education.

"All of our faculty in the education department are former teachers. We've been in the K-12 world," Augustana University Assistant Professor of Education Matt Johnson said.

Students also get a lot of hands-on experience themselves. Augie pairs up with surrounding schools so that students can log more than 100 practicum hours before their student teaching semester.

Read the full story from KELO-TV.