Master’s-Educated Special Ed Teachers Prove to Be Critical to State and Federal Programs
Special education is a priority in Maryland, as is evidenced by the Maryland Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services’ (DSE/EIS) Strategic Plan, Moving Maryland Forward, which revealed that in 2013, 68 percent of children with disabilities received generalized and specialized instruction in regular education classes more than 80 percent of the time.
Maryland has also become the model for national reform for students with disabilities, thanks to the implementation of the “One Year Plus” policy by the Baltimore City school system—the first school system in the U.S. to do so.
Issued by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2015, One Year Plus is a national reform policy designed to ensure that students with disabilities are entitled to receive the same level of education as other students. It is an effort to elevate expectations and outcomes for students in special education.
The One Year Plus program allows students with disabilities to receive specialized instruction and related services that allow them to meet the same academic standards as their peers. Should they fall behind, special education students are entitled to receive intensive services designed to close the gap. Master’s-educated special ed teachers have been vital to implementing the program in classrooms throughout the state, and take the lead in seeing to it they get the additional services needed to help them reach the same academic achievements as their classmates
Special Education in Maryland, By the Numbers
- Maryland’s FY 2017 budget includes a record $6.3 billion investment in Maryland’s public schools, a $140 million increase over the previous year, including $18.2 million for the Autism Waiver, which enables children diagnosed with severe autism to receive services in their community.
- In the 2012-13 school year, about 860,000 children, ages 3 to 21, were educated in Maryland’s public educational system. Of those, more than 102,000—about 12 percent–were children with disabilities.
- Maryland’s Infants and Toddlers Program provided early intervention services to more than 16,000 families every year—a 78 percent increase in the past ten years.
- On any given day, about 21,000 children, from birth through age five with development delays or disabilities receive early intervention or preschool special education services in their homes, in preschool classes, and in childcare settings.
- More than 90,000 students, ages 6 through 21, in Maryland receive special education services.
- As of 2015, the largest percentage (36 percent) of special education children in Maryland’s public school had a speech or language impairment, followed by those with a developmental delay (29 percent) and autism (14 percent).
Special Education Support and Leadership in Maryland Relies On Special Education Teachers Prepared at the Graduate Level
The DSE/EIS, an organization within the Maryland State Department of Education, provides leadership, support, and accountability for Maryland’s system of support for students with disabilities and their families.
The DSE/EIS has a clear plan for educational reform that relies on their master’s-educated special education faculty to implement common core curriculum that supports college readiness assessments in a way that ensures the success of students with special needs.
The DSE/EIS partners with no less than 24 local infant and toddler programs, 24 local school systems, the Maryland School for the Blind, the Maryland School for the Deaf, and a wide array of other public agencies and nonpublic agencies and organizations.
In addition to the DSE/EIS, the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities represents 99 nonpublic special education facilities (including 85 schools), which are approved by the Maryland State Department of Education. These facilities serve more than 3,000 students between the ages of 2 and 21.