Special Education in Kansas
Kansas’s special education services earn the U.S. Department of Education’s highest mark of “Meets Requirements,” according to Education Week. The Kansas State Snapshot on the ED.gov website indicates that 14 percent of students in Kansas have disabilities, one percent higher than the national average, and the state employs over 4,000 special educators to work in its 293 districts. The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) oversees all policies for the public school system, while its Special Education Services team provides information regarding the state’s public special education services.
Teaching Licenses Issued in Kansas
Special Education Degrees in Kansas
U.S. News & World Report named the graduate program in special education at the University of Kansas (KU) the number two program of its kind in the nation, and the number one public program in this area. In addition, the cost per credit for this program is 50 to 75 percent less expensive (depending upon your Kansas residency status) than the top-ranked program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The KU Department of Special Education offers a range of programs for both new and experienced special educators. At the undergraduate level, KU’s Unified Early Childhood course of study prepares students to work in special and general education settings for children ages 0 to 8. Graduate degrees awarded include master’s degrees in Early Childhood Unified, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Low Incidence Disabilities (Functional), High Incidence Disabilities (Adaptive) and Secondary Special Ed Transition (a fully online program); KU also offers a special education doctorate program.
For profiles of all the schools in Kansas that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
Special Education Teacher Groups in Kansas
- KNEA, the state teacher’s union, is open to teachers, administrators, retired teachers and teachers in training, and is involved in advocacy work.
- The Kansas Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) interprets special education policy at the state level. Members include people with disabilities, their families, representatives from state special services agencies and other stakeholders in the community.
- The American Federation of Teachers-Kansas focuses on national and regional policy of interest to Kansas educators.
Alternatives to Certification
KSDE offers the Restricted Teaching License Alternative Pathway for mid-career professionals who have undergraduate or graduate degrees in content areas they would like to teach. Qualified candidates receive a restricted license and can enter Kansas public school classrooms immediately. While teaching with the restricted license, they must complete teacher preparation coursework that qualifies them for full licensure.
Special Education Jobs in Kansas
The Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities (KUCDD) provides ongoing training opportunities for students, educators, psychologists and others involved in the special education community. The Kansas National Education Association has a roster of events, conferences and trainings of interest to general and special educators.
Blogs by Kansas Special Educators
- Kansas Special Education Advocate: Navigating IEP meetings, exploring Kansas special education policy changes and working with special educators in the Kansas school system are the topics of this blog.
- SPEDEXPRESS: While not officially a blog, this KSDE Special Education Department message board connects the Kansas public special education community. You can subscribe to receive updates or browse the archives.