Maryland Special Education
In regard to its ability to provide services for students with special needs, the state of Maryland earns the rating of “Meets Requirements” (the highest rating given) from the Department of Education, according to Education Week. The National Center for Education Statistics states that 12.1 percent of Maryland students are assigned Individualized Education Programs, somewhat lower than the United States average of 13 percent. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), including its Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services, oversees the state’s 24 public school districts. Maryland has 1,475 public schools, 42 charter schools and 815 private schools, and employs nearly 8,500 special educators.
Types of Licenses
Special Education Degrees in Maryland
U.S. News & World Report cites the special education program at the College of Education at University of Maryland-College Park as among the top 11 in the nation. Students at the University of Maryland can pursue a five-year combined program in special education that results in both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. The school also offers combined graduate degree and certification options in early childhood special education, elementary special education, secondary/middle school special education and severe disabilities, as well as the Special Education Master’s Specialty Program, which allows students to focus on any area of special education through an individualized course of study. A doctorate program in special education is also available.
For profiles of all the schools in Maryland that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
Alternatives to Certification
The MSDE has approved a number of alternative preparation programs that provide nontraditional methods for obtaining state licensure as a general or special educator. They include:
- The Baltimore City Teaching Residency prepares professionals and recent college graduates to work in the Baltimore City Public Schools. Candidates participate in an intensive training program before entering positions in high-need Baltimore public schools with a Resident Teacher Certificate. Then, while working as teachers, they complete the coursework necessary to earn a Standard Professional Certificate I.
- Also serving Baltimore, the Urban Teacher Center places applicants in an intensive one-year internship, followed by a three-year teaching contract in a high-need urban school. At the conclusion of the second year, participants earn a dual master’s degree in special education and general education.
- Teach For America targets high-need Baltimore schools, placing corps members in a five-week training institute and mentoring them as they fulfill a two-year contract.
- The AACC/AACPS Secondary RTC Program is a partnership between Anne Arundel Community College and the local public school system that recruits individuals with undergraduate degrees to become certified teachers at the secondary level.
Special Education Jobs in Maryland
- The Maryland teacher professional development section of the MSDE’s website posts announcements regarding online teacher trainings and other educational opportunities, and explains that state’s standards for continuing education.
- The Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education trains school staff in collaborative teaching, differentiated instruction, classroom management and behavior supports.
Maryland Special Educator Groups
- The state teacher’s union, the Maryland State Education Association, is an affiliate of the National Education Association, representing public educators, retired teachers and students in Maryland teacher preparation programs.
- Maryland’s Special Education State Advisory Council is a government-mandated organization charged with interpreting special education policy. Its membership consists of individuals with disabilities and their parents, educators and community stakeholders.
- Early intervention is the focus of the Maryland State Interagency Coordinating Council.
Maryland Special Education Blogs
- MCIE Blog: The official blog of the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education covers ideas for working with people with disabilities, particularly those pertaining to inclusive educational practices.
- Transition Newsletter: The e-newsletter of the Maryland Transitioning Youth program focuses on issues of concern for youth and adults with disabilities, such as transition planning, education and employment services.
- Maryland Learning Links: Special educators from throughout the state post their experiences and suggestions to this individualized education group blog. Maryland Learning Links also administrates a Leadership Blog, three Family and Community blogs and a Professional Practice blog.