A national shortage of special education teachers means many students with disabilities will enter classrooms this fall with teachers whose training is limited to a summer crash course.

Across the country there are 45,000 fewer highly qualified special education teachers than are needed, federal statistics show. In cities like Milwaukee that means that as many as one quarter of classrooms for kids with disabilities are headed by teachers with emergency credentials.

Rather than going through traditional university education programs to obtain a teacher’s license, these instructors hired through alternative teacher training programs work toward their credentials while they teach. Such teachers generally undergo a summer training program before heading into the classroom, but critics argue that they are ill-prepared to handle the intensive needs of students with disabilities.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Proponents counter that such programs yield capable teachers who are selected through rigorous application processes. What’s more, they say new educators — even those with little training — provide a much better option than the alternative of substitute teachers, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. To read more click here.