A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

To Assure the Free Appropriate Public Education of all Children with Disabilities - 1995

Personnel Employed and Needed to Serve Students with Disabilities

In order to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to a free appropriate public education, there must be an adequate supply of personnel with appropriate training or certification including teachers, diagnostic staff, related services personnel, and other instructional and non-instructional staff. Each year, States report to OSEP the number of special education teachers and other special personnel providing services to students with disabilities. They also report the number of additional staff needed due to staff vacancies or instances when positions are filled by staff members who are not fully trained or certified for their position. Data are not collected on the number of general regular education teachers who work with students with disabilities.

This section presents data on the number of special education teachers and other special staff employed, and the number needed, to serve students with disabilities in the 1992-93 school year. These data are reported in full-time equivalents (FTE) and are grouped according to the disability of the students served.7 Staff other than teachers are reported by type of position and are also reported in FTEs.

Personnel Employed to Serve Students with Disabilities

During the 1992-93 school year, 311,201 special education teachers were employed (see table 1.12), slightly more (.7%) than in 1991-92. These figures do not include regular classroom teachers and other staff who provide services to students with or without disabilities as part of the general education program.


TABLE 1.12 Special Education Teachers Employed to Serve Students Age 6 through 21 Served Under Part B and Chapter 1 (SOP): School Year 1992-93
DISABILITY                                             FTE TEACHERS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------  Specific learning disabilities                            98,125   Speech or language impairments                            41,208   Mental retardation                                        43,106   Serious emotional disturbance                             29,684   Multiple disabilities                                      7,732   Hearing impairments                                        6,913   Orthopedic impairments                                     3,443   Other health impairments                                   2,136   Visual impairments                                         2,964   Autism                                                     1,652   Deaf-blindness                                               170   Traumatic brain injury                                       217   Cross-categoricala/                                       73,852 -------------------------------------------------------------------  Total                                                    311,201 
a/ Teachers in cross-categorical programs teach classes with students having varying disabilities.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Data Analysis System (DANS).


The largest special education teacher category in school year 1992-93 was the specific learning disabilities category. Nearly one-third of the special education teachers employed to serve students with disabilities age 6 through 21 taught students with specific learning disabilities (98,125 FTE, or 31.5%). The next largest category of special education teachers (73,852 FTE, or 23.7%) taught students in cross-categorical classes, where students with a variety of disabilities are served. The largest percentage of increases in special education teachers occurred among teachers serving students with autism or traumatic brain injury. This is not surprising, since 1992-93 was the first year States were required to report the number of teachers serving students in those categories. Reporting was optional for those two disability categories in 1991-92.

In 1992-93, 320,420 personnel other than special education teachers worked with students with disabilities age 3 through 21 (see table 1.13). Teacher's aides accounted for 55.7 percent of all staff other than special education teachers. This percentage has remained relatively stable over the last 5 years. Non-professional staff accounted for another 10.9 percent of the other related personnel employed. The number of non-professional staff has more than doubled since the reporting category was established in the 1989-90 school year.


TABLE 1.13 Special Education Personnel Other Than Special Education Teachers Employed and Needed to Serve Students with Disabilities Age 3 through 21: School Year 1992-93
                                        FTE                    FTE                                   PERSONNEL              PERSONNEL TYPE OF PERSONNEL                 EMPLOYED               NEEDEDa/
--------------------------------------------------------------------  School social workers              9,658                   590   Occupational therapists            4,973                   749   Recreational therapists              389                   107   Physical therapists                3,504                   583   Teacher aides                    178,532                 5,000   Physical education teachers        5,283                   364   Supervisors/administrators (LEA)  15,791                 1,176   Other non-instructional staff     24,772                 1,284   Psychologists                     20,138                 1,215   Diagnostic staff                   7,178                   468   Audiologists                         883                    83   Work study coordinators            1,568                   358  Vocational education teachers      4,481                   313   Counselors                         7,297                   449  Supervisors/administrators (SEA)   1,064                   130   Non-professional staff            34,908                 1,234 ------------------------------------------------------------------  Total FTE                        320,420                14,103 
a/ These figures include: (1) the number of unfilled vacancies in funded positions that occurred during the 1992-93 school year (12 months), and (2) the number of additional personnel that were needed during the 1992-93 school year (12 months) to fill positions occupied by persons who were not fully certified or licensed. These figures include additional personnel needed by public and private agencies.

Note: The total FTE may not equal the sum of the individual disability categories because of rounding.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Data Analysis System (DANS).


Personnel Needed to Serve Students with Disabilities

States reported in 1992-93 that they needed 25,829 FTE teachers to fill funded vacancies and replace teachers who were not fully certified. This is 5.3 percent less than the number of teachers needed in 1991-92. Table 1.14 shows that the greatest need is for teachers of students with specific learning disabilities (27.4 percent). Teachers in cross-categorical programs are also in especially short supply, and are 23.4 percent of all special education teachers needed.


TABLE 1.14 Special Education Teachers Needed to Serve Students with Disabilities Age 6 through 21: School Year 1992-93
                                      NUMBER OF       PERCENTAGE OF DISABILITY                           FTE TEACHERS      ALL TEACHERS                                        NEEDEDa/           NEEDED
----------------------------------------------------------------------- Specific learning disabilities          7,075               27.4   Speech or language impairments          2,729               10.6   Mental retardation                      3,011               11.7   Serious emotional disturbance           4,556               17.6   Multiple disabilities                     790                3.1   Hearing impairments                       509                2.0   Orthopedic impairments                    234                0.9   Other health impairments                  216                0.8   Visual impairments                        242                0.9   Autism                                    382                1.5   Deaf-blindness                             20                0.1   Traumatic brain injury                     29                0.1   Cross-categorical                       6,036               23.4 -------------------------------------------------------------------- Total                                  25,829              100.0 
a/These figures include:(1) the number of unfilled vacancies in funded positions that occurred during the 1992-93 school year (12 months), and (2) the number of additional personnel that were needed during the 1992-93 school year (12 months) to fill positions occupied by persons who were not fully certified or licensed. These figures include additional personnel needed by public and private agencies.

Note: Percentages may not total 100 percent because of rounding.

Note: The total FTE may not equal the sum of the individual disability categories because of rounding.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Data Analysis System (DANS).


States also reported needing 5,000 FTE teacher aides to fill vacancies and to replace personnel who were not fully certified or licensed, by far the greatest need among the personnel other than special education teachers categories. As in previous years, States also reported needing sizeable numbers of psychologists (1,215), other nonprofessional staff (1,234), and supervisors and administrators at the LEA level (1,176).

OSEP Activities on Personnel Data

As noted in last year's Annual Report, OSEP has undertaken a variety of activities to address changes, mandated in the 1990 Amendments to IDEA (P.L. 101-476), in the way data are collected on special education and related services personnel. These changes required for the first time that OSEP collect data on a five-year projection of personnel demand. The activities undertaken to address this data collection included a study to determine the feasibility of using existing databases; a survey to ascertain the current status of personnel data collection systems in the States; a series of task force meetings to help design a data collection format; selection of a model for projecting personnel demand; and a pilot test of the data collection format.

In the past year, the results of each of these activities were analyzed and a new data collection form developed. This form was used for the first time in the 1993-94 personnel data collection. The form was revised for use with the 1994-95 data collection. Both the 1993-94 and the 1994-95 forms used the following categories to collect data on special education teachers and other personnel employed to provide services to students with disabilities.

For each of these categories States were allowed to report counts either by Federal disability category or by some other category used in the State. For example, States may choose to use assignments/placement categories, such as consulting teacher, resource room teacher, etc., or they may provide counts by staff certification, such as elementary teacher of special education, teacher of students with severe disabilities, resource teacher, or similar categories.

In the next year, OSEP will review the accuracy of the data provided in each of these five categories and the States' ability to collect it. OSEP will carefully review the data, and will work with the States to ensure that accurate data are provided. These data will be reported for the first time in the 18th Annual Report to Congress.


7 Teachers in cross-categorical programs teach classes with students having varying disabilities.
-###-
[Services Anticipated to be Needed by Exiting Students with Disabilities: Results of the Pass Pilot Test] [Table of Contents] [Summary and Implications]