Shortage in Special Education instructors

Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 10:34 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Midwestern State University put a pause on its undergraduate special education program because of low enrollment.

Numbers of enrollment have been low since the Covid-19 pandemic and with students being able to go to cheaper and faster alternatives to get certified, the university has taken a hit.

“It’s a very demanding job,” Midwestern State University, Special Education Professor Dr. Edward Shultz said.

“It’s high-stress and low pay for teachers. You even will hear comments like you can’t pay me enough to do what that special education teacher does. Teachers have to be mentally tough and in a lot of cases physically tough as well”.

Wichita Falls Independent School District is also seeing the effects of this problem.

WFISD and MSU have partnered for years and both sides have benefited from the special education program.

“We have a long-standing relationship with WFISD,” Dr. Shultz said.

“Throughout the years we have been able to provide them with students who need course hours and experience while also providing kids with the help and time they need”.

WFISD has 49 job openings across the district and half of those are for special education instructors. With the pause on the MSU program, they have been looking for answers in other places.

“There is a need for that position,” WFISD Superintendent, Dr. Donny Lee said.

“With the unfortunate circumstances at MSU, we are trying to outsource and find resources so that our kids are not lacking”.

The special education program at MSU hopes to have enrollment back up to normal at some time in the near future and back to providing resources.