Friday, June 22, 2007

AZ school district recognizes heroic work of special educators with pat on the head, conditional gold star.

S/T Special Education Teachers Will Receive $1,000 Stipend

The Snowflake School District is suffering a shortage of certified special education teachers, partly due to a shortage in the marketplace, so the school board approved a stipend for each in an effort to retain those they have and attract new ones.

Superintendent Monte Silk advised the school board June 14 that the shortage is disproportionate to regular teachers. The district chose not to renew one special education teacher’s contract, three others have resigned and the supply of applicants is low.

In an effort to compete with the demand and provide support for current employees who have stayed with the district, Silk recommended a stipend for all case managers within the district.

The case managers’ workloads are heavy, and their students are many times the hardest to reach and teach because of specific learning disabilities, negative attitudes toward school, and sometimes a lack of parental support and communication. Silk explained that in addition much time is taken to collaborate with regular teachers regarding accommodations for special education students. The case managers are the orchestra leaders for the daily activities of an average of 25 students with high need for academic and emotional support. The job they do is next to impossible, but they are dedicated and committed to special students, he said.

Silk suggested that each case manager within the district receive a $1,000 stipend for the responsibilities related to case management upon signing a memorandum of understanding that each Individualized Education Program (IEP) is held on or before the annual renewal date and each IEP signature page is to the district office within ten days of the IEP meeting date. A $40 deduction shall be made for each requirement not met for each IEP. Funding will come from Fund 020, Indian Gaming, which may be used for teacher compensation.
Gee, a thousand bucks, conditional upon actually meeting the terms of the job description, as opposed to the rational response to a shortage of workers in a high-demand occupation?

Special educators have jobs that are tremendously more challenging than regular education teachers, but are simply not paid accordingly, much less granted the degree of professional respect accorded any other top professional in any comparable field.

Say, a Systems Analyst.

To double retention, start by doubling pay, as in the Real World.

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