Dornink presents legislation to empower more educators to become special education licensed teachers

Published 8:57 pm Monday, March 18, 2024

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On Wednesday the Senate Education Policy Committee heard legislation authored by District 23 Sen. Gene Dornink (R-Brownsdale) to make it easier for teachers to transition to a special education specialty.

Gene Dornink

This legislation, SF 4219, modifies the Special Education (SPED) Teacher Pipeline Grant Program passed last session to broaden the application and availability of this successful grant program.

“Special education licensed teachers are some of the hardest to recruit teachers in rural areas, and we need to have a greater supply to meet the demand,” Dornink said in a news release. “By making these grants available to schools and higher education institutions, we hope to empower existing educators to become special education licensed teachers.”

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Under current law, Tier 3 or Tier 4 teachers cannot enter the SPED Grant Program. Therefore, Dornink’s legislation would allow schools to use the dollars for any employee who demonstrates a willingness to become a SPED teacher. The legislation also has a section to ensure compatibility with the Grow Your Own program.

The SPED pipeline grant is a partnership between educator preparation programs and K-12 schools to recruit and prepare employees to become fully licensed special education teachers. These programs provide tailored support such as stipends, scholarships, unique student teaching or field placement experiences, among other individualized programming.

For more information on the SPED Teacher Pipeline Program, please visit: