After some delay, the U.S. Department of Education has released grant application information focused on supporting the development of special education teachers, administrators, early interventionists, and related service personnel. Divided into three priorities, the personnel preparation grants seek to build a pipeline of talent for the special education workforce and respond to personnel needs at the state and local levels. For some time, CEC and its members have been urging for the timely release of these grants to ensure full and meaningful participation by institutions of higher education and interested students.
Authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the personnel preparation grant program consists of three absolute priorities:
• Preparation of Leadership Personnel Grants: Seeks to address the need for special education, early intervention, and related services personnel who have been trained at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels to fill faculty, research, and direct service positions.
• Combined Personnel Preparation Grants: Seeks to address the need to improve the quality and increase the number of personnel who are fully credentialed to serve children and youth with disabilities, especially in areas of chronic personnel shortage, by supporting projects at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s and specialist levels.
• Special Education Preservice Program Improvement Grants: Seeks to support the improvement and restructuring of K-12 special education teacher preparation programs to ensure that program graduates meet the highly qualified teacher requirements of IDEA and ESEA and effectively serve children with high-incidence disabilities.
An overarching theme throughout the three grant programs is the need to focus on students with disabilities who may also be at risk for educational failure because they are living in poverty, are far below grade level, are at risk of not graduating with a regular diploma on time, are homeless, are in foster care, have been incarcerated, or are English language learners. Additionally, the grants all require consideration of Universal Design for Learning principles, which calls for providing students with multiple means of presentation of curriculum, enabling students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills using multiple means of expression, and using various strategies to engage students. CEC has been an active member of the National UDL Taskforce and applauds the inclusion of UDL in this grant announcement.
More information on grants.