Bethune-Cookman University uses grant to boost Special Education

Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida has received a $1.25 million grant from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services through the U.S. Department of Education that will be used to launch a program called Project Child. The initiative aims to graduate 70 master level special education teachers through a fully online program to meet the growing demand for these educators.

The Council for Exceptional Children reports that there are 49 states, including Florida, with a shortage of teachers in classrooms where there are 600 million children or youth with disabilities.

According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal online, Willis Walter, dean of the school’s college of education said, “There is a critical shortage throughout the nation. And one of the ways that we’re hoping to assist with that battle is giving more students an incentive to go into the field.”

In an effort to bring in more students who want to pursue special education, Bethune-Cookman is offering a fully online master’s degree program. The $1.25 million grant will be used to award scholarships for the program with a goal to recruit, retain and graduate 70 master level teachers.

Schools need to serve all children, and that includes students with disabilities. Unfortunately, the extreme shortage of special education teachers makes this a challenge. We need more high quality special education teachers in our classrooms to help our students with disability grow and develop — and ultimately help place these students on the path to success.

I am ecstatic that Bethune-Cookman University is making an effort to increase the number of special education teachers in our country — special education is a necessary component of education. I hope that the online master’s program will generate excitement and result in a higher number of special education graduates.

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