Promoting Change Within Special Education Teacher Preparation Programs: A Collision of Needs
The United States is experiencing a systemic teacher shortage (Sutcher et al., 2016). This trend is not new to the field of special education, which has been experiencing teacher shortages for decades (Boe, 2006; McLeskey & Billingsley, 2008; U.S. Department of Education, 2020). To address these critical shortages of teachers in the field, states have created Alternative Routes to Licensure (ARL) options, which are commonly seen as non-traditional approaches to gaining teaching credentials. Although the disruptive practice of ARL is already in place, the evidence to support its effectiveness is not. This paper explores the experiences of junior faculty members working as agents of change by disrupting one special education department’s ARL program. Emphasis is given to the system supports in place to change the ARL and existing systemic barriers to these changes at the department, college and university levels. Additionally, structures which aided or hindered completing programmatic work from the perspective of the untenured faculty members are also discussed.