Special education teachers to share continued struggles of teaching, learning during pandemic

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Nov. 22,2021 – Special education teachers will be joined by Education Minnesota President Denise Specht on Tuesday afternoon to share stories of educating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second in a series of media events the state educators’ union is calling “At a breaking point: Educating during COVID-19,” special education teachers will discuss how their working conditions have been impacted, including staffing shortages and increased caseloads, paperwork and evaluations.

Specht and educators will be speaking via Zoom at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 23. Reporters can join at this link: https://edmn.zoom.us/j/97364213987. The press conference will also be shared live on Education Minnesota’s Facebook page.

COVID-19 didn’t create these issues and others facing Minnesota educators, but it did shine a brighter light on them. Education Minnesota plans to continue these media events around the state through the winter.

Specht says workload concerns for special education teachers and paraprofessionals is an issue in school districts across the state, and is calling on district leaders to use their financial resources to address it and legislative leaders to be ready to work on the issue next session.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, special education teachers were dealing with unsustainable caseloads and paperwork requirements,” said Specht. “Now, with additional learning loss evaluations and staffing shortages, the situation in our schools is even worse, and we are seeing special education teachers leaving the profession.”

Districts in Minnesota have $13 billion in federal funding to help schools during the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

“Special education services have never been properly funded by the state or federal governments,” said Specht. “We encourage districts to use the federal funding to help now and we will be asking the Legislature to find both funding and policy solutions to help make this work sustainable, even after the pandemic.”

WHAT: Press conference with Education Minnesota President Denise Specht and special education teachers from multiple districts.

WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 23, 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Zoom. Reporters may join with this link: https://edmn.zoom.us/j/97364213987. The press conference will also be shared live on Education Minnesota’s Facebook page.

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.

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