22 Special Ed Positions Unfilled

Waterloo Schools reports that they have been unable to fill 22 special education teaching positions, according to the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. They say the biggest need is at the high school level but that every level is experiencing the shortage. Special education teachers often site burnout as to why they leave the role. The school district and the Central Rivers Area Education Agency blame the shortage on the COVID-19 pandemic. They say they are seeing more students that need special education intervention at the elementary level because they had little to no interaction with other kids during the pandemic and do not have enough teachers to meet that need. They argue that the number of older students that need special education also expanded because they missed a portion of a key grade during the pandemic. The school district says they are looking into creative ways to cover the special education need.