May 30, 2019
In this report, researchers explore the extent to which supports are available to both general and special educators who teach students with high-incidence disabilities. Research has established the importance of a supportive school culture, collaboration and planning time, resources and training, and data, but little is known about teachers' nationwide access to them and how school-level factors influence the prevalence of such supports.
The extent to which students with high-incidence disabilities (SWDs) are afforded effective and specialized instruction depends, in large part, upon the support their teachers receive. Certain teacher supports are essential for effectively serving SWDs, including a supportive school culture, collaboration and planning time, resources and training, and access to data and tools for using data. In this report, we explore the extent to which these supports are available to general and special educators, based on the results of the Measurement, Learning, and Improvement Survey to the RAND American Teacher Panel, a survey administered to a nationally representative sample of teachers. While research has established the importance of these supports, little is known about teachers' access to them on the nationwide level and about how school-level factors (such as grade levels served, percentage of minority students, and poverty level) influence the prevalence of teacher supports. Overall, teachers' access to support for serving SWDs varied by type of support, teacher role, and school level. General educators and teachers at the high school level were significantly less likely to report having sufficient access to support. Planning and release time were among the supports least often deemed sufficient by both general and special educators.