NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Overwhelmed by Government Paperwork, Special-Ed Teachers Flee

June 21, 2002

Congress has piled so many reporting requirements on special-education teachers that many are leaving the profession. In 1999-2000, more than 12,000 special-education positions were left vacant or filled by a substitute.

They say there is no excuse for all the paperwork they must fill out -- adding more frustrations to an already-frustrating profession. Principals who oversee the paperwork say they are overwhelmed too.

  • In some cases, teachers must document daily the progress each child is making.
  • Individual files on students can run to five inches thick.
  • It is not unusual for teachers to spend 50 minutes of their planning period on federal and state forms -- and at least an hour every day after school.
  • A survey of special-ed teachers in Washington state revealed that 40 percent planned to exit the profession within five years.

Source: Editorial, "Paperwork Pushes Patience of Special-Ed Teachers," USA Today, June 19, 2002.


Browse more articles on Education Issues