Mitchem, Katherine, Katie Kossar &

Some feared the need for teachers to have multiple certifications to be considered highly qualified may prove nearly impossible for many school districts. As the demand for special education teachers increases, many specialists will be drawn to more wealthy school districts that offer higher salaries and more resources for teachers. While it is true that many of the respondents praised the accountability aspect of NCLB, its effects upon the actual quality of education of special needs students is more ambiguous.

The article solicited both qualitatively and quantitatively documented responses, and the response of one teacher seems to perfectly sum up the thesis of the article: “The definition of a rural teacher is someone that can teach everything to everyone. NCLB denies that this type of flexibility is important [sic].” Because of NCLBs demand for specialization, rural educators and rural education as a whole will be more hard-pressed to meet NCLB demands than urban districts with greater human as well as economic resources.

However, as valid as these concerns may be, there is also a serious question if special needs children are indeed having their educational needs met in rural districts that have teachers without substantive coursework in needed curricular areas. NCLB objectives may highlight deficits that need to be addressed in the context of rural special education; however there are serious questions if the approaches that it encourages, such as teaching to the test, or the unintentional incentives it creates for teachers to leave rural areas, justify the benefits of knowledge it brings.


Mitchem, Katherine, Katie Kossar & Barbara L. Ludlow. (2006, Summer). Finite resources, increasing demands: Rural children left behind? Educators speak out on issues facing rural.

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