Data in a 75-page PESB report released in March show a 309% jump in the number of conditional and emergency teaching licenses issued by the state in the decade preceding the 2017-18 school year. The writers of the report pointed to this increase as further evidence of a teacher shortage.

A shortage of special education teachers is particularly acute, and presents extraordinary challenges. As Washington contends with a sparse teaching force, the number of students requiring special education services is growing rapidly.

Washington schools served nearly 170,650 students in special education programs during the 2018-19 school year — a 15% increase since 2014-15 and triple the overall enrollment growth. But the amount of trained, licensed teachers available to support them isn’t keeping pace; the percentage of temporary teaching licenses issued

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