UF’s College of Education getting $25M


Published: Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:58 p.m.

The University of Florida’s College of Education is getting $25 million over the next five years to improve the teaching of children with disabilities.

UF officials announced on Monday that the U.S. Department of Education has granted the first of five annual $5 million awards to the college for the effort. The money will be used to establish a center supporting the development of both general and special education teachers to better serve students with disabilities.

Those students are often placed in general education classrooms, yet teachers in those classrooms lack training in working with them, said Mary Brownell, UF special education professor and co-principal investigator for the grant.

“Most general education teachers have one course” in special education, she said. “Most people would consider that insufficient.”

The effort will also be aimed at principals and district administrators who receive even less special education training, Brownell said.

The new Collaboration for Educator Development and Accountability and Reform, or CEDAR Center, is planned to open in January in the College of Education’s Norman Hall home.

The center will work with states in strengthening professional standards and reforming teacher preparation and certification programs. It also will help states align their teacher evaluation systems with those standards, according to UF.

The UF group, including Brownell and co-principal investigators Paul Sindelar and Erica McCray, will be working through the center with outside groups to develop a special education reform program for 20 states.

Brownell said the effort will help students with disabilities ranging from dyslexia to severe intellectual and physical disabilities.

“That’s what makes it challenging … This is a very diverse group of students that we’re talking about,” she said.

Contact staff reporter Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or nathan.crabbe@gvillesun.com. Visit www.thecampussun.com for more stories on the University of Florida.

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