Results of Two National Surveys of Leadership Personnel Needs in Deaf Education

Article excerpt

Seventy university teacher preparation programs and 100 instructional programs serving at least 120 deaf and hard of hearing students were surveyed separately to (a) determine the demand for additional doctoral-level leadership personnel in deaf education, (b) obtain guidance for university leadership preparation programs in deaf education for the purpose of recruiting leadership personnel, and (c) identify experiences that would be relevant to the positions for which prospective leadership personnel are preparing. Data representing 54% of teacher preparation programs and 65% of instructional programs serving deaf and hard of hearing students in the United States evince the need for additional doctoral-- level personnel for faculty positions in university teacher preparation programs in deaf education, as well as the need for leadership positions in instructional programs serving deaf and hard of hearing children. Data also provide direction for leadership preparation programs in addressing the leadership personnel needs of the field.

Is there a shortage of qualified candidates for faculty positions in university teacher preparation programs and leadership positions in instructional programs serving deaf and hard of hearing children? Is there a shortage of leadership personnel who are deaf or hard of hearing or belong to underrepresented racial-ethnic groups? What can universities do to address personnel needs in deaf education? The results of the two surveys reported in the present article address these questions.

Background

Historically, there has been a shortage of teachers and leadership personnel in deaf education in the United States, especially leadership personnel who are deaf or hard of hearing or belong to underrepresented racial-ethnic groups.

Corbett and Jensema (1981), reporting on 5,000 teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students, found underrepresentation of deaf, minority, and male instructors, and recommended changes in training and employment practices.

Moores (2001) has reported similar findings. Specifically, of the 213 teachers reporting in his study, 90% identified themselves as White and 10% identified themselves as minority. Further, 85% of the teachers identified themselves as hearing, while only 15% identified themselves as deaf or hard of hearing.

Andrews and Jordan (1993) surveyed 349 instructional programs in the United States serving deaf and hard of hearing students to determine the proportion of teachers and administrators from underrepresented racial-ethnic groups. Of the 5,166 teachers and 877 administrators represented in that study, 90% of teachers serving deaf and hard of hearing students were White, 7% were Black, 2% were Hispanic, and 1% were of Asian Pacific descent. These findings are similar to those found for all special educators (Boe, Cook, Bobbitt, & Terbanian, 1998). Andrews and Jordan (1993) also found that of the administrators of programs serving deaf and hard of hearing students, 89% were White, 6% were Black, 4% were Hispanic, and less than 1% were Asian Pacific.

Deaf Digest, an on-line news service, listed 17 incumbent superintendents of residential programs serving deaf and hard of hearing students who were themselves deaf or hard of hearing ("Number of Superintendents," 1998). Interestingly, these represent only 27% of the superintendents of the 63 residential schools listed in the 1998 reference issue of the American Annals of the Deaf ("Educational Programs," 1998). This percentage may seem small, but considering that 30 years ago there were no deaf superintendents, the number of current deaf superintendents represents a significant improvement.

More recent, but indirect, evidence of a shortage of leadership personnel in deaf education comes from a national study of teacher placement officials and public school employers in the United States (American Association for Employment in Education, 1998). …