The CT-SEDS Crisis: How a Flawed Reporting System is Wreaking Havoc on Special Education Teachers

The Connecticut Special Education Data System (CT-SEDS), rolled out this school year, is causing frustration among special education teachers. The system was designed for reporting special education compliance but has turned into a burden for teachers who received little training before having to use the platform. According to special education teachers who spoke at the State Board of Education meeting, the CT-SEDS is leading to teacher burnout and high turnover in the profession.

Georgann Stokes, a special education teacher in Cromwell, described the negative impact that the CT-SEDS has had on her students. “Due to this digital system, I have had to use most of my daily planning time to problem-solve scenarios and help my colleagues to navigate this system. The quality of my lessons has been diminished, which directly impacts the progress of my students.” Stephanie Wanzer, CEA Treasurer and a special education teacher at Cooperative Educational Services, echoed this sentiment, saying that this year has been one of the hardest in her teaching career.

Special education teacher Danielle Fragoso from Daniel Hand High School in Madison reported that it takes her about two and a half hours to complete one Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in CT-SEDS, despite having used the system for several months. Teachers also reported numerous glitches in the system, including information being wiped out, duplicated, or lost, causing delays and extra work for teachers.

CEA President Kate Dias stated that it is time to look at the entire field of special education and consider ways to make the job more tenable. Stephanie Wanzer also asked the State Board and Department of Education to allocate funds to hire more paraeducators and administrative help, compensate educators for the added hours of work, and train a new workforce of educators to remedy the special education teacher shortage.

The State Department of Education has allocated $2.7 million for local districts for stipends to provide some relief for special education teachers. However, this amount does not compensate teachers for the extra 20-30 hours per month they spend on CT-SEDS compliance, much of which occurs during evenings and weekends.

Special education teachers are calling for a better rollout of initiatives and to be considered in their needs. They believe a dedicated phone/helpline and compensation for the extra time spent on their work would be a good start.

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