Teacher knowledge about teaching reading is a critical predictor of how much students will learn. What teacher education colleges teach about reading was addressed by the State Board of Education last year when the Board began requiring that new teachers be taught how to teach reading before the Board would approve teacher preparation programs. In a nationwide study of how many colleges use a curriculum that addresses literacy showed that the majority of colleges don't teach elementary school teachers how to teach students to read. This may be hard for the average person to understand. After all, isn't the fundamental purpose of an elementary school to teach students how to read and write?
Further, when a student is having difficulty in learning to read through the curriculum used for the general student population, teachers often don't know how to diagnose what type of intervention the student needs.
Last year when the Douglas County School District sought waivers from the State Board of Education in order to train their own teachers, they cited a high percentage of students probably mislabeled as "special education" students when they simply hadn't learned to read through the curriculum routinely offered in the classroom. The Douglas County School District sought the means to address this head-on by training professionals to teach students to read through a variety of methods, rather than putting them in the special ed track.
This means that most elementary school teachers won't know how to address the nontraditional learner unless the school provides professional development which specifically addresses this deficit.