Monthly Archives: October 2012

Education and Special Education Disproportionality

For those who do not grasp the problem of disproportionality of minority placements in special education, an excellent reference document has been published by the National Education Association, called Truth in Labeling : Disproportionality in Special Education (2007).

http://www.nccrest.org/Exemplars/Disporportionality_Truth_In_Labeling.pdf

It is an excellent basic document but does not go far enough to place the problem into the “larger context.”  It is now evident that, with respect to black children, most of their formal experiences are disproportional.  They are more likely to be placed in detention and some black leaders state school and community miscatagorizations are the gateway to prison, where disproportionality is also a problem.  Foster care statistics show the same pattern.

Now the NEA five years later needs to call for some kind of accountability.  It is not enough simply to identify the problem.

 ““We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race […] deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.” – U.S. Supreme Court, Brown v. Board of Education(1954)”

http://urbanyouthjustice.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/special-education-means-no-education-for-many-youth-of-color/

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16. The Future of School Speech-Language Pathology

Members of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association must publish a policy statement taking a strong professional stand against special education disproportionality.  The National Education Association in 2007 published a seminal paper on the subject, setting out the issues in a comprehensive and clear manner.  It was published formally and registered with the Library of Congress.

ASHA should be among progressive professional organizations against disproportional representation of minority pupils.

We commend the NEA and school psychology for leadership and perspective:

“All stakeholders—classroom teachers, related service providers, parents and community leaders, school and district decision makers, and state and federal policymakers—play an important role in decreasing disproportionality and improving educational outcomes for students.  Working together, we can make a difference.”

 Truth in labeling : disproportionality in special education. 2007   National Education Association of the United States.

http://www.nccrest.org/Exemplars/Disporportionality_Truth_In_Labeling.pdf

“We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race […] deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.” – U.S. Supreme Court, Brown v. Board of Education(1954)

 http://urbanyouthjustice.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/special-education-means-no-education-for-many-youth-of-color/

15. The Future of School Speech-Language Pathology

The ASHA policy statement, “Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Schools,” should become an ongoing advisory to all academic training programs to ensure these programs prepare school SLPs for effective service.  It should be incorporated into accreditation policies and procedures with feedback to the Membership so that members can comment on the progress made.  Such efforts should implement the following statement:

“Professional Preparation — SLPs must be fully prepared to meet the needs of the diverse student body they will be called upon to serve in the myriad roles and responsibilities outlined in this document. The range and complexity of student problems require at a minimum well-prepared, master’s level professionals with a strong knowledge base in speech-language/literacy development and speech-language/literacy disorder, as well as a strong skill set in diagnosis, intervention, and workload management at the pre-service level.  (emphasis mine) New or expanded roles may require high quality professional development for SLPs already in the schools.”

http://www.asha.org/docs/html/PI2010-00317.html

The ASHA Board of Directors needs to make sure academic programs implement this advice.  Sample course outlines should be developed and shared with academic program directors.  Where will reading be inserted into the curriculum?Prescribed clinical clock hours  should be devoted  to reading along with a long list of new critical skills.

14. The Future of School Speech-Language Pathology

Kids stuff for school.

ASHA once and for all must make an investment in the School Office.  It is invisible in the discourse of evolving school policy.  It was on track when Dr. Kathleen Whitmire was director but it is not leading the way in school reform.

Without historical budget information available, we suggest tripling the budget for the School Office.  It should be led by two experienced doctoral level directors with vast experience in schools.  It should have a monthly page in the ASHA Leader.   The directors must address issues in detail without regard for politically correct statements.  The School Office should have adequate space and clerical support.  In the ASHA building it should be apparent to  visitors as a significant business office. One director should be a permanent member of the Board of Directors.

13. The Future of School Speech-Language Pathology

In a prior post we made it clear school SLPs must take charge of their positions and change assumptions learned in graduate school.  Reform must be supported by the Membership, and for change to occur school SLPs must interact with  the Board of Directors.  Reform requires membership advocacy.

CASELOAD DECISIONS

“Without a union, school speech-language pathologists have been struggling on their own to get states to adopt caseload size standards with modest success.  Hence they have been left to ask for more help from administrators who have many personnel requests and budget problems.  

Now in February 2011 we see nationwide budget cuts in schools where special education personnel are being laid off (along with other personnel).  The strategy of asking for more SLP support money is for now dead  in the water.

Girl Scouts Marching on Main Street.

Here at SSP we advocate for school SLPs to take control of their own destinies, to ethically reduce the number of children placed and retained in special education, and to reduce caseloads thereby.  Creative use of consultation and collaboration plus support for response to intervention with reference to reading support are approaches which can broaden the productive role of school SLPs during these times of limited resources.”

12. The Future of School Speech-Language Pathology

ASHA bylaws indicate practice standards are a priority:

“To foster improvement of clinical services and intervention procedures concerning such disorders;”

http://www.asha.org/policy/BY2012-00329.htm#sec1.1.2

Update May 2014

Our recent study of curriculum indicates ASHA has an ineffective and dysfunctional curriculum process. Reform is necessary.

11. The Future of School Speech-Language Pathology

Public relations, both with the ASHA Membership and with the general public, is now dependent on progressive use of the internet and social media.  The opportunity is to communicate back and forth with school  SLPs.  Key is the Board of Directors representing us.  Their work needs to be disclosed in detail so there is no possibility of “inside baseball.”

The body of knowledge existing in the ASHA archives now includes the body of knowledge existing electronically on the ASHA website  and beyond.  The case is made by the Sunlight Foundation,  which recommends…  “redefining “public” information as meaning “online”…  This presents a clear standard for how an organization self-defines as a public entity.

“The Sunlight Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike. We are committed to improving access to government information by making it available online, indeed redefining “public” information as meaning “online,” and by creating new tools and websites to enable individuals and communities to better access that information and put it to use.”

1818 N Street NW Suite 300 Washington, DC 20036 contact@sunlightfoundation.com, Telephone: 202-742-1520 http://sunlightfoundation.com/

Transparency depends partly on having a clear  appropriate mission statement, public  records of voting procedures, and well crafted policy statements as to how  school practice should be  carried out.  There also needs to be clear links in policy with academic programs responsible for preparing school SLPs.  Public relations starts with clear open messages.

10. The Future of School Speech-Language Pathology

We need to know more about ASHA public relations with an eye  to supporting practice in schools.  What are the present target audiences?  How much money is spent on public relations for school SLPs?  Educators need to know what we do, including that we are not “speech therapists.”  They need to know we do more than pull out service and have the skills for collaboration with  teachers.  The message must go directly to education venues.  Much of the money spent on public relations now is aimed at members and not the general public.  There needs to be reports on what has been done and what outcomes have been achieved.

When one looks at the ASHA  website school practice is buried deeply in a mission which embeds school practice under “speech-language pathology.”  A lack of focus on school practice on the ASHA website buries the message.

The public image is years behind reality.  Even universities have moved on to refer to “communication disorders” in stead of all the various names for SLPs?  Why the disconnect between the educational institutions and the ASHA board of directors?

Our most popular post of interest shows how the image of speech-language pathology is fractured confusing the public mind to a greater degree:

School “Speech-Language Pathology” vs. “Speech Therapy”

9. The Future of School Speech-Language Pathology

To reform school speech-language pathology in the United States, members must have Greater Transparency! in the operation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This starts with the activities of  the Board of Directors.

Article IV — Board of Directors
4.1. Power and Authority
4.1.1. The Association shall be governed by the Board of Directors.

4.1.2. The Board of Directors is the single governing body of the Association and shall actively promote the objectives of the Association, operating in accordance with and administering and implementing the programs and policies established by these Bylaws and by the Board of Directors. Members of the Board of Directors are elected to serve by and are accountable to the members of the Association.

 We need to know  more  about meetings, budgets and policies, and less about the expansion of Association into peripheral activities.

Detailed budget information needs to be published openly so that school SLPs see how much money is invested in the area of practice which includes half the membership.  The Board needs to spell out this 2012 resolution:

“BOD 20-2012, Resolved,  That the long-term investment policy of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, dated May 2012, be approved.”

Transparency includes public forums for true debate of BOD actions.  The Association is closed-off, having a black  hole for “INPUT”  to decision-makers.  Proposals should be public with open discussion give and take.  Directors need to respond in kind.  This has become a standard practice on the internet.  One should not have to sign up to make comments.  Detailed minutes should be published across platforms of communication. The budget needs to be debated to make sure allocations to school programs are wise and fairly made.

http://www.asha.org/About/governance/BOD/Board-of-Directors-2012-Resolutions-and-Motions/

Directors in Washington, D.C., representing a non-profit organization, can seek assistance on transparency from the Sunlight Foundation:

“The Sunlight Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike. We are committed to improving access to government information by making it available online, indeed redefining “public” information as meaning “online,” and by creating new tools and websites to enable individuals and communities to better access that information and put it to use.”

1818 N Street NW Suite 300 Washington, DC 20036 contact@sunlightfoundation.com, Telephone: 202-742-1520 http://sunlightfoundation.com/