Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

National Association of School Psychologists Federal Public Policy and Legislative Platform for the First Session of the 115th Congress (2017-2018)

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

National Association of School Psychologists Federal Public Policy and Legislative Platform for the First Session of the 115th Congress (2017-2018)

Article excerpt

The vision of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is that all children and youth thrive in school, at home, and throughout life. NASP is committed to ensuring that all students-whatever their race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender (including identification and expression), sexual orientation, disability status, language proficiency, or immigration status-receive a high quality public education in a positive, safe, supportive, and inclusive educational environment that is free of bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence and promotes student learning.

Critical to this effort is ensuring adequate and equitable access to school psychologists and comprehensive school psychological services. The 2017-2018 Public Policy and Legislative Platform represents overarching policy goals and recommendations that support the mission and vision of NASP, promote the guiding principles articulated in Ready to Learn, Empowered to Teach and NASP position statements, and help advance the NASP key initiatives. The platform also includes specific legislative and regulatory goals for the first session of the 115th Congress. This document will be periodically updated to reflect new legislation or policy proposals relevant to our platform. Although this document is specific to federal policy issues, state school psychology associations could adapt these goals to fit the specific advocacy and policy goals of their states and local districts.

REMEDY THE SHORTAGES IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY: KEY POLICY OBJECTIVES

* Ensure Congress, the Department of Education, and other relevant agencies prioritize technical assistance and guidance to assist state and district efforts to recruit and retain school psychologists. This includes a long-term and sustained commitment to align staffing ratios with recommendations generated from national professional organizations to allow for the delivery of a full range of services.

* Expand Health Service Corps Loan Forgiveness grants to include licensed and/or certified school psychologists.

* Secure Congressional appropriations to allow for loan forgiveness of school psychologists as granted under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

* Encourage Congress and/or the Department of Education and relevant credentialing bodies to create pathways to grant credentialing reciprocity for school psychologists across state lines, such as the Nationally Certified School Psychologist certificate, to help remedy the shortages in rural and other underserved areas.

* Maintain, at a minimum, level funding for Behavioral Health Workforce Grants, administered by HRSA, which provide financial support for school psychology interns with a specific focus on those serving in rural or underserved communities.

* Amend federal data collections, such as the CRDC and other data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, to collect and report data on the number of FTE school psychologists. Further, these collections should be amended to require the reporting of FTE school psychologists employed by the school district. Current data collections aggregate several professions into one category, resulting in the misrepresentation of available service professionals.

* Advance legislation that increases access to fully certified and/or licensed school psychologists.

* Restrict, minimize, or limit alternate or emergency credentialing that allows related professionals to supplant school psychologists when providing school psychological services.

Supporting Legislation

Increased Student Achievement Through Increased Student Support Act. Directs the Secretary of Education to award competitive, renewable, 5-year grants to partnerships between low-income local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools offering graduate programs in school counseling, social work, or psychology to increase the number of program graduates employed by low-income LEAs. …

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