One Teacher's Voice

Think.Learn.Know.Act

Talking points for REPA II

For more information on REPA II, see the REPA II awareness letter previously posted from Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) Executive Committee and IUPUI. The following is directly copied and pasted from the original open Google Doc. (I changed some of the formatting for visual emphasis)

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The Indiana Department of Education has proposed many changes to special education licensure that will directly impact you and your students.  It is critical that parents and teachers who have concerns regarding these proposed changes make public comments as soon as the website opens, which was slated for Thursday, May 24th, yet is always subject to change.

Once the website for Public Comments opens, there will be a 21 day window to post your comment.  At the conclusion of the 21 days there will be ONE Public Hearing where you will have the opportunity to personally speak of your concerns and address any issues you may have.  Again, there will only be ONE opportunity to do this, please take advantage of it!

Below you will find some suggested topics for making your public comment.  We want to encourage you to speak from your own experiences, so please use these ideas as a spring board and revise as needed to make it personal.

Please forward this information to teachers, administrators, and parents.  As the school year comes quickly to an end it is important that this information get into the hands of as many teachers and parents as possible!  Below you will find a link to a website and a facebook page [note: links not provided in original Google doc] that will provide you with the most up-to-date information as it becomes available.

Thank you for ALL you do to support and educate the students of Indiana!

PUBLIC COMMENTS TALKING POINTS

For Parents

The below statements are issues of concern for many parents of children with disabilities.  Please feel free to use these ideas individual or in combination when submitting your public comment.

Parents 1
Passing a test is not enough to ensure that my child’s Special Education teacher is ready to address my child’s learning needs.  I expect my child’s teacher to understand my child’s disability, and know how to teach him/her.  (Insert something about your child…My son Steven has difficulty reading and needs his teacher to know instructional strategies related to his disability…)

Parent 2
As a parent, I see myself as an active partner in my child’s education.  It is important for me to be able to discuss my concerns and contribute to the planning for my child’s future.  I want my daughter’s special education teacher to be able to participate and interact with me in these discussions, working with me to develop an IEP.   This is a problem already, even with teachers who are fully prepared and I can only imagine how much more difficult this would be with a teacher who received their license only by taking a test. (Insert a personal experience here)

Parent 3
My child has a civil right to a free, appropriate, public education according to federal law.  Reducing the skill level of my child’s special educator raises concern about the State of Indiana ensuring my child’s civil right.

For Teachers

The below statements are issues of concern for special education teachers in the state of Indiana.  Please feel free to use these ideas individual or in combination when submitting your public comment.

Teachers 1
As a teacher, passing a test does not demonstrate that I have the skills needed to apply them in the classroom.  (Insert a personal experience here… “ I may know about various “textbook” strategies to teach a child who is struggling with reading, but actually using those strategies in the presence of a real student requires more than my knowledge

Teachers 2
The job of a special educator is multifaceted and includes many tasks beyond instruction.  Working with families and other professionals to ensure a quality education for students with disabilities, requires interpersonal and organizational skills that can only be develop through direct application acquired during field experiences and student teaching opportunities.  These experiences provide critical reflection through the teacher education process.  (Insert a personal experience where you benefitted from or needed some guidance in this area, e.g. working with a mentor or cooperating teacher.)

Teacher 3
The REPA II proposal violates the intention of federal legislation, IDEIA and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, which requires well trained “highly qualified” teachers to provide free appropriate public education to student with disabilities.  REPA II undermines this intent by watering down a teacher’s qualification thereby diminishing the skill level of a special educator.

Teacher 4
Given the complexity of my job as a special educator, I am concerned about my administrator’s ability to adequately evaluate my effectiveness.  I am opposed to the idea that my administrator can determine my ability to maintain my licensure.  Administrators can decide if I can remain on an emergency license indefinitely or lose it.  Or as a teacher on a Professional License, my administrator’s evaluation can determine if I keep my “Professional” status or change to a “Probationary” status.  (Insert an example – How does my administrator’s previous experience as a (insert here: elementary teacher, PE teachers, coach, etc) inform him/her about special education?)

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