Guest Post: Senator Garvin Misses The Mark With Teacher Shortage Bills
By Deborah Campbell
Truth is, it lowers standards and harms the protected group of students under I.D.E.A.; Section 504; and the ADA.
When you read SB 1144 substitute teachers:(a) there are no limitations on the number of days the substitute can teach with a caveat; and (b) Section 1(C) says the restrictions will not apply to the protect student population (IDEA, Section 504, ADA) therefore an unqualified substitute teacher can teach beyond the limited hours/days.
Unqualified is defined as not having the formal education and training in education IN ADDITION to the formal education required for a degree in special education. It includes no experience with implementing the goals, objectives and instructional needs of the child. Not to mention is there are medical related needs.
(c) No mention or requirement that substitute teachers have the formal education, training and experience with implementing the goals, objectives and instructional needs set forth in the child’s individualized educational plans (IEP) or 504 Plan..(d) No provision to require the local school boards and OK State School Board to create a data base of applicants of retired special education teachers or unemployed special education teachers. (e) Will the substitute be qualified to instruct and implement the goals, objectives and instructional needs identified in the child’s IEP or 504 Plan? How about physical impairments such as visually impaired, blind, hard of hearing or deaf?
Next, SB 1119 Alternative Teaching Certificates: (a) I have no problem with a successful person from a profession teaching a specific trade without a degree in education for high school and trade schools.
(b) Will parents of children in general education and parents of the protected student population (I.D.E.A.; Section 504; and ADA) have accessibility to verify that person’s credentials?
(c) Is Senator Garvin and the special interest groups promoting SB1119 willing to amend the bill by removing the protected group of students from the Alternative Teacher Certificates ?
(d) Will the Alternative Certified teachers be qualified to instruct and implement the goals, objectives and instructional needs identified in each child’s IEP or 504 Plan? How about physical impairments such as visually impaired, blind, hard of hearing or deaf?
Around 2015-2016, the OK State Department of Education was promoting the Alternative Teaching Certificate and summer boot camps. The boot camp’s goal was classroom preparation. This included special education. At that time, I spoke on the phone with Joy Hofmeister regarding the boot camp and certificate program. She said it was a solution to the teacher shortage.
To this day, I don’t think parents of special needs children were aware of this.
This bothered me for two reasons:
- It de-values our special education teachers who spent money and time going beyond obtaining a general education (K-12) degree.
- The children protected by I.D.E.A; Section 504; and the ADA are not receiving a free and appropriate education (FAPE).
Another important point: Each protected child with an IEP (not a 504 plan) is designate a specific amount of federal money to be used for that child, not the classroom. For example, that money to be used for that child’s specific needs such as related services and technology. That money follows the child.
Furthermore, this conditional money has bookkeeping requirements. Has an audit ever been done on this money to see:(a) was this money put into the general funds for all students?(b) Is there an itemized expense record for each school year for that child?
These issues have not been addressed. Why?
If these questions concern you, please reach out to Senator Garvin and ask question based on the above information.
Session opens FEBRUARY 7th. Senator Garvin may be reached at 405-521-5522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.