Legislative Goals

Legislative Goals

ODSS’ Legislative and Administrative Priorities for 2018-19

Legislative Priorities:

• Provide a level of funding that will enable districts to support the maintenance and creation of appropriate programs and services for students with disabilities, including sufficient funds to
   o attract and retain special education teachers, paraprofessionals and related service personnel and
   o meet the many and unique needs of students with multiple disabilities, autism, mental health issues and hearing and vision impairments

• Develop a long-term plan to compensate teachers and support personnel appropriately, building on the pay raise passed during the 2018 legislative session

• Take effective and immediate action designed to help school districts attract and retain qualified
   o special education teachers and
   o related service providers, such as speech-language pathologists, physical and occupational therapists, certified school psychologists, behavior         
     consultants/specialists and educational interpreters for students who are deaf or hearing impaired
• Consider adoption of a three-tiered pay system for special education paraprofessionals (example – Tier 3, the top level, for special education paraprofessionals who, as a result of their assignment, require the highest level of specialized training and face the greatest risk of potential injury)

• Ensure that any new mandate that requires school districts to screen for and/or treat various impairments is well-thought out and supported by sufficient funding and a realistic timeline for effective implementation

• Develop a multi-phase plan of legislative action intended to establish a university-affiliated research and treatment facility with day school and residential options designed for students with autism spectrum disorders who, due to significant self-injurious and/or physically aggressive behaviors, need placement outside of the local school district, and including a training component for university students, school personnel and parents

Priorities for the State Department of Education and other state agencies:

• Take effective and immediate action designed to help school districts attract and retain
qualified
   o special education teachers and
   o related service providers, such as speech-language pathologists, physical and
      occupational therapists, school psychologists, behavior consultants/specialists
      and educational interpreters for students who are deaf or hearing impaired
• Combine the current mild-moderate and severe-profound special education certificates
into one special education certificate

• If the two current special education certifications are combined into one, grandfather
into the one category all of those individuals who currently have category-specific
certification

• Create additional paths to training and certification for teachers of students with visual
and/or hearing impairments and for orientation and mobility specialists

• Provide free/low-cost, easily accessible training (online and/or throughout different
regions of the state) designed to help school staff members at all levels work more
effectively with students who have significant emotional and/or behavioral issues that
impede learning

• Collaborate with institutions of higher education to enable appropriately trained
graduate students to provide free/low-cost assistance and coaching to school personnel
working with students who have significant emotional and/or behavioral issues that
impede learning, with the goal of improving outcomes for those students and building
school capacity. SDE’s previous Memorandum of Understanding with UCO should be
expanded to include other universities, if needed, to reach more schools and students

• Provide more and varied free/low-cost, easily accessible training designed to help
school staff members at all levels across a broad range of disability-related issues,
including selecting and providing appropriate accommodations/supports for students
with all sorts of impairments in the general education setting

• Collaborate (via inter-agency agreement or otherwise) to provide free/low-cost
therapeutic services or links to such services for students with mental health issues
• Continue to collaborate with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to eliminate obstacles
to district billing/payment for services deemed necessary by student IEP teams

• Continue efforts to ensure appropriate assessment of students with disabilities,
especially students with the most significant cognitive impairments

• Reduce/combine special ed paperwork requirements to minimize teacher time away
from instruction and anticipate, prepare for and promptly and effectively address
impediments to prompt access to accurate student records and information maintained
on EdPlan and other student data systems


Click Here to download the Approved 2016-17 ODSS Legislative Goals in pdf format.