Legislative Goals

Legislative Goals

ODSS Legislative and Administrative Priorities for 2021

Approved by the ODSS Executive Committee on November 19, 2020

 

Legislative Priorities:

  • Provide a level of funding that will enable districts to support the maintenance and creation of research-based programs and services delivered in a traditional, virtual or hybrid format for students with disabilities, including sufficient funds to
    • attract and retain special education teachers, Level 2 paraprofessionals and related service personnel and
    • 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 raises passed during the 2018 and 2019 legislative sessions
  • Take effective and immediate action designed to help school districts attract and retain qualified
    • special education teachers and Level 2 paraprofessionals and
    • 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
  • 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
  • Develop a plan to reestablish and fund special education technical assistance centers in various areas of the state under the Oklahoma State Department of Education to assist school districts in that region with resources, training, behavior coaching, related services and student evaluation

 

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
    • special education teachers and Level 2 paraprofessionals and
    • 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
  • Offer frequent, free/low-cost, easily accessible and optional training (online and/or throughout different regions of the state) about different types of disabilities/impairments, similar to the OHI and other registry trainings OSDE previously offered
  • Create additional paths to training and certification for teachers of students with visual and/or hearing impairments and for orientation and mobility specialists
  • Provide frequent, 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 Memorandum of Understanding with UCO should be expanded to include other universities, as appropriate, to reach more schools and students
  • Provide more and varied frequent, 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, the Governor’s Office and others 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 education paperwork and other requirements to minimize teacher time away from instruction
  • Anticipate, prepare for and promptly and effectively address impediments to prompt access to accurate student records and information maintained on EdPlan, the WAVE and other student data systems, including but not limited to the impediments that historically arise near the beginning of each school year and interfere with the prompt transmission of student records and information to students’ school sites