Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trouble with a Capital "T" and that Stands for Removing Psychs from the CSE

If you're from New York and are a member of the New York Association of School Psychologists (NYASP), your email has been all abuzz lately regarding mandate relief. Earlier this year, the NYS Educational Dept (NYSED) was asked to make "mandate relief and flexibility" recommendations to the Governor's Office to see where they could find money in the budget. Preliminary recommendations included a proposal to remove the mandate for school psychologists to be part of the Committee on Special Education (CSE) and other recommendations related to psychological assessments.

NYASP has been working throughout the year with legislators in NYS to not allow such proposals to be accepted by the Board of Regents. Local and statewide legislators advocated heavily for NYASP and school psychologists across the state, citing the vast mental health knowledge and expertise of school psychologists in making determinations regarding the welfare of students. Over the summer, there was a public comment period, where psychologists, parents, legislators, school staff, and other supporters could comment on the proposals. The support for school psychologists was huge, coming from organizations such as NYSUT, the UFT, NYS PTA, and the NYS Psychological Association and everywhere in between.

At the Board of Regents meeting this month, they voted to remove the school psychologist as a mandated member of the CSE with the exception of initial eligibility determination meetings. They also voted to remove the additional parent member and physician/school nurse. Finally, they voted to repeal the psychologist's ability to determine the need for additional data during reevaluations. This is a huge, degrading blow to the profession. School psychologists, parents, teachers, administrators, and related services personnel are outraged. Thankfully, no changes will be made immediately. Any change like this requires a change in the law, which could take a long time due to the need for action of the NYS Legislature. NYASP is planning an all-out  assault (of the email, rally, phone call, and visits with legislators variety) to try and deter these decisions from become law.

I'd love to hear what my gentle readers think about the decision to remove school psychologists from the CSE and limit their say in evaluations. Like most others, I am outraged, nervous, and offended by the decision made by a few people not in the profession over budgetary concerns, which will affect thousands of psychologists and tens of thousands of children. Is this an issue that has come up in other states? Are psychologists mandated members of the CSE where you work? Are there limitations on your job responsibilities and how you conduct your evaluations?

School psychologists who would like to contact our legislators regarding mandate relief are encouraged to check out The New York State Assembly website and The New York State Senate website. Heck, even if you're not a New Yorker, we could use your support!

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  1. What is a CSE? We don't use that term in Oklahoma where I practice.

    P.S. I love your blog. You've given me lots of good ideas and things to think about.

    Kimberly Brown, NCSP

  2. Thanks for the comment, Kimberly! I try to type out acronyms for those who use different terms, but must've forgotten this time--fixed now! CSE stands for Committee on Special Education, the team that determines eligibility for special education services, develops Individual Education Plans, and makes sure they're implemented to fidelity. What term do you use in Oklahoma?

  3. Oh! That's what I figured, but I thought I'd better check for sure. We call them multidisciplinary teams.



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