adjunct interventions to address various skill or emotional deficits (e.g., anger control, social skills instruction). Such individualized programs should be carefully articulated through the use of IEPs, coupled with systematic assessments of the child’s behavioral response to the interventions.
To support the proposed changes, school psychologists and special education teachers would need preparation that is different in some respects from that now required.
Recommendation TQ.3: A credential as a school psychologist or special education teacher should require instruction in classroom observation/assessment and in teacher support to work with a struggling student or with a gifted student. These skills should be considered as critical to their professional role as the administration and interpretation of tests are now considered.
Instruction should prepare the professional to provide regular behavioral assessment and support for teachers who need assistance to understand and work effectively with a broad range of student behavior and achievement.
Recognizing and working with implicit and explicit racial stereotypes should be incorporated.
The proposed reform of special education that would focus on response to intervention in general education would require substantial changes in the current relationship between general and special education. It would put in place a universal prevention element that does not now exist on a widespread basis with the purpose of: (a) providing assistance to children who may now be missed and (b) obviating the need for the special education referrals that can be remedied by early high-quality intervention in the general education context. In the final analysis, the committee cannot predict the effect of this approach on the number of special education students nor on racial/ethnic disproportion, but the result, in our judgment, would be that children identified for special education services would be those truly in need of ongoing support. And if the effect of the classroom context and opportunity to learn is successfully disentangled from the student’s need for additional supports, in our view that disproportion in identification would not be as problematic as it is currently.