This letter from Teri Black WOTA President is worth re-publishing. Diligence for these kinds of threats is imperative. I doubt this is the last time we will see something like this - and it serves as a demonstration of the potential weaknesses. Too many states lack the resources to meet this kind of issue head on and practitioners need to be more engaged.
Good job on this one, Wisconsin!
ACTION ALERT RESOLUTION! It Worked!!
From Teri Black WOTA President
Thank you to those who wrote to your local school board members. The resolution by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to create a new level of personnel in the therapies to deal with the shortage of Speech, OT and PT in schools was voted down at their annual convention.
The three Presidents of OT, PT and SLP Associations met with the school board association lobbyist and let him know our issues with the resolution. He agreed to ask the WASB to take OT and PT out because we had the assistant level and they were not aware of that when the resolution was written. We decided to do the action alert because they were still going to vote on the resolution and we were hoping to educate School board members about our professions. The shortages of therapies is more pronounced in Speech.
I received advice from AOTA and NBCOT and really want people to know that dealing with issues like this is where the value of your professional associations shows. Would you have known that this was happening if we hadn’t sent out the action alert? I know many took action on this and that makes a great partnership, just like AOTA and many practitioners writing to legislators kept the Medicare Therapy cap from being put into place once again. You are seeing this because you are a member please ask your colleagues who are not members to join WOTA to allow us to continue our work.
The WASB Policy & Resolutions Committee met Tuesday evening and agreed to amend the proposed resolution 14-13 as follows:
Resolution 13-14: Shortage of Speech and Language Pathologists
and Other Special Education Service Providers
Create 4.61(a) as follows:
To address shortages of DPI-licensed providers of
certain special education services (such as speech and language pathology
services , occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.), the WASB supports
recommends creation of a DPI license pathway for persons who
hold a bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders or an equivalent content
area and have received satisfactorily completed specified
additional coursework and training that would lead to a mid-level
licensure that would enable the holder of such a mid-level license to
provide such specialized specific enumerated services under the
supervision of a master’s degree-holding speech and language
pathology licensee in the area of such specialized service.
The finished product read as follows:
Create 4.61(a) as follows:
To address shortages of DPI-licensed providers of speech and language pathology services, the WASB recommends creation of a DPI license pathway for persons who hold a bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders or an equivalent content area and have satisfactorily completed specified coursework and additional training that would enable the holder of such a mid-level license to provide specific enumerated services under the supervision of a master’s degree-holding speech and language pathology licensee.
In recommending the above changes the committee tried to incorporate as many of the concerns expressed as to ambiguity or vagueness in the prior language, while still trying to give effect to intention of the boards who brought the shortage issue to WASB's attention that there be a debate by the membership regarding their concerns about the shortage.
When the amended resolution (in the form shown above) was brought before the WASB Delegate Assembly it was turned down following about 20-25 minutes of debate and several unsuccessful attempts to amend it.
Since that time, WASB has heard from a number of school board members (e.g., from Tomah, Lodi, etc.) who are interested in sitting down to discuss their particular SLP shortage situations if WSHA is interested.