June 2, 2022
The tragedy in Uvalde has pushed some in Congress to discuss several legislative proposals to curb the epidemic of gun violence. ASHA will engage in advocacy efforts that align with our position statement on gun violence in schools. The Biden Administration and Congressional leaders are also working to resurrect a large package of President Biden’s domestic policy priorities that stalled last year, although the package may be significantly trimmed in scope in order to gain the support of Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ).
Last week, a hearing on “Tackling Teacher Shortages” was held by the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Public witnesses testified on the critical need for support to develop a pipeline of special educators, including SLPs and educational audiologists.
The following day, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona highlighted the importance of funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for hiring special educators, such as SLPs and audiologists, to ensure student access to speech-language services and assistive technology during the House Education and Labor Committee’s hearing on the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2023.
Now is the time to contact your elected officials and reiterate the need to support partnerships between school districts and colleges to train and license SLPs and audiologists from within their communities to address these shortages and better serve students with disabilities. Please take action today!
In a letter sent to U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary Miguel Cardona, ASHA encouraged ED to provide local school districts with additional time to spend American Rescue Plan funding on construction projects to help ensure that educators and specialized instructional support personnel, including educational audiologists and school-based SLPs, can provide services in safe and healthy workplaces.
This week we warmly recognize Seijra Toogood, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, for volunteering her time and commitment to the professions. As past president of the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia and current chair of ASHA’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Board, Seijra’s leadership in collaboratively identifying and driving our advocacy priorities is invaluable!