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months, 50 beginning speech language pathologists were hired to work in the Iowa schools; 40 percent of them were recruited from out of State.
The administration's budget request would freeze special education personnel development at the current level of $69.3 million. We believe that what is needed for a substantial increase in Federal support for personnel training is greater than ever for several reasons. First, in spite of the current shortages just described, the population needed special education and related services continues to grow. This is because more children are being identified as having disabilities and the participation of States in the preschool grant program and part H, Infants, Toddlers, and Families Program.
Second, the mandate for States to insure that services are provided by qualified professionals requires that funds be available to higher education programs to train service providers at the highest requirements in each State.
Finally, in the 1990 reauthorization of idea discretionary programs, Congress authorized important new priorities to recruit, train, and retain personnel from diverse racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds. This includes individuals with disabilities. Emphasis was also placed in training students in the use of existent technology.
Because of the enormous need for specialized personnel, we believe that the full authorized level of $103,255,000 for fiscal 1992 should be appropriated. Without a significant increase in special education personnel development funding, it will be impossible to implement the improvements of the 1990 reauthorization of idea discretionary programs. Children with disabilities would not receive the services they deserve.
Senator Harkin, we appreciate this opportunity to testify on this program which is so central to carrying out the Nation's children and youth with disabilities.
[The statement follows:]
STATEMENT OF DR. JOHN W. FOLKINS
Mr. Chairman, it is an honor to appear before this Subcommittee on behalf of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The Association has already joined with other professional and disability organizations in the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) in making recommendations for numerous education, rehabilitation, health, research and training programs in FY 1992. Therefore, my testimony today will focus on a single program Special Education Personnel Development.
speech and language disorders Conservative estimates from 1988) show that 1.1 million
Communication disorders form one of the largest categories of disabilities in the U.S. population, with more than one in ten Americans having some kind and degree of speech, language or hearing disorder. While the largest proportion are individuals with hearing impairments approximately 33.5 million are the most prevalent among young people. the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS, individuals under 18 years of age have a hearing impairment and 1.15 million in this age group have a speech or language impairment. This estimate does not include children who have speech or language problems secondary to other conditions such as deafness or cerebral palsy. Among children served under P. L. 94-142, those with speech and language impairments are second in number only to individuals with learning disabilities. According to the Department of Education's 1990 Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Education of the Handicapped Act, nearly one-quarter of all children served had primary disorders of speech and language.
In 1975, Congress made a commitment to millions of children and youth with disabilities that they were entitled to and would receive a "free and appropriate public education." The state and local grant program (Part B of the newly named Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA) now provides special education and related services to approximately 4.59 million individuals. As a result of the Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1986 (P.L. 99-457), the national commitment has been extended to all children in the preschool age group (three through five in the Preschool Grant program) and to infants and toddlers (birth through two in Part H of IDEA). Although Part H is an optional program, all states are currently participating in it in an effort to provide infants and toddlers with the services they need in order to enhance their development and ultimately maximize their educational potential in the school years.
The Special Education Personnel Development (SEPD) program was designed to assist institutions of higher education, local and state education agencies, and public and private agencies, in producing an adequate supply of qualified providers of special education and related services. Without sufficient personnel, properly trained and accessible. it is difficult to envision the successful implementation of the central purpose of "appropriate" education under P. L. 94-142.
Another important achievement of P.L. 99-457 was the enactment of a provision requiring that all individuals covered by the special education mandate receive services from qualified providers. The provision requires states to establish and maintain qualifications for persons providing special education and related services that are based on the highest requirements in the state for personnel in a specific profession or discipline. In this way, Congress effectively abolished a dual standard for service delivery. Under this system, school children with communication disorders had, in many states, received less than appropriate services because education personnel did not meet the highest
educational and training standard for speech-language pathologists and audiologists.
Final regulations implementing the 1986 amendments were issued by the Department of Education on April 27, 1989. The following year, a policy interpretation relating to the qualified provider mandate was announced by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Assistant Secretary Robert R. Davila stated in a letter to ASHA on October 9, 1990, that "Appropriate standards for personnel providing special education and related services to children with disabilities in the State are to be based on the highest entry-level academic degree requirements in the State for each profession or discipline."
The Department of Education has now made clear that, in determining the highest requirement for a specific discipline or profession, all state statutes and regulations applicable to serving children and youth with disabilities must be considered. Since, for speech-language pathology and audiology, this highest requirement is the master's degree, all states will have to develop and implement plans for the hiring or retraining of personnel in order to ensure that this high standard is achieved.
The Administration's Budget request would freeze SEPD at the current level of $69.3 million. We believe that the need for a substantial increase in federal support for personnel training is greater than ever for several important reasons. First, the population needing special education and related services continues to grow as a result of more children being identified as having disabilities and the participation of states in the Preschool Grant program and the Part H infants, toddlers and families program. Second, the mandate for states to ensure that special education and related services are provided by qualified professionals requires that funds be available to higher education programs which train undergraduate and graduate students in the provision of services to individuals with specific disabilities. Third, the field of special education and related services is dynamic. As the population of students with disabilities expands and becomes more complex, new areas of professional specialization develop and will require training funds.
Overall, the Department of Education reports that in the 1987-88 school year there were nearly 30,000 additional special education teachers needed for students ages 6-21. This included 3,598 speech-language pathologists (13.5 percent of the total positions needing to be filled). In addition, approximately 15,500 additional related services personnel were needed. Both the number of special education/related services personnel and the shortfall have increased steadily during the past decade.
The implementation of Part H and the expansion of the preschool population served have resulted in an increased need for personnel to provide early intervention services. Significant shortages of personnel with expertise related to infants and toddlers have been projected the Department of Education citing the most serious shortages in speechlanguage pathology, occupational therapy and physical therapy.
In Iowa, specifically, there has been a chronic shortage in the supply of speech-language pathologists trained in the state. Since July 1990, of the 50 new professionals hired in the state, 40 percent have been brought in from eleven other states.
In addition, as the demand for training of more speech-language pathologists and other professional service providers grows, the number of university faculty available to teach them is declining. During the 198289 period, there was a 11.1 percent decrease in the number of full-time faculty positions in communication sciences and disorders.
The number of students needing special education and related services is growing, the need for more specialized training is becoming apparent, and the mandate for qualified personnel in all states is now clear federal law and policy. Inadequate funding threatens to undermine the years of progress made by Congress and the Department of Education by leading to a situation in which individuals are denied the appropriate education promised in the law. Consequences include:
• Employment of individuals who are not adequately trained to provide services to individuals with special needs.
• Unmanageable class sizes and caseloads.
• An increase in the number of students on waiting lists for needed services.
• An increase in the number of children and youth with disabilities who do not acquire the learning skills they need to benefit from regular education.
• Inadequate provision of early intervention services resulting in more children with developmental disabilities who require years of special education/related services and who may never achieve the level of independence that early intervention might have afforded them.
• An increase in the number of individuals who do not gain the knowledge and skills needed for transition to productive employment and independent living.
Because of the enormous need for specialized personnel to deal with an ever increasing population of individuals with disabilities ages birth to 21, and because of the increasing complexity of the special education system, a significant increase in federal support for training is needed. We believe that the full authorized level of $103,255,000 for FY 1992 should be appropriated.
In the 1990 reauthorization of IDEA discretionary programs, Congress authorized important new priorities, including: (a) the recruitment and retention of personnel from a diversity of racial, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, and individuals with disabilities; (b) the preservice preparation of individuals from these groups; (c) targeted grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other institutions of higher education with minority student enrollment of at least 25 percent; (d) the expansion of the number of eligible trainees who work with infants, toddlers and families, and with students using assistive technology; and (e) more emphasis on coordination among all service providers, including regular educators.
We applaud all these initiatives. However, without a significant increase in SEPD funding, it will be impossible to implement these and other improvements and expansions in the preparation of special education and related services personnel. And, without these changes, the young people whose education and future they were designed to benefit will not receive the services they deserve.
Senator Harkin, we appreciate this opportunity to testify on this program which is so central to carrying out the nation's mandate to children and youth with disabilities.
Senator HARKIN. Dr. Folkins, thank you very much for your statement and for your leadership in this area. The 1992 request would freeze the program at $69.3 million.
Dr. FOLKINS. That is right.
Senator HARKIN. And again, you mentioned the mandates of the IDEA bill of last year, and also, would it not be incumbent on us to meet the mandates of the Americans With Disabilities Act?
Dr. FOLKINS. Absolutely.
Senator HARKIN. To see that these people are well trained and ready for the work force.
Dr. FOLKINS. Yes; and the Technology Act. It is all tied together. Senator HARKIN. That is right, the Technology Assistance Act, too. How are you doing in Iowa with meeting the increased need for personnel with expertise related to infants and toddlers? You mentioned that you brought in from out of State?
Dr. FOLKINS. I do not have the numbers for the ones of those that might be needed for the preschool age. But certainly there is going to be an expansion of that need. There is no way around it. Senator HARKIN. How are you going to get them?
Dr. FOLKINS. I do not know.
Senator HARKIN. That is why the request. Now how much are you requesting above that?
Dr. FOLKINS. The amount authorized is $103,250,000.
Senator HARKIN. Dr. Folkins, again, this is something that we cannot shirk our responsibilities on if we really mean what we said in the 1988 bill.
Dr. FOLKINS. I agree. And thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF HELEN K. FOX, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE BOARDS OF EDUCATION
Senator HARKIN. Next is Helen Fox of the National Association of State Boards of Education. And again, welcome. And your statement will be made a part of the record and we ask you to please summarize.
Ms. Fox. Thank you. Chairman Harkin, my name is Helen Fox. I am the associate director of governmental affairs for the National Association of State Boards of Education, NASBE. I am here today representing the over 600 members of State and territory board's of education from across the country.
Mr. Chairman, NASBE greatly appreciates the leadership and commitment that you have shown to education in other programs that serve our Nation's children. And because of the leadership you have exhibited, we feel assured of your support in calling upon you to provide a significant increase in the Federal education budget to provide the resources necessary to address our Nation's education needs.
There was a substantial increase in the fiscal year 1991 budget and the appropriation level, and we applaud you for it. But Federal funding for education, despite its priority, as its prominence as a Nation priority still comprises only 1.7 percent of the Federal budget. Having said that, I will now summarize our funding priorities.
Because families need to work along side their children to improve their educational success, we believe that education should begin with early education programs for preschoolers and their par