Survey of Paraprofessionals on Assignments- Post NCLB

From Tish Olshefski at AFT: The AFT recently surveyed paraprofessionals on the issue of assignments post-NCLB. We specifically tried to determine if paraprofessionals are ever assigned to work without being under the direction of a teacher as outlined in NCLB. A secondary issue is whether paraprofessionals are assigned to work as substitutes. This is a … Read more

…Aides Seeking Better Pay

Townsend, MA- A second-grade teacher states, “There should be more of them. And they should be paid more” as she pickets along with 15 paraprofessionals to send a message that they deserve more.

The teacher goes on:

From preparing worksheets to showing the children how to tie their shoes, teaching assistants do all sorts of tedious yet important tasks that she doesn’t have the time to do herself. As the class sizes increase, these assistants, or so-called paraprofessionals, play growingly critical roles in classrooms, she said.

The Importance of Para Feedback

Dick, who is a special education teacher and parent of two boys with developmental disabilities writes about the need for special education teachers to provide effective feedback:

I have yet to meet a teacher who had spent time systematically training their paras and giving them regular feedback. If the paras are fortunate, they will get an annual evaluation. By then, it is too late to make any real improvements.

Paras in the News

Loud and Clear

This article introduces us to Grace Williams and here experience in receiving the Baha System that helps her to hear. Don’t miss the picture of her on the left in the classroom.

Williams, a paraeducator, can hear everything, from kids chatting at their desks to the phone ringing from across the room, Allar said.

Midyear Teacher Assistant Transfers- NCLB

Kilroy’s Delaware blog has commentary on this article: From the article: The transfers, being done to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act, will move assistants rated qualified to schools in poor neighborhoods, while those considered not qualified will be moved to wealthier schools. and this: “You’re pulling people in the middle of … Read more

Final IDEA Part B Regulations Announced

The U.S. Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced the release of the final regulations to implement Part B of IDEA 2004. An official copy will be published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2006. The regulations will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

From the the official press release:

Thirty years ago, America’s students with disabilities were for the first time assured access to a free and appropriate public education thanks to a new law passed by Congress, now called IDEA,” said Spellings. “Yet in those 30 years, too many students with disabilities have faced what President Bush calls ‘the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Students with disabilities can meet high standards, as long as we adults have high expectations and hold them to these standards. Thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, we are holding ourselves accountable for making sure students receive the education they deserve. And with these final regulations for IDEA aligned with No Child Left Behind, we are ensuring that students with disabilities are challenged and prepared for successful lives.”

Free Paraeducator Training

You may have heard of Project PARA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a no-cost self-study program paraeducators and a second program for teachers who supervise paraeducators. However, you may not yet have heard about the latest update to the Paraeducator Self Study Program. As noted on their project history page, the project has been around … Read more

Analyzing the Role of Paraprofessionals

Charles Fox at the Special Education Law Blog applauds the work of paraprofessionals and asks the following question, “…to what extent do schools overuse paraprofessionals as a quick and inexpensive ‘fix’ instead of providing a certified teacher to teach students?” He then points to Project Evolve (Expanding and Validating Options for Learning through Variations in Education). He also mentions Categories Information Leave a comment

Proposed Paraprofessional Regulations

The U.S. Department of Education has announced proposed regulations to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) and invites public comment. So that members of the public will have as much time as possible to review the proposed regulations, the Department has posted an unofficial copy. The Council for Exceptional Children … Read more