Policy Matters Blog

NASP Releases Federal Policy Platform for 116th Congress

At the beginning of each Congress, the NASP Government and Professional Relations Committee (GPR) releases the NASP Federal Public Policy and Legislative Platform. This policy platform represents the overarching policy goals and recommendations that support the vision and mission of NASP, promote guiding principles in our foundational policy documents, and NASP position statements. The NASP platform represents our key goals for the next two years and may be periodically reviewed and amended to reflect newly introduced legislation or policy proposals relevant to our platform. Although this policy platform is extensive, it is not exhaustive and does not represent every possible issue that may require a response or engagement on behalf of the association. Rather, the policy goals articulated in the platform represents action necessary to advance the strategic goals of the association and meet some of the most pressing issues facing the field of school psychology, and the students we serve, at this time. You can read the NASP Federal Public Policy and Legislative Platform here, but here are some key highlights:

Policy Objectives to Remedy the Personnel Shortages in School Psychology

  • Ensure Congress, the Department of Education, and other relevant agencies prioritize technical assistance and guidance to assist state and district efforts to recruit and retain school psychologists. This includes a long-term and sustained commitment to align staffing ratios with recommendations generated from national professional organizations.
  • Advance legislation that provides funds to help states increase access to fully certified and/or licensed school psychologists, especially in high need and hard to staff districts.

Policy Objectives to Ensure School and Community Environments are Safe and Supportive for All Students

  • Oppose efforts that seek to systematically discriminate against children or youth on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, gender identification, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability status, language proficiency, or immigration status.
  • Support funding for high-quality, evidence-based, and job-embedded professional development for educators, specialized instructional support personnel, and other relevant staff in areas including but not limited to: anti-bullying, harassment, and discrimination efforts; evidence-based threat assessment and management procedures; school-based violence prevention; and positive discipline strategies.

Policy Objectives to Increase Access to Comprehensive School Mental and Behavioral Health Services

  • Advance legislation that increases access to comprehensive school and community mental health services and reduces disparities in mental health service delivery, especially among underserved populations.
  • Ensure school psychologists are properly recognized as qualified providers of mental and behavioral health in statute, regulation, and credentialing policy.

Policy Objectives to Ensure All Students have Equitable Access to Comprehensive Learning Supports Provided within an Integrated Service Delivery System

  • Maintain existing statutory and regulatory language in current education legislation that allows federal funds to be used to implement MTSS and other tiered systems of support.
  • Ensure that school psychologists and other specialized instructional support personnel are explicitly mentioned in legislation and other specific grant programs intended to address literacy, social-emotional learning, school climate, and other factors that promote student learning.

Policy Objectives to Promote Evidence-Based Comprehensive School Safety and Crisis Response Efforts

  • Promote comprehensive school safety efforts that emphasize both physical and psychological safety. 
  • Support investments in training, planning, and professional development to encompass ongoing prevention and early intervention efforts as well as response and recovery plans in the event the unpreventable occurs.

Policy Objectives to Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

  • Ensure Congress fulfills their promise to provide 40% of the additional costs needed to meet federal mandates required by IDEA.
  • Ensure Congress and the Department of Education hold states and districts accountable for ensuring all students are held to high standards as articulated in ESSA and IDEA.

I encourage you to become familiar with the NASP policy platform in its entirety, and become an engaged advocate! There are several, simple, ways to do this.

  1. Join our rapid response team list. By joining this network, you'll receive a limited number of emails asking you to amplify NASP's responses to various current events. Your engagement on these issues is vital to our success and we promise to keep our asks to a minimum. Join now by simply filling out this form.
  2. Join our advocacy and public policy interest group. Continue the conversation in our NASP member exchange Advocacy and Public Policy interest group. The interest group is a message board designed to promote, discuss and support the advocacy efforts of school psychologists across the country. Join the interest group here.
  3. Bookmark this blog. NASP's policy team routinely posts information relevant to policy and advocacy efforts at the national, state, and local level.
  4. Respond to NASP Advocacy Action Alerts When Congress or a relevant Federal agency considers legislation or other policy action relevant to school psychologists, it is critical that your voice is heard. NASP routinely sends out specific Advocacy Action Alerts asking for school psychologists to weigh in on a specific issue. I encourage you to respond to those and to begin to develop relationships with your elected officials.
  5. Get involved in state advocacy. State association leaders work hard with state elected representatives to monitor and draft bills that would address the issues most important to your local community. Ask your state association about opportunities to participate in local advocacy. Connect with your state association here.

Thank you for all you to do to advocate for our students and the profession. If you have any questions about our policy platform or ways to get involved in advocacy, please contact me (kvaillancourt@naspweb.org) or Katie Eklund, Chair, NASP GPR Committee (katie.eklund@wisc.edu).