Report Title:

Educational Assistants

 

Description:

Requires the DOE to research the extent of the educational assistant shortfall, to train them to handle special education students, and to provide an educational assistant in each classroom with 4 or more special education students.

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

476

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2001

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

RELATING TO Special EDUCATION.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that for fiscal, educational, and social reasons, there is increasing pressure to serve more special education students in regular classrooms, a movement known as inclusion. "Inclusion" as used by educators involves more changes to regular education than the earlier concept of "mainstreaming". Mainstreamed students spend part of the day in the regular classroom but are often "pulled out" to separate settings for special services. Under inclusion, regular education is expected to change in significant ways so that all or most of the individual student's special needs are met in the context of the regular classroom.

For the purposes of computing the statewide student-to-teacher ratio, which determines how many teachers and educational assistants are hired by the department of education and how these positions are allocated to the schools, the legislature finds that special education students should be counted like regular students even though special education students may spend only part of the day in the regular classroom. Basing the hiring of teachers and educational assistants and the allocation of these positions on the fractional amount of time that special education students spend in the regular classroom ignores the fact that many of these students have needs that are out of proportion with the amount of time they spend in the regular classroom. This may have the unintended and undesirable effect of discouraging inclusion and encouraging placement in unnecessarily restrictive environments.

The purpose of this Act is to provide for the accurate counting of special education students, research by the department to determine how many education assistants are necessary for classrooms with significant numbers of special education students, and provision of training for regular teachers and education assistants in classrooms with special education students.

SECTION 2. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"302A-    Special education students. Notwithstanding section 89-19 to the contrary, special education students in full-time self-contained classrooms and integrated self-contained classrooms shall be counted as full count regular students and full count special education students when computing the statewide student-to-teacher ratio, determining the number of teachers and educational assistants to be hired, and allocating positions to schools."

SECTION 3. The department of education shall research the issue of the education assistant shortfall for classrooms with special education students, based on the premise that every classroom with four or more special education students should have an education assistant. The department shall report its findings to the legislature at least twenty days prior to the regular session of 2002. The department shall include a proposed budget of the cost to have each classroom with four or more special education students have an education assistant.

SECTION 4. The department shall provide training for regular teachers and education assistants in classrooms with special education students. The training shall include instructional techniques and classroom management in classrooms with special education students.

SECTION 5. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

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