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Doing Your Homework:
What IDEA 2004 says about Paraprofessionals
by Sue Whitney, Research Editor, Wrightslaw

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girl smilingMy principal wants to have paraprofessionals running all of our pseudo resource rooms under the name of "study skills."

When the IEP requires "resource room" as a supplemental aid or service funded by special education, can it be run by a paraprofessional?

If the IEP requires "consultant teacher services" can these services be provided by a paraprofessional?

Sue's Answer

First, you should hand the principal and your department leader each a copy of the guidance on paraprofessionals.

Department of Education Paraprofessional Guidance Document. In this document you will find the definition, qualifications, and requirements for paraprofessionals.

Tell them you have already looked into it and it is clear that paraprofessionals cannot run anything per No Child Left Behind (NCLB) guidance.

  • Their daily lesson plans must be made up by a teacher.
  • Student progress on those lesson plans must be assessed by a teacher.
  • They may not do one-on-one tutoring at a time when a teacher would otherwise be available (i.e. during school hours).

Note: It would be important to follow the same rules for paraprofessional qualifications for disabled children and non disabled children to avoid discrimination.

This is what IDEA 2004 says about paraprofessionals.

20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(14) (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, p. 79)

(14) Personnel Qualifications.

(A) In General. The State educational agency has established and maintains qualifications to ensure that personnel necessary to carry out this part are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained, including that those personnel have the content knowledge and skills to serve children with disabilities.

(B) Related Services Personnel and Paraprofessionals. The qualifications under subparagraph (A) include qualifications for related services personnel and paraprofessionals that

(i) are consistent with any State-approved or State- recognized certification, licensing, registration, or other comparable requirements that apply to the professional discipline in which those personnel are providing special education or related services;

(ii) ensure that related services personnel who deliver services in their discipline or profession meet the requirements of clause (i) and have not had certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis; and

(iii) allow paraprofessionals and assistants who are appropriately trained and supervised, in accordance with State law, regulation, or written policy, in meeting the requirements of this part to be used to assist in the provision of special education and related services under this part to children with disabilities.

(C) Qualifications for Special Education Teachers. The qualifications described in subparagraph (A) shall ensure that each person employed as a special education teacher in the State who teaches elementary school, middle school, or secondary school is highly qualified by the deadline established in Section 6319(a)(2) of this title.

(D) Policy. In implementing this section, a State shall adopt a policy that includes a requirement that local educational agencies in the State take measurable steps to recruit, hire, train, and retain highly qualified personnel to provide special education and related services under this part to children with disabilities.

(E) Rule of Construction. Notwithstanding any other individual right of action that a parent or student may maintain under this part, nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to create a right of action on behalf of an individual student for the failure of a particular State educational agency or local educational agency staff person to be highly qualified, or to prevent a parent from filing a complaint about staff qualifications with the State educational agency as provided for under this part.

This is what the Federal Regulations say about requirements for a continuum of placements under IDEA.

Section 300.115 Continuum of alternative placements. (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, p. 208)

(b) the continuum required in paragraph (a) of this section must-

(1) Include the alternative placements listed in the definition of special education under Section 300.38 (instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions); and

(2) Make provision for supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement.) (Authority 20 U.S.C. 1412 (a)(5))

Paraprofessionals are not Teachers

A paraprofessional's time alone with students in the classroom cannot count towards consultant teacher time as required by the IEP. A paraprofessional is clearly not a teacher.

Your state clearly defines the certification requirements for teachers. This is not a gray area. Use the Guide to State Departments of Education on the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities to ask for a copy of your state requirements.

Supplementary Aids or Services

Supplemental aid or service is defined by IDEA 2004 and the Federal Regulations.

Section 300.42 (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, p. 203)

Supplementary aids and services. Supplementary aids and services means aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings, to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate in accordance with Sections 300.114 through 300.116. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1401(33))

Again, a paraprofessional cannot run anything, other than lunch room, translations, etc.

How IDEA 2004 Defines Special Education Teacher

20 U.S.C.1401(10) (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, p. 51)

(10) Highly Qualified.

(A) In General. For any special education teacher, the term "highly qualified" has the meaning given the term in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, except that such term also-

(i) includes the requirements described in subparagraph (B); and

(ii) includes the option for teachers to meet the requirements of section 9101 of such Act by meeting the requirements of subparagraph (C) or (D).

(B) Requirements for Special Education Teachers. When used with respect to any public elementary school or secondary school special education teacher teaching in a State, such term means that-

(i) the teacher has obtained full State certification as a special education teacher (including certification obtained through alternative routes to certification), or passed the State special education teacher licensing examination, and holds a license to teach in the State as a special education teacher, except that when used with respect to any teacher teaching in a public charter school, the term means that the teacher meets the requirements set forth in the State's public charter school law;

(ii) the teacher has not had special education certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis; and

(iii) the teacher holds at least a bachelor's degree.

(C) Special Education Teachers Teaching to Alternate Achievement Standards. When used with respect to a special education teacher who teaches core academic subjects exclusively to children who are assessed against alternate achievement standards established under the regulations promulgated under section 1111(b)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, such term means the teacher, whether new or not new to the profession, may either-

(i) meet the applicable requirements of section 9101 of such Act for any elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher who is new or not new to the profession; or

(ii)meet the requirements or subparagraph (B) or (C) of section 9101(23) of such Act as applied to any elementary school teacher, or, in the case of instruction above the elementary level, has subject matter knowledge appropriate to the level of instruction being provided, as determined by the State, needed to effectively teach to those standards.

(D) Special Education Teachers Teaching Multiple Subjects. When used with respect to a special education teacher who teaches 2 or more core academic subjects exclusively to children with disabilities, such term means that the teacher may either-

(i) meet the applicable requirements of section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 for any elementary, middle, or secondary sch cool teacher who is new or not new to the profession;

(ii) in the case of a teacher who is not new to the profession, demonstrate competence in all the core academic subjects in which the teacher teaches in the same manner as is required for an elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher who is not new to the profession under section 9101(23)(C)(ii) of such Act, which may include a single, high objective uniform State standard of evaluation covering multiple subjects; or

(iii) in the case of a new special education teacher who teaches multiple subjects and who is highly qualified in mathematics, language arts, or science, demonstrate competence in the other core academic subjects in which the teacher teaches in the same manner as is required for an elementary, middle or secondary school teacher under section 9101 (23)(C)(ii) of such At, which may include a single, high objective uniform State standard of evaluation covering multiple subjects, not later than 2 years after the date of employment.

(E) Rule of Construction. Notwithstanding any other individual right of action that a parent or student may maintain under this part, nothing in this section or part shall be construed to create a right of action on behalf of an individual student or class of students for the failure of a particular State educational agency or local educational agency employee to be highly qualified.

(F) Definition for Purposes of the ESEA. A teacher who is highly qualified under this paragraph shall be considered highly qualified for purposes of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

NCLB and IDEA 2004

No Child Left Behind BookThere are 60 references to NCLB in IDEA 2004. You should know what is in NCLB also.

You can find the text of the No Child Left Behind Act, Public Law 107-110,at the Department of Education website.

See Building the Legacy of IDEA 2004 at the Department of Education.

More Guidance on IDEA 2004 l No Child Left Behind at Wrightslaw

Created 05/27/09
Revised 00/00/00

 

 

 

 


Meet Sue Whitney

Sue Whitney of Merrimack, New Hampshire, is the research editor for Wrightslaw.

Sue is the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 978-1-892320-12-4) that is published by Harbor House Law Press.

In Doing Your Homework, she writes about reading, research based instruction, No Child Left Behind, and creative strategies for using federal education standards to advocate for children and to improve public schools. Her articles have been reprinted by SchwabLearning.org, EducationNews.org, Bridges4Kids.org, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys. Sue Whitney's bio.

Sue has served on New Hampshire's Special Education State Advisory Committee on the Education of Students/Children with Disabilities (SAC) and has been a volunteer educational surrogate parent. She currently works with families as a special education advocate.


Copyright © 2002-2014 by Suzanne Whitney.

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