ASPP’s Legislative Committee and You

The purpose of the ASPP Legislative Committee is to engage in advocacy on behalf of children, their families, and the profession of school psychology in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. ASPP’s Legislative Committee provides collective voice for professional concerns and dissemination of information and unified power in soliciting the assistance of State legislators and regulatory agencies, and in making known the needs and opinions of school psychologists as it relates to enhancing services to the children and families of Pennsylvania.
There are several ways in which we as an organization advocate. One method is by contacting our State Legislators. In order to insure that our voice is heard, the ASPP Legislative Committee may ask for your assistance when legislation is before the PA General Assembly. You would receive an email asking you to check the website where information on the legislation, ASPP’s response suggestions for how to advocate. If you are unsure as to who your legislator is or how to contact them please use the following link:

Julia Szarko, Sen. Casey, Jason Pedersen

In the top right corner of the PA General Assembly Homepage there is a field in which you enter your zip code and click “GO”. A page then appears listing all of the PA Senate and House members for your zip code. Simply click on the representative’s name and it will take you to his/her webpage that contains all of the contact information.
Additionally, you can visit the NASP Advocacy Page
What Can You Do?
As school psychologists, we need to make our value known. We cannot rest on the laurels that our profession is safe. In these difficult times, now more than ever, with budget cuts and freezes, we need to demonstrate our utility and effectiveness in school systems. There are many ways to participate in advocacy for school psychology. A few ideas include:

  • Create a School Psychology website for your district.
  • Present at a faculty, parent – teacher association, or school board meeting about school psychology. Materials and resources are available through NASP.
  • Take the opportunity to meet your local state representatives. Watch for events in your area hosted by your representatives and be sure to attend. If anyone would like access to some materials to share with your representatives, please feel free to contact ASPP.
  • Invite local legislators to visit your schools. Many will provide lessons to students studying  Pennsylvania government.
NASP Practice Model Aligned Job Description
Pennsylvania has recently updated the Certification and Staffing Policy Guidelines (CSPG) to align with NASPs practice model. See how one school district adopted it for their School Psychologists job description.

Proposed Amendments regarding the creation of School Clinical Mental Health Providers
ASPP is in support of increased mental health services in the schools provided by qualified individuals. However, we oppose Senate Bill 629 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly due to concerns that unqualified professionals, such as Marriage and Family Therapists, would be providing mental health services in the schools. We support the creation of the School Social Worker certification rather than a School Clinical Mental Health Provider Certification. We also support increased School Counselors and School Psychologists to provide the school mental health services that they are already qualified and certified to provide.
Click the following link to view ASPP's full statement and recommendations regarding SB 629

2009-2010 Government and Professional Relations Special Friend of Children Award
Congratulations to Senator Robert Casey, Jr. who is the recipient of this year’s NASP GPR Special Friend of Children Award. Annually, this award is given to an individual or group outside of the profession that supports political action and advocacy on behalf of children in order to improve education and mental health services for children, youth, and their families. Nominated by ASPP’s Advocacy Committee, Senator Casey is recognized for his long history of advocating for the education, rights, welfare, and mental health of children in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Senator Casey serves on the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. He is one of the lead sponsors of The Youth Promise Act that focuses on the prevention of Juvenile Delinquency as well as increasing the effectiveness of interventions for delinquent youth. Senator Casey is also a cosponsor of the Increased Student Achievement though Increased Student Support Act. This Act emphasizes the importance of student support personnel in assisting students at risk and how the work of school psychologists, social workers and counselors help students overcome barriers to learning. We are thrilled for this recognition of Senator Casey’s efforts within his role of public service.
NDDay of Action
This July, you signed a letter urging Congress and the President to work together to avoid sequestration—deep, across the board cuts to core programs and services scheduled to take effect January 2, 2013 if policymakers fail to act. These “nondefense discretionary” or “NDD” programs are core functions government provides for the benefit of all, including medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations. Every day these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.
Conversations about how to address the “fiscal cliff” and avoid sequestration are happening NOW. It’s hard to believe, but it’s possible that a plan to avoid sequestration could actually be worse for NDD programs than sequestration itself.
We need your help educating policymakers that NDD programs have already done their part to reduce the deficit, as enacted through the bipartisan Budget Control Act of August 2011.  And that any plan to reduce the deficit should include no more cuts to NDD.
For more information see the following letter: