Oppose SB 2071: Protect School Social Work
Oppose SB 2071: Protect School Social Work
SUMMARY: Illinois Senate Bill 2071 undermines the profession of highly trained professional school social workers in Illinois. This bill allows individuals with a LSW or LCSW to practice school social work having neither received the education nor the experience to provide the specialized work a school social worker with a professional educators license (PEL) provides. #protectourpel
NINE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW (Talking Points):
- The school setting is unique in both its responsibility to educate students, and also its responsibility to provide services to support the positive growth of a student’s social and emotional development. This setting is also unique in that schools have a responsibility to support the families and educational staff.
- SB 2071 would place licensed social workers in schools with: *No training in classroom management
*No training in formal behavioral and social emotional learning rating scales
*No training in special education policies and practices
*No training in general education policies and practices
*No training in functional behavior assessments
*No training in behavior intervention plans
*No training in social developmental studies
*No training in 504 planning and supports
*No training in IEP assessment, eligibility, data collection, and service delivery
*No training in reading literacy
*No training in social/emotional learning standards, programs, and interventions
*No training in hospital reintegration
*No training in multi-tiered systems of support
*No training in positive behavior intervention supports
*No training in English as Second Language (ESL) /Bilingual methods
- Masters level school social work programs provide the necessary training to meet the needs of students in special education, who by most measures are the most vulnerable students in schools, especially students of color who are doubly marginalized. The training given in PEL programs provides candidates with the knowledge of special education laws and policies as well as supervised practice required to meet the needs of children in special education.
- The removal of the Basic Skills/TAP testing requirement has allowed many more individuals, including individuals of color, to apply for and be accepted into school social work programs. Many universities are reporting a greatly increased enrollment in the 20-21 school year.
- This bill contravenes the short-term approval process that the Illinois State Board of Education approved in their March 17th meeting. Candidates for short-term approval to fill school social work vacancies would have a 3-year period of time to complete the appropriate coursework, pass the content area test and complete a supervised internship.
- This bill undermines the concept of equity in education by allowing individuals who are not fully trained and educated to work in our schools.
- This legislation singles out school social workers from all the other school support personnel.
- The bill allows, but does not require, ISBE to adopt rules to require additional criteria, and fails to specify what those criteria might be.
- The bill does not require rules to be adopted prior to implementation , so an LSW or LCSW with no preparation to practice school social work could obtain a PEL and endorsement without meeting the additional criteria ISBE may impose.
The IASSW supports the concept of educational equity for all the children of Illinois. Only through specialized training can we effectively address the educational and socio-emotional needs of the children in Illinois. Thus, we are in opposition to SB 2071 which undermines the profession of highly trained professional school social workers, who are steeped in specialized knowledge and skills needed to practice in school settings. School social work is a specialization within the broader field of social work and is grounded in knowledge of special education under the legislation of Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).
Specifically, the graduate-level coursework and supervised internship provide the foundational and theoretical knowledge needed to effectively and competently work at the interface of education and supportive services within the school setting in order to maximize children’s educational experience. School social workers understand the systemic interplay among students, the school, and the community. Furthermore, specialized curricula enable school social workers to fully comprehend the developing child, their educational, social, and emotional learning needs, as well as educational policies and pedagogies that impact best practices for teaching and learning and students’ overall academic achievement and functional performance.
School social work curriculum focuses on diagnostic criteria, educational and behavioral assessments, program evaluation, and provision of special education services. School social workers have different instruments, measures, and assessments; different goals for clients or multiple goals (goals for individuals, groups, and the institutional climate); and they must be considerate of educational policies and procedures when working with children/youth and their respective school subsystems. School social workers are also skilled in managing and intervening in school crises from a systems/ecological approach.
The graduate programs in Illinois for the school social work specialization are highly acknowledged across the United States for their rigor, core academic training, foundational knowledge of the social work profession, and focus on equitable learning standards.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics 1.04 Competence states:
“(a) Social workers should provide services and represent themselves as competent only within the boundaries of their education, training, license, certification, consultation received, supervised experience, or other relevant professional experience.
(b) Social workers should provide services in substantive areas or use intervention techniques or approaches that are new to them only after engaging in appropriate study, training, consultation, and supervision from people who are competent in those interventions or techniques.”
This legislation does not meet that standard of competence as identified by NASW themselves.
The IASSW understands that the intent of SB 2071 is to promote equity for people of color (POC) however, this bill does the opposite as POC experience barriers to LCSW licensure. The biggest barrier to entering schools has been removed with the elimination of the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) exam thus allowing greater opportunity for people of color to enter into the profession of school social work. In the 2021-2022 school year there has been a significant increase in enrollment in the school social work specialization programs.
Bill Status of SB2071 states:
“SB 2071 amends the Educator Licensure Article of the School Code. Provides that an applicant who (i) has earned a master's degree in social work from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and (ii) holds a valid license issued pursuant to the Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act may obtain a social worker endorsement on an Educator License with Stipulations, as defined and specified by rule. Provides that an applicant who satisfies these requirements is not required to complete an Illinois-approved educator preparation program but may be required to fulfill other criteria established by rule of the State Board of Education. Effective immediately.”
SB 2071 makes the following recommendation:
(O) Social worker. A social worker endorsement on an Educator License with Stipulations may be issued, as defined and specified by rule no later than August 1, 2021, to an applicant who (i) has a master's degree in social work from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and (ii) holds a valid license issued pursuant to the Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act. An applicant who satisfies these requirements is not required to complete a Illinois-approved educator preparation program but may be required to fulfill other criteria established by rule of the State Board of Education.
The full proposal can be found at: https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=110&GA=102&DocTypeId=SB&DocNum=2071&GAID=16&LegID=134721&SpecSess=&Session=