Rhode Island Seeks Salary Supplement in New Year With the new year and new legislative sessions come renewed efforts by ASHA’s State Education Action Team (SEAT) and targeted states—Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia—to advocate on behalf of school-based clinicians. In Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, state association advocacy committees and SEAT are partnering to pursue ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   January 01, 2003
Rhode Island Seeks Salary Supplement in New Year
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Professional Issues & Training / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / School Matters
School Matters   |   January 01, 2003
Rhode Island Seeks Salary Supplement in New Year
The ASHA Leader, January 2003, Vol. 8, 3-11. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.08012003.3
The ASHA Leader, January 2003, Vol. 8, 3-11. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.08012003.3
With the new year and new legislative sessions come renewed efforts by ASHA’s State Education Action Team (SEAT) and targeted states—Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia—to advocate on behalf of school-based clinicians. In Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, state association advocacy committees and SEAT are partnering to pursue salary supplements for ASHA-certified, school-based speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Efforts in Virginia are focused on reducing caseload size based on total workload.
In Rhode Island, the newest state to partner with ASHA’s SEAT, “the time has come for CCC-SLPs in the schools to be afforded the same recognition and financial rewards as national board-certified teachers,” said Sheryl Amaral, who coordinates the Rhode Island Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (RISHA) advocacy committee and is also RISHA’s new president.
The RISHA advocacy committee spent the fall recruiting volunteers for its salary supplement legislation campaign, and organizing and training committee members on grassroots advocacy techniques.
In September, ASHA’s SEAT participated with the advocacy committee at the RISHA Convention, recruiting 40 additional volunteers to assist with the campaign. RISHA also has formed a political action committee, coordinated by Nancy Gage, that attracted a large group of members and legislators to its first two fund-raising events.
RISHA members also participated in two fall training opportunities designed to provide members with tools and assistance in developing an organized advocacy plan. In September, the SEAT collaborated with ASHA public relations staff to sponsor media training for advocacy committee members in the targeted states, including the RISHA advocacy committee’s grassroots/media co-chairs, Mary Jo Chretien and Jacque Gorman. The training provided information on how to use media relations for state advocacy, including how to identify clear goals, deliver clear and concise messages, define the audience, engage the media, and take advantage of opportunities to obtain news coverage.
In November, RISHA advocacy committee members and lobbyists participated in ASHA-sponsored grassroots advocacy training conducted by Joel Blackwell, an expert on media relations and grassroots lobbying. The training included information on how to identify key legislative contacts, influence members of Congress and state legislatures, develop a strategic action plan, and recruit and motivate volunteer members to lobby.
Two key legislators and supporters of the salary supplement legislation, Reps. Paul V. Sherlock and Stephen J. Anderson, attended the training and discussed the importance of personal contacts by constituents when conducting grassroots advocacy campaigns and the need to be persistent and patient, especially during tight budgets. They encouraged RISHA to pursue the salary supplement legislation and pledged to assist in the effort.
Implementing techniques learned through these training sessions, RISHA has partnered with ASHA’s SEAT to develop a strategic action plan, members have been matched with key legislators, and advocacy committee members are now contacting legislative leaders to reintroduce their proposed salary supplement legislation. Amaral stresses that the success to date of RISHA’s salary supplement initiative is directly related to its partnership with ASHA through the SEAT and the schools Focused Initiative.
“The groundwork has been established for a productive and successful 2003 legislative session,” said Amaral, who also serves on the Rhode Island National Education Association’s (NEA) Political Action Committee for Education. “We will focus on the grassroots efforts combined with meeting with leaders from the NEA, the Rhode Island Department of Education, the American Federation of Teachers, and other influential groups.”
Efforts in Other States
In Oklahoma this fall, the advocacy committee’s activities included participating in grassroots advocacy training, meeting with bill sponsors to garner support, attending a kickoff breakfast at the Capitol, and developing an op-ed article highlighting the importance of speech-language pathology and audiology services in the schools and the salary supplement initiative. Members are now continuing to make legislative visits and are planning a legislative breakfast for this month.
The Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia focused its fall efforts primarily on grassroots advocacy, encouraging members to contact or visit their legislators regarding the caseload reduction campaign. Members also launched letter-writing campaigns, participated in legislative forums in local school districts, testified at public regional budget hearings, attended the ASHA-sponsored media training, and are planning a Legislative Day in Richmond.
Highlights of the West Virginia’s advocacy committee’s fall activities included a November “campaign kickoff” meeting and meeting with the assistant state superintendent of schools and his staff to discuss their legislative initiative and the responsibilities of school-based SLPs and audiologists. Another meeting is planned with state policy-makers, the committee, and parents to provide more information and obtain Department of Education support.
For more information about the SEAT, contact Susan Karr by e-mail at skarr@asha.org, or Janet Deppe at jdeppe@asha.org.
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January 2003
Volume 8, Issue 1