Less School Psychologist funding has a number of negative consequences for children. This article highlights a few of these consequences, including Less access to quality services; fewer school psychologists; higher student-to-school psychologist ratios; and burnout among Psicologo Scolastico. This shortcoming exacerbates the problems faced by children with special needs. These problems make it even more difficult to find a psychologist who can provide quality services in schools.
Less access to high-quality services
The Affordable Care Act specifies school psychologists as qualified health care providers. They must hold a Doctorate or Education Specialist degree, and be licensed by the state’s psychology board and education agency. A school psychologist can provide a variety of mental health services, including health education for children. They should also be knowledgeable about education records and the rules of privacy and confidentiality governing medical and educational records.
In some states, such as Illinois, only a handful of school districts have the ideal ratio of one school psychologist to 500 students. Those states that don’t have the ideal ratio include the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Florida, and Illinois. And in Utah, the data were not reported. That means that only 18 percent of school districts have the appropriate ratio of school psychologists to students.
Higher ratios of students to school psychologists
According to the National Association of School Psychologists, schools should have one school psychologist for every 500 students. Unfortunately, current data shows that the national ratio is only 1:211, with some states reporting higher ratios. A school psychologist must be visible and accessible for students to be effective. There are also several problems with the current ratio. Higher student to school psychologist ratios can reduce access to services, cause under-staffing, and even lead to unqualified personnel providing services in the absence of a credentialed school psychologist.
While school psychologists are increasingly becoming more widely accepted across racial and ethnic groups, they are still underrepresented in many areas. The NASP reported that 14% of its members are minority and that almost half of them spoke a language other than English at home. Increasing diversity among school psychologists will increase their chances of serving diverse populations and challenge pervasive inequities in service provision.
Burnout among school psychologists
One of the leading causes of practitioners leaving their current jobs is burnout. Recent studies estimate that as many as 90 percent of school psychologists experience some level of job burnout. There are various strategies for managing burnout, and specific steps can be taken in training programs to prevent or reduce the effects of job exhaustion. But how do we ensure the continued recruitment of qualified school psychologists? Listed below are some key strategies to prevent burnout.
Recruiting more graduate students is one way to address the shortage of qualified practitioners. However, many participants emphasized that increasing the entrance requirements for school psychology programs would reduce the burden on perceived qualified practitioners. The field also needs more school psychologists. In order to attract more graduates, professional organizations should be formed to help promote the field. The current shortage of school psychologists has contributed to the emergence of burnout among practitioners.
Lack of support for special needs students
The school district’s budget cuts are affecting the services it provides to children with special needs. School psychologists must have proper training and support to evaluate a special ed assessment. A school psychologist’s job also involves reviewing the special ed assessment for appropriate placement. Having a school psychologist is especially critical for Black students. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Black students have an increased prevalence of disabilities. Many are diagnosed with emotional disturbance, which has been criticized by advocates for Black students as a stigmatizing label.
In the past few years, Fort Bend ISD’s demand for special education services has increased. More parents and teachers have sought out testing for children with disabilities. Fort Bend also ended a Texas policy that denied special education services to thousands of students. Yet, despite increased demand for services, schools still do not have enough licensed school psychologists. This means students with disabilities may have to rely on make-up services.