2015.24 Standards for Special Education AssistantsApril 8, 2015
Submitted by: BCCPAC Board
Be it resolved that
BCCPAC advocates for provincially mandated standards and practices for Special Education Assistants and similar support staff that include training, conduct and discipline processes.
Proposer’s Position Statement Supporting the Resolution:
Special Education Assistants (SEAs), who are not trained as teachers and do not hold a teaching certificate, work directly in classrooms and assist classroom teachers in supporting the education of children with special needs. SEAs are required to support children with diverse and vastly different needs, ranging from physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioural challenges. Often SEAs work with individual special needs students, typically the most vulnerable children, without the direct supervision of any teacher.
Teacher and SEA interactions with students can have an immense impact on children’s intellectual, emotional and physical development. The Teacher Regulation Branch (TRB), part of the Ministry of Education, was created within a legislative mandate to support the regulatory structure that ensures that educators in the K-12 school systems in British Columbia meet and maintain the standards of competence and conduct required to keep students safe and foster public trust and confidence in the teaching profession.
However, there are no Provincial-wide standards for the training of SEAs nor any professional organization to regulate their conduct. Currently, it is left solely to individual School Districts to set educational standards and oversee investigations into allegations of SEA misconduct. SEA training requirements and expectations can, and do, vary widely between School Districts, and parents have no independent body, like the TRB, to appeal School Board decisions regarding the conduct of SEAs.
Ministry of Education, BC School Trustees Association, BC School Superintendent’s Association, BC Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Union of Public Employees (Education), BC Principals and Vice Principals’ Association, BC Teachers’ Council
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