Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Administrator Ethics: Principals should be advocates too!

Parents Shouldn't be the only advocates...
I spent some time last night at my office, pulling together my final portfolio for a review for my administrator's license. There are six domains and the one I had the hardest time with was the ethical standards one. If I couldn't find some activity to do that involved ethics, I was supposed to read an article and review it, interview someone about their ethical standards, etc.
I chose to write a reflection on the issue of advocacy since it is a reoccuring theme with me on this blog. I have been reading material on special education and IDEA law. I have been working diligently on a report (The ASPA Report - Action Steps for Parent Advocacy), but I have been dragging my feet lately and have put it on the back burner because something wasn't quite "there" yet in the concept. Then it hit me - parents aren't the only advocates - at least they shouldn't be.
Last night when I was writing on the ethics standard I discussed the issue of administrators following through with special needs issues and demands when the parent finally gets vocal enough. If a principal at a school is functioning that way I believe they are not ethically-based in their work with kids. I believe that to be ethical in how we administrate special education and specifically, modified curriculum and assistive technology, we are proactive about it, not waiting for the squeaky wheel to get our attention.
Now I know you might be thinking, "Aw, come on Lon, be realistic. You can't always be proactive about everyone on your caseload all the time." The problem with that is that we really don't have an option if we are going to be compliant with the legal mandate we have. I am not perfect (surprise!) and I kick myself for not reminding someone to follow through - it is me not following through to get someone else to follow through, but I have a standard I try for and I strive for it so that one more student won't fall through the cracks and go most of a school year without the support he needs.
I would encourage you to encourage advocacy within the school family you relate to. I will press on with my advocacy checklist report and when it is done it will be accessible to you for free. I hope soon.
All the best to you!

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