The Future of School Psychology: I Dreamed a Dream

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					PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
The Future of School
Psychology: I Dreamed a Dream
BY RALPH E. “GENE” CASH

“For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; but today
 well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomor-
 row a vision of hope.”                 —ancient Sanskrit poem                                                                   Editor’s Note
                ecisions we make today help to determine who and




D               what we will be tomorrow. In the 1970s school psy-
                chologists decided, with a huge boost from public
                policy, to hitch our wagons to special education
                and the refer–test–place model of service delivery.
In hindsight, that decision was unwise, even though it was made
with the best of intentions. “You can’t do this without school
psychologists,” we opined. While this alliance created numer-
                                                                               RTI is a wonderful
                                                                               service delivery
                                                                               model, but it is not
                                                                                                                    A
                                                                                                                                dvocacy is in the air! Communiqué pub-
                                                                                                                               lished a number of articles recently on var-
                                                                                                                               ious advocacy topics. Well, they just keep
                                                                                                                               coming; this time in the form of articles
                                                                                                                    on social justice. Spurred by School Psychology Review’s
                                                                                                                    special topic, “Promoting Social Justice,” in its De-
                                                                                                                    cember issue, several authors have submitted articles
ous jobs for school psychologists, we have come to realize that                the future of school                 on that subject, thereby helping to create our own
special education has not been a panacea and that school psy-                                                       mini-series this month. Read the thoughtful critique
chologists should serve all students, not just those in exceptional
                                                                               psychology. No, the                  of key social justice concepts by James B. Connelly
student education.                                                             real future of school                (“Rethinking Social Justice”) and keep that in mind as
    School psychology is in the process of making another well-                psychology lies in                   you read “Advancing Social Justice Through Primary
intentioned mistake, partially in reaction to our frustrations with            maintaining the                      Prevention” and “Social Justice in Psychology: Mov-
the refer–test–place model. We are gradually and systematically                                                     ing Forward.” Related articles about NCLB’s effect on
divorcing ourselves from our heritage as comprehensive psycho-                 emphasis on being                    the achievement gap; preserving school psychologi-
logical evaluators and as mental health service providers. We are              psychologists.                       cal services during difficult economic times; the new
aligning ourselves with a general education initiative and framing                                                  NASP Bilingual School Psychology Interest Group; a
our roles primarily as interpreters of data obtained by others in                                                   practicum experience in Africa and its effects on stu-
the service of enhancing academic achievement. Is there anything wrong with those functions? Not                    dents’ cultural sensitivity; and “A Difference Maker
as far as they go, but they are supported by what, in my opinion, are some fundamentally flawed as-                  on Behalf of Children” whose goal is for students to
sumptions. First, some are assuming not only that all children can learn at the same rate, but also                 understand their rights to equity, justice, and quality
that all children can achieve a standard often referred to as “grade level.” Second, some are postu-                in education round out Communiqué’s coverage of
lating that cognitive testing and psychological assessment have little or no value in guiding the se-               this timely topic.
lection of interventions. Third, some are positing that mental illness is merely a barrier to learning,                 Advocacy? Have you ever thought about running for
rather than mental health’s being the foundation upon which education is built. Fourth, some seem                   NASP office? Read “Who Wants to Be a NASP Leader,” by
to be accepting that school psychologists are not interventionists but that our role is to guide and                Charles Deupree. It’s primary season for NASP officers
to evaluate interventions. Of course, not all school psychologists embrace all of these assumptions                 and delegates—how about throwing your hat in 
				
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Description: [...] some are postulating that cognitive testing and psychological assessment have little or no value in guiding the selection of interventions. [...] some are positing that mental illness is merely a barrier to learning, rather than mental health's being the foundation upon which education is built.
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