Post an explanation of how you will use educational laws and policies to promote social change in your educational setting and within the field of education as a whole.

This week’s Discussion Question: 
Post an explanation of how you will use educational laws and policies to promote social change in your educational setting and within the field of education as a whole. Describe a personal area of interest regarding educational law and policy that you may consider as a platform to create social change, and explain how you might do so.
With that in mind:
Respond to at least two colleagues with additional insight on how to create social change.
(Note: I posted two of my colleague’s responses to the discussion post below, please respond to their posts. You may begin the response with Hi Lynn and Hi Sherelle) (I need a half page response for each person) The instructor is very strict with references and citations. You must include both citations and references and please provide the url link to all journal articles you use as references. If you do not know how to properly cite references please look it up, my grade will decrease with every reference error. Please use APA 6th edition format. Do not forget to list your references and you must include the in-text citations. Also please use current (meaning within the past 2 years) scholarly journal articles as references. Thanks.
Lynn’s Post:

  Understanding and learning about school law is imperative in our litigious society. As an administrator for only three years, it has become clear that constantly working to keep abreast of new laws and changes to existing laws in order to revise school policy and procedures is a large part of my job. There are many areas that call for change, but for the position I am currently in one that is in immediate need of improvement is attendance.
  State and reservation laws require children to attend school from ages 6 to 18 years of age, yet many of the youngest students do not faithfully attend school. School policy parallels law, yet even with calls and letters home the early learners in our school are not attending as regularly as they should. The attendance rate of the elementary was only 80% last year and even less in the upper grades. Although truancy can be found a misdemeanor offense guardians are not persuaded to send their students as they know that prosecutions are extremely rare.
  The early years of a child’s life affect their chances later on, particularly in brain development (Lynch, 2015). Academic social, emotional, physical, and character development are all affected by a child’s first years of experiences. Economic strength of a community is influenced by the early childhood learning and development in that the lifetime earnings are greater of children who have positive early learning experiences in preschool and kindergarten. This leads to reduced poverty rates and taxpayer benefits doth the road as less costs will be incurred for special education, high school drop outs, incarceration, unemployment and ill health (Lynch, 2015). In an area such as a reservation, this is extremely important to impress upon guardians. Many feel that the early years are not important. It is not realized that the early years are the bedrock for future learning. Many of the under-educated guardians think it is more of a fun playtime and that the students can catch up on the skills in later years.
  With this in mind as an educational leader I feel obligated to push state and local laws for improved school attendance in our school with a focus on the early years of learning.  There is also a feeling of obligation to work at the reservation level through a conglomeration of schools that have just recently banded together to assist each other in solving common problems such as truancy. The push for improved school attendance will take the form of making phone calls and home visits with a new truancy officer to explain the importance of the learning that occurs in the early years. Students who miss school in kindergarten can fall far behind their peers and are more likely to drop out of school. This and similar information will also be shared at Family Nights, the school website, community T.V. channel and newsletters. Finding out why a truant student is not coming to school and how the school can help the family ensure the student attends regularly is necessary as well. Contacting the Attorney General at the tribal level will also be a component of this push as tribal codes require it, even though it has not been enforced to date. Using the school conglomeration as a forum will be helpful. We have met once on the issue so far. Getting students to school so they can learn is imperative to the welfare of not only the student, but also to the community in the long term.
Reference
Lynch, S., (2015). Economically and social, early learning is a no-brainer investment, ATA Magazine (95)4. 15-17. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=f7cf3901-494e-45f5-b323-0c46141b3d4c%40sessionmgr4008&vid=18&hid=4109
Sherelle’s Post:

Education will continue to be an important topic for our society. Researchers are continuously looking for strategies to perfect student outcomes. Leaders in education have the task of deciding what programs and resources will be beneficial to students’ education. As a teacher, it is important to become familiar with the educational laws and policies to better serve students while they are in your classroom.
After researching the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), I have become more familiar with these laws and how important it is for schools across the district to adhere to the policies within the laws. During my research, I began to understand how difficult it can be for educators in special education to realistically follow the policies. Especially, in the school district where I am employed. My state has cut education spending tremendously! Therefore, there is little to no “wiggle room” when it comes to obtaining additional resources for special education students and teachers who teach special education. Becoming familiar with the IDEA and IEP has motivated me to help the special education teacher in my school. This means getting documents turned in on time and creating interventions for students while they are awaiting to be evaluated. Having a conversation with the special education teacher as well to create ways to better serve special education students.  
Technology is becoming more and more prevalent in education. At my school each room is equipped with a SmartBoard. All of the teachers use the board as their main and most important resource in the classroom. I recall on one occasion my SmartBoard could not connect to my computer, my students and I went into a sheer panic. I had to stop myself and say this is sad, I have been so reliant on technology that I don’t know what to do without it. I pulled out my easel and had my class sit on the the carpet and completed my lesson. After that, at least once a week I would teach a lesson using the easel instead of the SmartBoard to teacher my students an alternative way to learn.
In the special education classroom, the teacher utilizes her SmartBoard as well as student computers since the special education students pay more attention to the lessons and learn faster and easier. This coming up school year, I plan to give the special education students in my classroom, more time individually on the the computer during small group time (about 45 minutes). I hope this strategy gives me the opportunity to spend more one on one time and actually evaluate where they are struggling.
 Technology will continue to transform special education classroom instruction by enhancing individual learning opportunities and enabling greater flexibility and personalization through the implementation of blended learning, virtual or video conferencing, the use of tablets, and web-based evidence-based practices as districts continue to create more “bring your own device” (BYOD)  policies (Gordillo, 2015).
Reference
Gordillo, J. (2015). Top 10 Trends in special education.  Retrieved from http://www.scilearn.com/blog/2015-special-education-trends

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