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Educational Assistance 3


Recommendation

The Texas Education Agency should provide counseling resources for school districts on the state’s education Web page.


Summary

The assistance available to help young children cope with the events of September 11, 2001 will have long-lasting effects on their views of themselves and their ability to lead productive lives.

Gov. George Pataki of New York posted a crisis advisory and crisis guide on the state education Web site in New York (www.emsc.nysed.gov/crisis) immediately after these disasters to provide assistance to school administrators and teachers as they struggled to talk to students about what had happened. Many states, including Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas, also provided resources to schools so they could address children’s questions and concerns in the aftermath of these events.

Nationally and locally, many agencies and organizations have provided resources for helping teachers, families and children cope with the tragic events of September 11. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association and American Red Cross have all listed resources on their Web sites.[1] In Texas, organizations such as the Texas Association of School Boards include assistance resources on their Web sites.[2]

First Lady Laura Bush sent a letter to the nation’s school district superintendents to use when talking with elementary, middle and secondary students about the nation’s recent tragedies. These letters were posted on the Texas Education Agency’s Web page. The commissioner of education also posted an October 17, 2001 advisory to superintendents to give consideration to unsafe situations. However, no additional resources were posted by the state education department. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Web site did contain some resources for addressing the national tragedy.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) Web page serves as the central focal point for public education in the state. Educators should be able to look to this Web page for assistance in helping students cope with large-scale disasters. The TEA should maintain updated counseling and crisis management resources on its Web site.


Legislative Changes Required

Legislation is needed to require the TEA to provide updated counseling and crisis management resources on its Web page, and to use this Web page as a centralized information resource for educators in the event of a local, regional, statewide or national emergency. The TEA Web site should also provide links to state and national disaster management resources.


Fiscal Impact

This recommendation could be implemented with existing resources.


[1] The Future of Children, “Resources for Helping Children Cope with Disaster”: http://www.futureofchildren.org/newsletter2861/newsletter_show.htm?doc_id=81685.

[2] Texas Association of School Boards, “Response to Tragedy”: http://www.tasb.org/member_services/hr_services/response_tragedy.shtml.