More than a dozen groups have joined in drafting a document that outlines the roles education professionals and parents should take to start successful “response to intervention” programs in schools.
“New Roles in Response to Intervention: Creating Success for Schools and Children,” released last month, is a collection of statements from 13 organizations, including the National Education Association, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and the International Reading Association.
Representatives from the groups said they wanted to create a common language to discuss RTI, an instructional framework that some believe holds promise for helping students in core academic areas and in behavior. RTI is promoted in the 2004 reauthorization of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (“RTI Method Gets Boost in Spec. Ed.,” Nov. 30, 2005.)
“Instead of viewing this as your turf, my turf, we’re thinking, ‘What’s in the best interest of the child?’ ” said Richard Long, the director of government relations for the International Reading Association, based in Newark, Del.
RTI offers early intervention for students who are having learning difficulties. A struggling student is given increasingly intensive lessons and monitored continuously. In most RTI models, students who do not make progress at the most intensive level are referred for possible placement in a special education setting.
The Learning Disabilities Association, based in Pittsburgh, suggests in its contribution to the document some questions parents should be asking about RTI, such as how long their child will receive interventions.
Justine Maloney, the Washington representative for the association, said that the RTI approach holds promise, but that it should be studied carefully.
“We’re not against RTI,” she said. “We’re just a little skeptical that this is going to be the magic bullet.”
A version of this article appeared in the December 06, 2006 edition of Education Week