Some problems can have large impacts, and still go unnoticed by the public and policymakers. ASWB’s racist exams for social work licensure are a great example. When people learn of the problem, they tend to be rightly horrified. But most people don’t know about the problem. A letter to the editor of your local newspaper can be a great way to raise awareness of this issue. Here’s a quick guide to writing one.
There is a severe mental health workforce shortage in the US. You have heard this time and time again. In a time of unprecedented demand for mental health care – and deaths from lack of it – we simply don’t have enough therapists. And the therapists we do have aren’t representative of the communities they serve.
The solutions proposed for this problem so far are trivial. But there is a readily available solution to the mental health workforce shortage. It could immediately grow the field by thousands of qualified practitioners. It would dramatically improve diversity within the field at the same time. Even better, it would cost states virtually nothing to implement, and could be done in a week.
This week, legislators in Maryland introduced a pair of bills (SB0871, SB0872) to let clinical social workers get licensed without first taking the ASWB Clinical Exam. Other jurisdictions are likely to follow. The current social work exams, like all clinical exams in mental health care, simply don’t work. Worse, they fail in remarkably biased ways. Professionals, the policymakers, and the public are all catching on to the sham.
The California Board of Behavioral Sciences will discuss clinical exams this Friday. My colleague Tony Rousmaniere and I decided to dig into these exams, beyond just the horrifying report ASWB released this summer. (TLDR: Wildly disparate passing rates by race/ethnicity.) While I’m previously on record as not a fan of clinical exams, they’re widely accepted. We figured we would follow where the data leads us. And so here it is: