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The General Assembly approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible that would create a task force to improve the funding, delivery and effectiveness of special education programs and services in New Jersey.
“This is a victory for every child who has been denied the opportunity of an education that would help them excel and for their parents who suffered the frustration of dealing with a school that did not respond to their child’s needs,” Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, said. “This task force will examine everything to make special education more efficient and effective that will lead to a meaningful reform of our system that will benefit our special needs children.”
Rible introduced the bill, A-1365, in response to an Asbury Park Press series in 2010 on New Jersey’s special education system. The series, “Special Care, Unknown Costs,” questioned the cost and effectiveness of the state’s various special education programs. The series revealed a lack of standards and little oversight of how the $3 billion spent on special education every year is utilized.
Under the bill, the Task Force on Improving Special Education for Public School Students would study various issues including:
• Methods of classifying and education special needs students.
• Best practices for special education.
• Strategies to reduce costs associated with out-of-district placements.
• Standards to ensure programs meets students’ needs and focus on achievement.
“This task force will find ways to deliver the high-quality education special education students deserve to give them the opportunity to succeed,” Rible said. “Its work will transform New Jersey special education for children, and their parents, who will no longer have to accept subpar services.”
The task force would consist of the state Education Commissioner and 16 members appointed by the Governor, included parents, teachers, administrators and advocates involved in the special education community. The task force would have 180 days after it organizes to present its findings and recommendations.
The bipartisan legislation is also prime-sponsored by Assembly members Mary Pat Angelini, Jason O’Donnell and Donna Simon, and Senators Jennifer Beck and Teresa M. Ruiz.
“I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support of this critical issue affecting education in just about every community in New Jersey,” Rible said.
Assembly Republican Conference Leader David Rible / 732-974-1719
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