TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators John H. Adler and Shirley K. Turner to establish the Special Education Review Commission to study special education best practices from around the state received finals legislative approval today.
“Each year, New Jersey’s school districts face budgets where an increasingly larger share of funds are taken up by special education. We need to identify those programs and practices that are most effective and efficient,” said Senator Adler, D-Camden. “The recommendations of this committee will distill the methods of over 600 school districts and provide schools with new ideas for meeting the special needs of those with learning and physical disabilities. The goal must be to improve education while reducing the cost to schools.”
The bill, S-2417, would establish the 28-member Special Education Review Commission. The Commission would be charged with studying the delivery, quality, cost and funding of special education and issue a final report within 180 days of organization providing its findings and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature. The Commission would include members of the Governor’s Cabinet, experts in education, and advocates for the needs of disabled individuals.
According to Senator Turner, the Commission would also be charged with studying the unique needs of those students who are both gifted and disabled. Two of the members of the Commission will be either gifted disabled individuals or the parents of gifted disabled students.
“Far too often, the parents of the gifted disabled meet frustration when working to get their children the unique educational opportunities they need to succeed,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “These are children who need the services of both gifted education and special education, yet in many cases, our schools are ill-equipped to develop a program that balance these two areas. The findings of the Commission will identify successful programs that provide the gifted disabled with the programs they need to succeed.”
The bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 79-0. It now goes to Governor Codey for his signature.