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 Senate approval today.
“Special education takes up an increasingly large portion of many school districts’ resources. We need to identify those programs and practices that are most effective and efficient,” said Senator Adler, D-Camden. “Our state has over 600 school districts and probably just as many different ways of handling special education. The recommendations of this committee will 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.
“It is truly frustrating to be a gifted disabled student or their parent,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “These children need the services of both gifted education and special education, yet our schools are far too often ill-equipped to fully meet these needs. The findings of the Commission will identify successful programs that provide the gifted disabled with the unique education they need to succeed.”
The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 39-0. It now goes to the Assembly for their consideration.