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 was approved by the Senate Education Committee today.
“Programs dedicated to meeting the special needs of children with learning and physical disabilities are becoming a larger and larger part of most New Jersey school districts,” said Senator Adler, D-Camden. “New Jersey has 611 school districts and 611 different ways of addressing special education. The Special Education Review Commission will study the different ways our school districts handle special education and provide recommendations on how we can provide more effective, less costly programs at both the state and local level.”
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.
Senator Turner noted that 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.
“There is an entire group of students who require the services of both gifted education and special education in order to reach their full potential,” said Senator Turner. “Yet many of these children are falling through the cracks as our schools do not know how to adequately meet their unique needs. By charging the Commission to explore the challenges presented by gifted disabled students, we will be able to give schools the tools needed to provide programs that allow all children to excel.”
The bill passed the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 5-0. It now goes to the full Senate for their consideration.