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Rible Bill Heads For Christie's Signature

Legislation seeks to streamline special education programs

A bill aimed at streamlining special education programs in New Jersey’s public schools is headed to the governor’s desk, having cleared both houses of the Legislature by unanimous votes.

The bill, A1365, on Monday passed unanimously in the state Assembly. It had previously garnered an identical response in the state Senate. It is sponsored by Assemblyman Dave Rible, and it seeks to create a task force charged with improving the funding, delivery and effectiveness of special education programs and services in New Jersey’s public schools.

The bill would create the Task Force on Improving Special Education for Public School Students, comprised of 16 gubernatorial appointments and the state Education Commissioner. The 16 would include parents, teachers, administrators and advocates involved in the special education community, according to the bill.

The panel would be charged with studying issues such as the methods of classifying special needs students strategies to reduce costs of out-of-district placements and program standards to ensure programs meets students’ needs and focus on achievement.

“This is really an emotional piece of legislation for me,’’ Rible, a Wall resident, said. “I’ve spent the last four years going to schools and visiting the special education programs to see how they’re set up. And I’ve talked to hundreds of parents who feel that their kids are just kind of falling through the cracks.’’

Rible said the panel could be set up as early as April and that it would then begin its study, with recommendations on changes to follow.

“I think the money’s there,’’ Rible said. “But I don’t know that we’re getting the best services. I think with this legislation we’ll get to that.’’

Lori Tonti January 30, 2013 at 12:53 PM
There are many children falling through the cracks in our school systems, hopefully this will address the true needs in educating these children to maximize their potential and not just on saving dollars! What I don't hear is will this committee also be addressing children in our schools whose mental health or behavior issues interfere their ability learn.
Marybeth Stoddart January 31, 2013 at 05:40 PM
I hope it does! Families do need the support and some find it while others don't. We would love to see a support network setup locally to support parents and families emotionally. Life is a challenge for these children and I think this Bill will help NJ go in the right direction. It is not about "teaching the subjects" it is about "teaching a child how to learn" and if they "learn differently or behave differently" they just need the avenue for support and need to understand that "everyone is different" and that is OK. Everyone has "Special Needs"...thanks for supporting our children's needs and accepting their differences.
Anita June 14, 2013 at 04:48 PM
My words exactly... I tell my friends and my daughter that "everyone is different" how boring would it be if we were all exactly alike. Special Needs and Special Education only means " a need for a different approach to learning" that's it.
Marybeth Stoddart June 14, 2013 at 05:16 PM
So happy to see that the Bill Passed and will be signed into Law! The parents and families support this 100% and it is an answer to our prayers! Thank you and God Bless you Assemblyman Rible and our fine Representatives accross the Board in Trenton...Jersey is Strong Together!

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