Everyone’s beating up on New Jersey’s special education system.
Earlier this year a federal district court judge approved an agreement that requires the state to take “extraordinary measures” to address “one of the most segregated special-education settings in the country.”
Federal and state law mandates that students with disabilities be educated in the “least restrictive environment,” ideally within general education classes with appropriate modifications and support, but half of New Jersey’s special-needs children are isolated from their typical peers. One in 10 special-needs students is educated in an out-of-district school, far more than any other state in the country…
But a cultural shift will take more than recommendations and committees. How can we make substantive changes that respectfully serve the widely variable educational needs of students with disabilities without reflexively — and unlawfully — segregating them from their communities?
Read the rest here.