Education Issues

Office of Special Education Programs is pleased to announce

Office of Special Education Programs is pleased to announce the launch of a new web-based toolkit on Improving Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities in Juvenile Corrections. This toolkit can assist State educational agencies, educators, families, facilities, and community agencies to better support and improve the long-term outcomes for youth with disabilities in juvenile correctional facilities.

New Jersey School Performance Report Survey

In its effort to improve statewide reporting about public schools, the NJ Department of Education is asking you to share a survey with your membership that will help us understand what information the education community wants to know about our public schools. The survey, which is entirely voluntary and anonymous, should take approximately five minutes.

The Department's annual School Performance Reports include extensive information about each New Jersey public school. This survey is your opportunity to tell the state exactly what you want to see in the School Performance Reports (formerly called the School Report Cards) to ensure that the reports accurately reflect the quality of your local public schools.
Complete the survey HERE

NJ Department of Education Newsletters

Find the archives of NJ Department of Education Newsletters HERE

School Discipline and Security Personnel: a Tip Sheet and Policy Platform for Advocates

From National Juvenile Justice Network:

Like everyone else, we were appalled by the actions of Officer Ben Fields when he flipped a high South Carolina high school student out of her desk and then threw and dragged her across the floor -- all because she refused to leave her desk. Unfortunately, similar incidents are all too common.

We oppose the presence of security personnel in schools because their presence tends to criminalize normal adolescent behavior and negatively and disproportionately impact youth of color, youth with disabilities, and LGBTQ youth. However, we recognize that many jurisdictions make use of security personnel -- and that children in any school district may have contact on school grounds with law enforcement not based in the schools. Consequently, we wanted to make sure advocates for youth had access to two NJJN documents:

  1. "School Discipline & Security Personnel: a Tip Sheet for Advocates on Maximizing School Safety and Student Success," our latest publication, provides useful guidelines for agreements between police and schools that protect youth and their rights, including requiring adequate and appropriate training for security personnel. In addition, it offers several examples of communities that have reduced or eliminated school resource officers, and of successful alternative discipline approaches.
  2. "Safe and Effective School Disciplinary Policies and Practices" is our policy platform on school discipline, drawn up and approved by our member organizations from across the country.


Charter schools must provide special education services and ensure that students with disabilities are not discriminated against just like traditional public schools, federal education officials say. In a "Dear Colleague" letter issued Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education said that charters have the same obligations as regular public schools to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in addition to other federal civil rights laws. Such responsibilities are the same whether or not charters receive federal funding, the Education Department guidance indicates... read more.


Accessibility Features and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities in PARCC Assessments - A Parent's Guide

During the 2014 - 2015 school year,students in Grades 3 through 11 will take the new computer-based PARCC state assessments. These online assessments include tools built into the computer platform for all students and a number of accessibility features that can be provided for individual students based on need. In addition, the PARCC assessments include accommodations that students with disabilities may need. These will reduce barriers for students and help them show what they know and are able to do. Read the full brochure HERE.


Special Education: A Service, Not a Place

The NJSBA Special Education Task Force conducted an exhaustive study of trends in special education programming, funding, and effective practices. During its deliberations, the Task Force consulted with more than 25 experts in special education, including representatives of higher education, key personnel in the U.S. and New Jersey Departments of Education, and special education advocates and practitioners. The Task Force surveyed the literature on the delivery and financing of special education services, and explored options that focus on academic achievement. Read the full report HERE.

What are the unintended consequences of bad school discipline policies? One consequence is the channeling of fairly inoffensive young people into the criminal justice system. The phenomenon of the school-to-prison pipeline has advocates and some school boards working to rethink appropriate responses and use of resources when responding to school misbehavior. Read the Full Series Here

NJ Office of Special Education Programs

Provides an overview of the Office of Special Education Programs, including information for Parents & Families. The office implements state and federal laws and regulations governing special education to ensure that pupils with disabilities in New Jersey receive full educational opportunities. It provides statewide leadership through the development of policy and implementation documents and provides guidance to school districts and parents regarding the implementation of special education programs and services.

Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocate

10 Tips: How to Use IDEA 2004 to Improve Education for Children with Disabilities

Parent attorney Wayne Steedman explains how IDEA 2004 creates a higher standard for a free, appropriate public education and how parents can use NCLB to obtain a better IEP for their children. Learn how to include research based methodology in the IEP and how to ensure that IEP goals are comprehensive, specific -- and measurable. Wayne offers advice about pitfalls and how you can resolve disputes without resorting to a due process hearing - and what you should do if you are unable to resolve your dispute.

Drafting Due Process Claims/State Complaints

55 minute MP4 video about writing due process request letters and state complaints. It is available for Immediate Download. The principles in the video relate to all letters. Click HERE for the description about the new item.

Present Levels: The Foundation of the IEP

Until the Present Levels in your child's IEP are up to date, you will never be able to get the program, placement, or education your child needs. Indiana Advocate Pat Howey explains why parent input is so important during the IEP Team's assessment of your child's present levels of performance.

IDEA 2004: What You Need to Know About IEPs for Children with Behavior Problems

IDEA 2004 and the special education regulations include specific requirements for IEPs of children whose behavior impedes their learning or the learning of other children, including training teachers to use positive behavioral interventions and strategies.


is a partnering organization which helps parents gain the information and skills needed to navigate the confusing world of special education. Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities. The Special Ed Advocate newsletter is free. Send an email to subscribe.


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