On March 22, Irene Lefebvre, Boonton Town board member and chair of NJSBA’s Special Education Committee, testified about special education in an appearance before the Joint Committee on the Public Schools, a bi-partisan legislative committee made up of legislators.

The joint committee is authorized, empowered and directed to conduct a continuing study of the system of public schools, its financing, administration, and operations, and to make recommendations for legislative action as the committee deems practicable and desirable for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools. Lefebvre spoke to the committee about special education in New Jersey, telling the committee about NJSBA’s Special Education Task Force report and its common-sense recommendations to make the special education system more effective.

While LeFebvre reviewed many of the task force report recommendations with the joint committee, she focused on two areas: 1) the need to place the burden of proof on the party bringing the complaint, not the school district; 2) the need for more sensible funding that meets the needs of the child and does not shortchange the school district.  She suggested that the state needed to restore the ability to seek a cap waiver for special education costs so that districts were not faced with having to cut general education programs to fund special education.  Her testimony also focused  the committee’s attention on the need to have more effective assessment policies that provide effective measurement of the growth of the special education student.

Her full testimony is available online here.