Last week, NJ Spotlight’s John Mooney interviewed Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), acclaimed architect of New Jersey’s new tenure law, about her education agenda for 2013. Ruiz said that “she wants to focus on special education in the coming year, specifically helping families of students with disabilities navigate the system,” adding, “how do we as a state create opportunities for families who really feel they haven’t that access?”
The issue of equal access to high-performing schools for children from all families, regardless of wealth, ZIP code, or parental advocacy, infuses education reform discussions in New Jersey and elsewhere. Locally, it’s the heart of our Abbott rulings, funding formulas, and charter school wars. Nationally, the issue of access informs debates on school choice, teacher and administrator accountability, and measuring student outcomes.
But Sen. Ruiz’s question is rarely asked in the world of special education. Certainly, it’s a more difficult discussion; after all, we’re talking about our most fragile children who require a wide gamut of educational services. (Full disclosure: I have a child with multiple disabilities.)Read the rest here.