NJ Special Education Update: Christie Will Get a Briefing

Two weeks ago the Star-Ledger printed an expose on NJ’s  “$600 million industry” of private special education schools, which many districts rely on to educate students with multiple disabilities. Here’s my column on the investigation published  last week at WHYY’s Newsworks.

Now Gov. Christie has announced that Ed. Comm. Chris Cerf will investigate the Ledger’s charges, provide a briefing, and consider reforms. Said Christie,
It was all news to me when I read it so I called over to Chris Cerf and said to him, ‘Put together a briefing for me and tell me what you think is going on,’ and he said he would. With all due respect to any story, I want to hear it from my administration, what they think, and if we have to do stuff, we’ll do it, but he’s gotta prepare that for me and come see me and talk about it.
As the Ledger noted in its earlier article, these  publicly-funded private special education schools have superintendent salary caps of $233,556, far more than traditional schools, and administrators often enjoy other perks. The Christie Administration’s Education Task Force recommended tuition cap increases last year but they haven’t been implemented.  The State has limited oversight authority over these schools because they're private entities.