New Jersey’s Special Education Task Force

John Mooney:

Regardless of how long it took to appoint a new state task force on special education, the 17 members will have less time to come up with recommendations.

Formally called the Task Force for Improving Special Education of Public School Students, the group appointed by Gov. Chris Christie met for the first time on July 1 to begin its work looking into the needs of students with disabilities — assessing everything from programs to costs.

But as complicated as that job may be, the law creating the task force — enacted in spring 2013 — calls for final recommendations by the end of this calendar year.

That’s a tall order. New Jersey’s schools face some vexing issues, such as how to best pay for services for special-needs students, how to implement and monitor those services, and how to balance the sometimes-conflicting needs and wants of families, districts, and the state.

Laura Waters has more.