Federal special education regulations

New Jersey districts receive some of their special education funding through Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B grants. The amount of this revenue may be found in district user-friendly budgets. To receive these funds, districts must provide assurance that they have a special education plan in place that addresses about two dozen requirements.

Questions to consider:

If your answers to these questions give you pause, consider what steps your local association could take to influence professional development in your district.

  • How much money is your district receiving in I.D.E.A. Part B funds?
  • Have you seen your district’s special education plan?
  • Are the in-service needs of paraprofessionals, general and special educators and related service providers addressed in the plan?
    • If so, how are those needs being met?
    • Are all staff receiving professional development?
  • Do your district professional learning activities include:
    • Content knowledge?
    • Collaborative skills?
    • Behavioral intervention strategies?
    • Discussion about how new practices and programs will be implemented?
  • Are your district professional learning activities of high quality?
  • Is professional development embedded in the work day?
  • Does your local association collaborate with the district about the professional learning needs of your members?
  • Is professional development addressed in your local collective bargaining agreement?

NJEA promotes quality, collaborative professional learning experiences for our members, not simply a series of videos to be viewed independently. Think about using the regulatory language to add or enhance language in your contract. Or use it more broadly to create a persuasive argument for authentic, relevant professional learning for your members.

Remember, your district is obligated to meet these requirements when they accept the IDEA funds.

A useful NJEA publication that answers many questions about NJ special education regulations may be found here: njea.org/specialedregs. The entire NJ special education code may be accessed at state.nj.us/education/code/current/title6a/chap14.pdf.

For additional questions, email Camy Kobylinksi, associate director for NJEA Professional Development and Instructional Issues, at ckobylinski@njea.org

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