Just when you think the corporate reformers have run out of ways to hurt children and kneecap educators, they pull another trick out of their bag.

In New Jersey, the state board of education proposes to cut staff trained to identify and manage the cases of special education students and turn the job over to classroom teachers.

Jersey Jazzman delineates what is happening:

“The New Jersey state Board of Education wants to give districts the option to fire Child Study Team members and have teachers take over the management of special education cases.

“I understand that we are all looking for ways to save money, but this is perhaps the most egregious cost-cutting scheme imaginable: the NJBOE wants school districts to balance their budgets on the backs of our most vulnerable and needy students.

“Case managers spend hours testing, coordinating services, working with parents, and – most importantly, perhaps – holding districts accountable for providing the services that special needs children must, by law, receive. It is outrageous that the NJBOE wants to move this critical function over to “any staff member with appropriate knowledge.” What is “appropriate”? Why won’t the NJBOE clearly delineate this?

“If this regulation is adopted, it will be nothing more than an excuse to fire CST members at-will. Without question, it will gravely affect districts with greater numbers of at-risk kids, but it will also severely impact every district in the state. All of you parents with special needs children know what a big deal this is: imagine if the person you’ve been working with all throughout your child’s school career was suddenly fired and replaced by a teacher who already has a full workload.

“And if you don’t have a special needs child, think about how your child’s classroom teacher will be affected when the responsibilities for overseeing IEPs are dumped into her lap. Do you think she will have time to actually teach when she has to test and fill out paperwork and counsel parents and coordinate services?”

This is an assault on the state’s neediest children.

This is not reform.

Bring in the lawyers.