The Education Law Center
Problem: The Education Law Center and other special education advocates (SPAN, ARC and Disability Rights New Jersey) had compelling research on the value of including children with disabilities in the general education classroom and were suing the State of New Jersey for failing to ensure that New Jersey students with disabilities receive an appropriate education in the “least restrictive environment.”
Anticipated Consequence: The advocates wanted to make a case for inclusive education whether or not they won the case. Without making a compelling case, parents of non-disabled children would object to including children with disabilities in the
classroom and parents of the disabled would struggle to push their school districts to create inclusive classrooms.
Role: Amplify was tasked to 1) increase public awareness and understanding of the research’s findings, 2) create resources for parent advocates, and 3) create a campaign that could be mobilized for future advocacy efforts.
Action: Amplify 1) produced a video that highlighted the key findings of research on inclusive education as well as the benefits for all students and explained New Jersey’s failure to provide adequate inclusive education 2) crafted social media and distribution strategy to drive traffic to the video and increase awareness of the values of inclusive education, 3) create branding and a web site that would give the Inclusion Campaign its own identity separate from the individual advocates’.
Results: The video has been viewed by almost 2,000 people on YouTube alone and is a tool used by dozens of advocates at school board meetings. Professional organizations are using the video as a training tool. For example, NJEA is making the video part of its general special education trainings (which are given to both special education and general education professionals) and will feature it in their next special education coalition meeting; the New Jersey PTA is showing it at their conference and shared it with its chapters, and the NJ Principals & Supervisors Association shared it with all of its members. Additionally, if the settlement between the advocates and the State disintegrates, the campaign can pivot and the advocates have an audience that they can mobilize as needed.