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Proposed Amendments to Regulations - 603 CMR 28.00 (Special Education) and 603 CMR 7.00 (Educator Licensure)

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
December 10, 2010


I am presenting to the Board this month, for initial discussion and a vote to solicit public comment, proposed amendments to 603 CMR 28.00, the Massachusetts Special Education Regulations, and to 603 CMR 7.00, the Educator Licensure Regulations. With the Board's approval, we will solicit public comment on both sets of regulations and bring them back to the Board for a final vote in March 2011.

Most of the changes are required by federal or state law. We provided an earlier draft of the proposed amendments to the Special Education Advisory Council and other interested parties for informal feedback. The proposed amendments I am presenting to the Board reflect the feedback we received.

Attachment (2) describes four categories of proposed amendments to our special education regulations and provides an explanation of the changes in each category. The categories are: 1) proposed amendments to comply with federal law; 2) proposed amendments consistent with established policy; 3) proposed amendment for clarity; and 4) proposed amendments for continuity of responsibility for certain students. This memo highlights the amendments required by federal law and those proposed for continuity of responsibility.

Attachment (2) also details the proposed amendments to our educator licensure regulations that are required by state law.

I. Proposed Amendments to 603 CMR 28.00, Massachusetts Special Education Regulations

Required by Federal Law

The proposed amendments to 603 CMR 28.00 include revisions required by changes in the federal special education law, specifically, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regulations pertaining to parental consent. Under the IDEA regulations now in effect, a parent has the right at any time to revoke consent (in writing) to the continued provision of all special education services to his or her child. If the parent revokes consent, the school district, after providing proper notice to the parent, must terminate special education services and consider the student a general education student. Under the IDEA regulations, the district may not seek mediation or an administrative hearing to challenge the parent's decision to decline all special education services. We are proposing to make our state regulations consistent with these federal requirements. The proposed amendments do not change the rights of the parent or the school district to seek a hearing on any aspect of the special education services delivered to a student who remains in special education.

Another proposed amendment is required by the U. S. Department of Education to make clear that the Bureau of Special Education Appeals has been transferred to the Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA).

Continuity of Responsibility

The proposed amendments also change the manner in which programmatic and financial responsibility are allocated between school districts when (1) a student with a disability is placed in an institutional setting, such as a Department of Mental Health or Department of Youth Services facility, from a long term (i.e., three months or more) foster home placement, or (2) a student, 18 years of age or older, has established his/her own residence and enters an institutional setting from that residence. Currently, the parent's district is both programmatically and financially responsible for the student under these circumstances. We are proposing instead that the school district in which the student had been residing at the time the student entered the institutional setting should continue to have programmatic responsibility (for example, arranging an IEP meeting or a reevaluation) for the student because it is the district most familiar with the student's current educational needs. Financial responsibility, however, would be unchanged in the case of a student who has left a long-term foster placement; the financial responsibility returns to the parent's district. For the student who has established his or her own residence as an adult, both programmatic and financial responsibility would stay with the district that was responsible prior to the student entering the institutional setting.

II. Proposed Amendments to 603 CMR 7.00, Massachusetts Educator Licensure Regulations

Chapter 299, An Act Relative to Augmentative and Alternative Communication Opportunities for Children, was signed into law on August 10, 2010. It directs the Board to amend two sections of the Educator Licensure regulations - 603 CMR 7.06(25)(d) and 603 CMR 7.06(26)(b)12 - to require approved teacher preparation programs leading to licensure as either a teacher of students with moderate disabilities or a teacher of students with severe disabilities to add "instruction on the appropriate use of augmentative and alternative communication and other assistive technologies." The proposed amendments to the regulations that are presented in the attached documents include the changes specified in Chapter 299, as well as amendments to 603 CMR

7.03 and 7.14 to address effective dates of the program and licensure requirements. In addition, the proposed amendments define terms, including "augmentative and alternative communication."

Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education, David Haselkorn, Associate Commissioner for Education Personnel, and Attorney Dianne Curran of our legal staff will be present at the Board meeting to answer your questions.


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(1) Chapter 299 of the Acts of 2010
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(2) Proposed Amendments to Regulations and Rationale
603 CMR 28.00
603 CMR 7.00
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(3) Proposed regulations, 603 CMR 28.00
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(4) Proposed regulations, 603 CMR 7.00
(5) Motions to solicit public comment

Last Updated: December 13, 2010
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