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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Final Amendments to Special Education Regulations, 603 CMR 28.00 and Educator Licensure Regulations, 603 CMR 7.00

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
April 15, 2011

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At the December 21, 2010 meeting, the Board voted to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to 603 CMR 28.00, the Massachusetts Special Education Regulations, and 603 CMR 7.00, the Education Licensure Regulations. The Department invited written comments and also held public hearings in Worcester on March 18, 2011 and in Malden on March 25, 2011.

Most of the changes to the regulations are required by federal or state law. The Department received ten comments during the formal comment period, six directed to proposed amendments to the Special Education Regulations and four concerning proposed amendments to the Educator Licensure Regulations. The commenters include four individuals who testified at the public hearings, all in support of the proposed amendment to 603 CMR 28.02 regarding interpreter services for deaf and hard of hearing students. The written comments received by the Department are enclosed for your information, along with a table summarizing the comments to the proposed amendments and the Department's responses.

1. Final Amendments to Special Education Regulations, 603 CMR 28.00

The proposed amendments to the Special Education Regulations were offered to: 1) comply with changes in federal special education law regarding parental consent; 2) reflect established policy concerning interpreter services for deaf and hard of hearing students; 3) clarify the timeline to respond to a parent-requested independent evaluation; and 4) address continuity of responsibility for students who enter institutional settings.

The Department recommends revising the proposed amendment to 603 CMR 28.10(3)(c)(1) to state that the district in which the student was enrolled before entering the institutional setting is programmatically responsible for the student, rather than the district in which the foster home is located. Since the student may be attending, for example, a charter school or other school in a different city or town than the one in which the foster home is located, this change will more effectively ensure that the district serving the student at the time s/he enters the institutional setting will continue to be programmatically responsible for the student while s/he is in that setting. We are not recommending any changes in response to the comments on the proposed regulations governing parental consent, Bureau of Special Education Appeals jurisdiction, and independent education evaluations.

2. Final Amendments to Educator Licensure Regulations, 603 CMR 7.00

The amendments to Educator Licensure Regulations were proposed in response to Chapter 299 of the Acts of 2010 (Chapter 299), which directed the Board 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 Department agrees with a comment recommending that we delete "facilitated communication" from the definition of "augmentative and alternative communications," at 603 CMR 7.02. It is clear that the professional opinion on this method is unsettled and, for this reason, we recommend deleting the reference to it.

Two legislators and the Disability Law Center submitted comments supporting a suggestion previously made by Massachusetts Advocates for Children to include more detail and specific areas of instruction in the subject matter knowledge requirements for teachers of moderate and severe disabilities, 603 CMR 7.06(25)(d) and 603 CMR 7.06(26)(b), respectively. This level of detail is more appropriate for program guidance than regulations. The Department will include the information suggested by the commenters in the materials that we will be sending to teacher preparation programs, so they can use it as they develop coursework consistent with the new requirements.

Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education; Elizabeth Losee, Assistant Director, Educator Preparation, Policy and Leadership; and Dianne Curran, Associate General Counsel will be available at the Board meeting to answer any questions.

Attachments:

  1. Proposed Final Regulations (clean copy)
    Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
    603 CMR 28.00 (Special Education)
    Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
    603 CMR 7.00 (Educator Licensure)
  2. Proposed Final Regulations (with changes tracked)
    Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
    603 CMR 28.00 (Special Education)
    Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
    603 CMR 7.00 (Educator Licensure)
  3. Download PDF Document  Download Word Document Summary and Analysis of Comments from the Public
  4. Comment Letters
  5. Motion to Adopt Regulations


Last Updated: April 20, 2011
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