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Education Laws and Regulations

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Between The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
AND The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is made and entered into this 27 day of April, 2005, by and between the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Registrar of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles ("the parties").

Whereas, the Registrar is legally empowered by M.G.L. c.90, §32G to license private driving schools, certify driving instructors and develop and set the curriculum for private driving schools; and

Whereas, M.G.L. c.71, §13D mandates that the content of driver education courses in high schools shall be established by the Commissioner of Education in collaboration with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles; and

Whereas, the Registrar and the Commissioner believe that the public interest will be served by collaborating to standardize the course content and standards for driver education programs under one administrative authority, and the parties hereby agree that such authority shall be the Registrar of Motor Vehicles; and

Whereas, the Commissioner of Education further recognizes that the Registrar's current driver education program taught in private driving schools requires a classroom component of 30 hours to be completed by each student and an additional six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and six hours in the vehicle as an observer of other supervised student drivers; and

Whereas, the Registrar has provided assurance that the program conducted by the Registrar meets or exceeds the standards currently applicable to driver education as overseen by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the various high schools and school committees in the Commonwealth; and

Whereas, the Registrar has provided assurance that the Registrar's combined classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction program provides a sound basis for preparing non-drivers with the knowledge and practical skills needed to become safe drivers and to pass a written exam administered by the Registrar and a road exam administered by State Police Troopers; and

Whereas, the Commissioner believes that the Registrar's guidance and oversight will enhance the consistency of driver education in public schools throughout the Commonwealth, so that all students receive high quality instruction giving them the knowledge and skills to pass their written and road exams.

Now, therefore, the Commissioner of Education and the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, in collaboration to establish curriculum content for all schools conducting driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, §13D, have agreed to unify the curriculum content of driver education in both public high schools and private driving schools under the authority of the Registrar, and the Commissioner and the Registrar hereby agree as follows:

  1. Beginning on September 1, 2005, curriculum course content of driver education programs in schools providing driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, §13D shall be the same course of instruction as required of licensed private driving schools for instruction in obtaining any class of learner permit or driver's license. This MOU contemplates that the Registrar may amend such course of instruction from time to time. The Registrar will notify the Commissioner and the affected schools of each amendment at least 90 days before the date on which the amendment is scheduled to take effect. Schools providing driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, §13D shall be subject to such amendments unless the parties have terminated this MOU.

  2. The Registrar agrees not to require any school providing driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, §13D to obtain a license as a private driving school.

  3. No school providing driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, §13D shall employ or retain any person as a driving instructor unless such person has a valid driver's license for the type of instruction provided and has an instructor's certificate from the Registrar, subject to the following provisions.

    1. A person employed as a driving instructor for a program authorized under M.G.L. c.71, §13D will be subject to the same statutory and other regulatory requirements and standards as any driving instructor licensed by the Registrar, including background checks and suspension or revocation of the instructor's certificate for cause.

    2. For the 2005-2006 school year, the Registrar will accept an instructor's prior experience as a driving instructor of driver education for programs authorized under M.G.L. c.71, §13D, in lieu of documentation of successful completion of a driving instructor training program. If the Registrar has accepted such experience in lieu of the successful completion of a driving instructor training program, the instructor will be eligible annually to renew such instructor's certificate unless:

      1. the instructor has been subject to suspension or revocation of his driver's license or instructor's certificate;
      2. the Registrar has reason to believe that the particular instructor may no longer be physically or mentally able to provide such instruction; or
      3. the Registrar is requiring all instructors to provide current evidence of instructional skills and competence.
    3. A person who has received an instructor's certificate shall be exempt from the fee requirement so long as the instructor provides driver education instruction exclusively for a school providing driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, §13D.

    4. Subject to paragraph 3B of this MOU, no person hired on or after September 1, 2005 as an instructor in a driver education program under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, §13D may obtain an instructor's certificate without providing documentation of successful completion of a driving instructor training program. This requirement may be waived if the Registrar has previously waived the requirement pursuant to this MOU for such instructor and such instructor has obtained new employment and is otherwise still licensed by the Registrar.

    5. All individuals who are providing instruction in a driver education program under the authority of M.G.L. c. 71, §13D and who are exempt from providing documentation of successful completion of a driving instructor training program pursuant to this MOU shall be required to take and achieve the required 90% passing rate for the Registry's Driving School Instructor Examination prior to September 1, 2006 in order to continue to be granted said exemption. The Registry shall make every effort to administer this exam in branch offices located in Boston, Quincy, Lawrence, Worcester, New Bedford and Hadley, Massachusetts.

  4. The Registrar will identify certain provisions of M.G.L. c.90, § 32G and regulations at 540 CMR 23.00 and Guidelines for Professional Driving Schools and Driving School Instructors (Class D Licenses) that he or she believes apply to schools providing driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, §13D and will communicate such information to the Commissioner and to the affected schools. The Registrar and the Commissioner or their designees shall work together to resolve any concerns and arrive at mutually agreeable definitions and interpretations before the provisions and regulations are deemed to apply to said schools.

  5. The Registrar may refuse to provide a Driver Education Certificate to any driver education student if the school providing the driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, § 13D fails to meet the course requirements established by the Registrar. The Registrar will, whenever possible, provide notice to a school before a given course begins that its driver education program is or may be deficient. If program deficiencies are discovered after the course has begun, the Registrar will notify the school promptly upon this discovery. In either case the Registrar will set clear expectations for the school to bring the program into compliance.

  6. No later than September 1, 2005, all schools providing driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, § 13D shall provide a course of instruction that meets or exceeds the minimum program standards established by the Registrar for the applicable license classification. The Registrar shall monitor compliance with this provision. Prior to September 1, 2005, and as otherwise required by the Registrar, a school shall submit to the Registrar a written outline of the classroom and on the road instructional program, or intended program, which demonstrates satisfaction of such minimum standards established by the Registrar.

  7. Any school providing driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, §13D shall permit the Registrar or agents or employees of the Registrar to enter the school during regular business hours to determine compliance with M.G.L. c. 90, § 32G and 540 CMR 23.00. Except in an emergency, the Registrar or agents or employees of the Registrar shall provide advance notice to the superintendent of schools and to the school principal of their intent to visit the school.

  8. The Commissioner and the Registrar shall designate from time to time a contact person to receive written and oral communications concerning this MOU and shall inform the other party of the name, physical and electronic addresses and telephone number of the designee.

  9. Either party may terminate this MOU by written notice to the other party. Unless either party specifies otherwise, the termination date shall be effective after the completion of the school year in which such notice is given.

  10. The parties may amend this MOU at any time. Either party may provide written notice to the other requesting discussions on possible amendments. Each amendment requires the assent of both parties and shall be made in writing.

  11. The Commissioner and the Registrar shall communicate with the superintendents and principals of the schools providing driver education under the authority of M.G.L. c.71, §13D, to inform them about this MOU in advance of its effective date. The Commissioner and the Registrar further will notify any such school of any amendment(s) to this MOU prior to the effective date of the amendment(s). The Registrar shall designate a contact person at the Registry who will respond to questions or concerns from said schools about implementation of this MOU.

    Signatures of Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll and Registrar of Motor Vehicles Kimberly Hinden


Last Updated: April 29, 2005
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