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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 7, 2003
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

Statement from Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll on the approval of House Amendment 507

MALDEN - “This amendment undermines the achievement gains that have been made in our public schools in the 10 years since Education Reform. This is a direct insult to the thousands of special education students who have worked so hard, as well as their families and teachers who have worked together to help them meet the MCAS requirement. The vote taken by the House last night is counter-productive, and would take away from the value of the Massachusetts high school diploma. Today, more than 70 percent of our students with special needs have already met our graduation standard, up from just 30 percent in 2001. This is an accomplishment we would never have seen if those students had not been held to the same standard as their peers by courageous adults who understand that when you hold students to a reasonable standard, and provide them with the support they need, they rise to the occasion.”

Special education facts:

  • In the class of 2003, 7,307 of the 60,862 students in the class are considered “students with disabilities.”
  • Of that total, 81 percent or 5,888 have already passed the English test, and 75 percent, or 5,454 have already passed the math exam. In total, 5,268 or 72 percent, have passed both and earned their competency determination.
  • Of the 2,039 students with disabilities who have not yet passed, 43 percent have scored a 216 or above on the math exam and 33 percent have scored a 216 or above on the English exam.
  • Since 2001, when these students were 10th graders, the percent passing has more than doubled, rising from 30 percent to 70 percent.
  • About half of the approximately 900 appeals that have been granted so far have been given to students with special needs – 218 math appeals and 116 English appeals.

  • Last Updated: May 7, 2003
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