The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) recently released an advisory concerning the responsibilities of charter schools to special education students. Although charter schools have been a feature of the Massachusetts school landscape for over twenty years, there are still misunderstandings about charter schools’ obligations to their students who require special education. The DESE advisory addresses some of these issues. It focuses on a Massachusetts special education regulation found at 603 CMR 28.10(6)(a), which covers the responsibilities of the charter school and the student’s public school district (“district of residence”) in the event that a student with special needs may need to leave the charter school in order to obtain an appropriate education. (This regulation also covers special education students who attend vocational schools, Commonwealth of Massachusetts virtual schools, and schools attended through the METCO program. However, the advisory targets charter schools specifically.) Continue reading
Today Larry Kotin, my law partner for the last 32 years, my colleague for more than 40 years in countless collaborations on behalf of children and adults with physical, cognitive or emotional/behavioral challenges, and above all my friend through many thicks and many thins in both our work and our personal lives, will move from his position as a partner at KC&S to “of counsel” status. Continue reading
In a recent memorandum to school superintendents, special education administrators, and approved private special education schools, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) clarified the requirements surrounding breakfast and lunch for students who attend private special education schools at public expense. The DESE stated, Continue reading
The Wisdom of, and Right to, Observe Your Child’s Current or Proposed Special Education Program
We have all had experiences in our lives where things look different on paper than they do in reality or purported eyewitness accounts of some event turn out to be less than accurate or complete. As many of us well know, the same can be true of IEPs and progress reports in their description of a student’s special education program. In 2009, Massachusetts enacted a law to strengthen the right of parents and their evaluators to observe any current or proposed program for their child. Massachusetts law (M.G.L. ch. 71B, §3; 603 CMR 28.07(1)(a)(3) accords parents, and by extension, their evaluators or consultants, a reasonable opportunity to observe their child’s program or proposed program. The rationale for the law, as delineated in the first sentence of the statute is: “To insure that parents can participate fully and effectively with school personnel in the consideration and development of appropriate educational programs for their child…” Continue reading
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