Turning 40 – Are the Purposes of Chapter 766 Being Achieved? – An Invitation

A year from now, in September 2014, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the effective date of the special education reform act known as “Chapter 766.” (Although Chapter 766 was adopted in 1972, its full implementation was delayed for two years to allow educators and agencies time to prepare.)

Chapter 766 included a Purpose Section to describe the findings and purposes behind the Act.  Its key sponsors wanted to clarify the goals of the Act and the reasons for some of the changes it would bring about.  While that Purpose Section is not part of the codified general statutes of Massachusetts, it is printed in full in the first footnote to Chapter 71B in the annotated edition of the statutes and is referred to from time to time by courts and hearing officers.

We now, some forty years later, have an opportunity to look back at those findings and purposes and consider to what extent the aims embodied in Chapter 766 have been achieved.  Parents, advocates, educators and administrators are bound to have a wide variety of perspectives on this question. We would like to provide a forum on this blog for some of our readers’ thoughts and opinions on that subject.  We will also contribute our own thoughts from time to time, but for now, we would like just to open this up and invite you to comment.  Succinct and thoughtful comments are greatly welcomed; lengthy diatribes, not so much! Continue reading