For Our Friend David Bartley (February 1935-June 2023)
Special Education Today
by KC&S Special Education Attorneys
3M ago
David M. Bartley was Speaker of the House during the years 1970-72 that produced several major pieces of legislation that improved educational access and substance for kids that had been marginalized and, in some cases, altogether excluded as uneducable. He ..read more
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Mark Your Calendars:  Early Literacy Screening Goes into Effect
Special Education Today
by KC&S Special Education Attorneys
5M ago
Effective July 1, 2023, and in accordance with 603 CMR 28.03(1)(f), all Massachusetts school districts will be required to assess the reading and literacy skills of each student within their ambit, from kindergarten through at least third grade.  These assessments ..read more
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With Thanks for the Life of Judy Heumann – a Pioneering Champion
Special Education Today
by KC&S Special Education Attorneys
6M ago
As we have noted in previous posts (see, e.g., https://kcsspecialeducationlaw.com/2022/07/30/chapter-766-is-50-years-old-are-iits-purposes-being-achieved/), Chapter 766 has now been on the books for more than 50 years. It was signed into law by Governor Frank Sargent in July 1972. Marking that anniversary and a comparable anniversary approaching in 2024 for 766’s progeny, IDEA, this year has witnessed a number of celebrations and reflections on the successes and failures that have ensued as stakeholders continue to fight for supports and protections for those with physical, intellectual, emoti ..read more
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Chapter 766 is 50 Years Old; Are Its Purposes Being Achieved?
Special Education Today
by KC&S Special Education Attorneys
1y ago
by Robert K. Crabtree, Esq. Governor Frank Sargent signed Chapter 766 into law on July 17, 1972. With a two-year delay to allow for school systems to upgrade their special education services and procedures, Chapter 766 aimed to ensure that children who were unable to learn effectively because of intellectual, emotional, or other challenging conditions would be provided with specialized instruction and supports in environments designed to ensure their progress in accordance with their learning potential. The new law required: (1) that children who were thought to be struggling with particular l ..read more
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Thoughts of Our Departed Friend, Larry Kotin
Special Education Today
by KC&S Special Education Attorneys
1y ago
by Robert K. Crabtree, Esq. I write with sadness at the passing of my friend and colleague Larry Kotin on May 12 at the age of 81, and also with deep gratitude for our personal and working relationship of more than 52 years. Read more I met Larry in 1970 when he worked with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI). I was in my first year as Research Director for the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education. Larry came by with a proposal to provide for community control of schools within urban districts – a mechanism by which residents could assume some share of governance over their loc ..read more
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New BSEA Commentaries Available!
Special Education Today
by KC&S Special Education Attorneys
2y ago
Each quarter, KCS attorneys provide the official commentary on BSEA rulings and decisions. The 4th quarter 2020 commentary, written by Daniel Heffernan, is now available and includes an analysis of the FY 2020 BSEA Statistics.  Please take a look ..read more
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FISCAL YEAR 2020 BSEA STATISTICS AND TRENDS
Special Education Today
by KC&S Special Education Attorneys
3y ago
The BSEA statistics for Fiscal Year 2020 and the overview given of the year by BSEA Director Reece Erlichman provide interesting insights into not only the invaluable work of the BSEA, but also into some trends into the subject matter of special education disputes in the Commonwealth. Providing yet another example of the never-seen before Covid-19 effects, for the first time in the BSEA’s existence, the number of rejected IEPs actually declined. Rejected IEPs FY20 – 9,442 FY19 – 11,979 FY18 – 11,900 FY17 – 11,400 FY16 – 10,800 While the number of hearing requests had basically stabilized over ..read more
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COVID-19 Compensatory Services: What Are They and Will Your Child Receive Them?
Special Education Today
by KC&S Special Education Attorneys
3y ago
Compensatory education is a well-established remedy for deprivations of special education services, recognized in Massachusetts at least since Pihl v. Massachusetts Dep’t of Educ., 9 F.3d 184 (1st Cir. 1993).  The purpose behind compensatory relief is to make the student whole by to providing services that place the student in the position that he or she would have occupied if the services been delivered in a timely manner.  The remedy is an equitable one that has been characterized as broad and flexible.  In some cases, school districts (or, when disputes occur, courts, adminis ..read more
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A Concerning Trend: Massachusetts Districts Asking Parents to Waive Special Education Rights
Special Education Today
by KC&S Special Education Attorneys
3y ago
In a recently published article, the Boston Globe reports that during this past spring, many school districts across the state asked parents to forgo their children’s special education rights by signing waivers releasing the districts from important special education obligations. These waivers have included releasing districts from providing IEP-related services and programming, conducting special education assessments, and issuing IEPs within state and federal timelines. That districts would request such waivers is concerning enough, in light of clear federal and state guidance that districts ..read more
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Uncharted Territory: What Will School Look Like for Special Education Students in the Summer and Fall of 2020?
Special Education Today
by KC&S Special Education Attorneys
3y ago
As most Massachusetts residents know, on March 15, 2020 Governor Charlie Baker ordered all public and private schools in the Commonwealth to cease in-person instruction through April 6, 2020.  That restriction was later extended through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) directed school districts to provide students (including special education students) with remote instruction during that time.  With the 2019-2020 school year drawing to a close, DESE been considering summer school programs and looki ..read more
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