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MCAS Appeals Process Update

Panel approves measure easing MCAS appeals process

Boston Globe, 9/30/2003, by Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) Special education students who can't pass the MCAS would have a better shot at winning a waiver under legislation approved Tuesday by the Legislature's Education Committee.

The waiver process is designed to help good students who fall just short of passing the high-stakes exam, which is required for graduation.

Under the legislation, strict attendance and tutoring standards which all students must comply with to qualify for a waiver would not apply to special needs kids if the time missed was a result of their disabilities.

Also, parents would be given the right to begin the MCAS appeals process. Currently, the district superintendent decides whether to file an appeal with the state.

The Department of Education recently announced that it, too, will push the Board of Education to adopt similar changes.

In July, lawmakers let stand Gov. Mitt Romney's veto of a plan to ease the appeal process for special education students, in exchange for a pledge from state education officials to re-examine the process.

Last year, 38 percent of the 1,200 seniors who received waivers were special education kids, according to the DOE. There were 2,350 total applications.

Another proposed change, which is in the bill and backed by the DOE, would require superintendents to explain in writing to parents why their child's application was rejected.

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