In 2014, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a bill making an Autism Endorsement available to special education teachers who work with autistic children.

Draft regulations were released for public comment in April. The MTA, along with 31 other groups and individuals, provided public comment and suggestions. In particular, the MTA and others strongly opposed the expansion of the availability of the endorsement to elementary and core academic subject teachers. The MTA also proposed language clarifying that the endorsement is not a requirement for those who work with autistic children.

 

However, the final regulations proposed by the DESE and distributed the day before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting did not incorporate any of the MTA’s extensive comments. Only two minor changes proposed by other groups were included.

 

On June 23, the BESE was scheduled to vote on the regulations. MTA Vice President Janet Anderson presented public comment at the meeting, and BESE member Ed Doherty offered a motion that would have added the MTA’s proposals to the final regulations.  

 

After some discussion, the vote on the proposed regulations was tabled until September and Ed Doherty requested that the commissioner meet with MTA representatives to discuss the proposals.

 

The MTA looks forward to having another opportunity to revise these regulations.

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