Chapter 766, Massachusetts special education law, is designed to define the needs of children requiring special education in a broad and flexible manner, to minimize the possibility of stigmatization, and to maximize the child's development in the least restrictive environment.
The Massachusetts Department of Education has lead responsibility for ensuring that all provisions of Chapter 766 are met, for promulgating the regulations for its implementation, and for ensuring that the provisions of other state and federal special education laws are also met.
The Department coordinates the implementation of policies and procedures for the provision of a free and appropriate public education to children with special needs through specific activities as:
Functioning in an advisory capacity to the Board of Education is the State Advisory Commission for Special Education (SAC). The SAC is responsible for advising the Department on unmet needs for special education within the Commonwealth; submitting an annual written report to the Board of Education; commenting publicly on the State Plan for special education, and the procedures for distribution of funds under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal special education law; and assisting the Department in developing and reporting such information as may be required by the United States Department of Education under the IDEA.