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General Laws

Section 1B. BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION; DUTIES

The board shall establish policies relative to the education of students in public early childhood, elementary, secondary and vocational-technical schools. The board shall be the state agency responsible for the administration of vocational education and the supervision of the administration thereof by local educational agencies.

For the purposes of this section the term “local educational agency” shall mean any agency which has administrative control and direction of a vocational education program funded in whole or in part by federal funds.

The board shall establish standards for certifying all teachers, principals, and administrators in public early childhood, elementary, secondary and vocational-technical schools, as provided in and subject to section thirty-eight G of chapter seventy-one.

The board shall promote the implementation of participatory management systems involving school based personnel and school councils.

The board shall establish the process and standards for school and district audits and reviews conducted by the office of school and district accountability established by section 55A of chapter 15. In establishing such process and standards, the board shall promote efficiency and coordination with other audit, evaluation and reporting requirements established by the board and department and shall also consider the findings and recommendations of the advisory council on school and district accountability and assistance, pursuant to section 1G of chapter 15. The board shall review and approve the protocols for the audit of schools, charter schools and school districts, including regional school districts, pursuant to this chapter.

The board shall provide technical assistance, curriculum, materials, consultants, support services and other services to schools and school districts, to encourage programs for gifted and talented students.

The board shall publish profiles of each public elementary and secondary school and school district in the commonwealth, providing information concerning student achievement of performance goals, school spending, special programs, curriculum offerings, qualifications of teaching staff, and other information which may be pertinent to teachers, parents, students, and elected officials regarding the performance of said schools and school districts. These profiles shall be in a form readily comprehensible by the general public and shall permit meaningful comparisons among individual schools and school districts. The board also shall identify those schools and school districts that are particularly successful in improving the performance of the students whom they serve and shall undertake to analyze and publish the strategies employed by such schools and districts for the purpose of recognizing the efforts of the educators involved and of encouraging the replication, where appropriate, of their successful strategies. In producing said profiles and review of successful strategies, the board shall have access to all information gathered by the joint committee on education of the general court, which may be relevant to the production of said profiles and review. The board shall release its report annually on or before the thirtieth day of June, and shall make said report available to the public.

The board may withhold state and federal funds from school committees which fail to comply with the provisions of law relative to the operation of the public schools or any regulation of said board authorized in this section.

The board shall see to it that all school committees comply with all laws relating to the operation of the public schools and in the event of noncompliance the commissioner of education shall refer all such cases to the attorney general for appropriate action to obtain compliance.

The board shall establish the standards for the recognition of high achievement by students and school districts.

The board shall establish the process and standards for declaring a school or school district to be “under-performing” or “chronically under-performing” in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

The board shall review and approve federal grant applications for public elementary, secondary and vocational-technical schools and may develop guidelines as needed for the disbursement of such funds in accordance with law. The board shall be the approving authority for all federal educational grants and programs to be undertaken by public elementary, secondary and vocational-technical schools in the commonwealth. The board shall be the state education agency for purposes of federal law.

The board shall establish guidelines for establishing systems of personnel evaluation, including teacher performance standards. Public school districts in the commonwealth shall be encouraged to develop programs and standards which provide for a more rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process. Said guidelines shall be reviewed at least every other school year.

The board shall seek, accept, establish and administer grants, gifts, awards, and trusts for public elementary, secondary and vocational-technical education from foundations, corporations, individuals and federal agencies, and develop guidelines as needed for the disbursement of such funds in accordance with applicable law and pursuant to the terms of the grant, gift, award or trust and such guidelines shall, where appropriate, give preference to school districts and educational collaboratives, provided said school districts and educational collaboratives are developing programs to educate children with disabilities together with children without disabilities in programs located in regular education school buildings which are chronologically age-appropriate, as an incentive for the formation of inclusive educational programs.

The board shall establish the criteria to define areas with a high number of low-income children for purposes of the school breakfast program, the early childhood program and any other program focused on low-income children.

The board shall establish minimum standards for all public early childhood, elementary, secondary and vocational-technical school buildings, subject to the provisions of the state building code. The board shall establish standards to ensure that every student shall attend classes in a safe environment.

The board shall, in coordination with local school districts, improve the management and efficiency of public early childhood, elementary, secondary and vocational-technical schools and school districts.

The board shall encourage the collaboration between local school districts, vocational-technical school districts, and regional employment boards to prepare students for the employment needs of the region.

The board shall establish a policy to ensure that, so far as practical, school districts distribute financial resources equitably among all schools in the district.

The board shall establish maximum pupil-teacher ratios for classes in public elementary and secondary schools.

The board shall establish the permissible and mandatory ages for school attendance and shall consider the advisability of raising the minimum age for attendance in the first grade to the national average age for such attendance.

The board shall carry out its responsibilities with a view toward increasing the accountability and effectiveness of public early childhood, elementary, secondary and vocational-technical schools and school districts for the performance of the students they serve.

The board shall provide information to schools concerning the titles and sources of Braille text books and technical assistance to schools to develop Braille translation of titles not presently available. The board shall ensure, through referral by the Massachusetts commission for the blind’s children’s services specialists or other appropriate persons for investigation of any alleged violations, that schools within its jurisdiction purchase or otherwise provide written material to meet the individual education needs of blind persons, either directly or through adaptation.

The board shall adopt a model policy concerning student travel sponsored by a school that is planned to occur between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m., or that will include an overnight stay away from a student’s home. The model policy shall address, but not be limited to, such issues as safety of transportation and accommodations, cost, including expectations for fundraising by students, time away from school, appropriateness of the trip for the grade level, and the trip approval process. The model policy shall take into account the recommendations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including its student motorcoach travel safety guide, as well as relevant safety recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board and other agencies and organizations. The board shall review the model policy and modify it as appropriate at least every 10 years. The board shall communicate the model policy, and any subsequent revisions of it, to each school committee for use by the school committee in adoption of the policy required by section 37N of chapter 71.

The board shall establish such other policies as it deems necessary to fulfill the purposes of this chapter and chapters fifteen, seventy, seventy-one A, seventy-one B, and seventy-four. In accordance with the provisions of chapter thirty A, the board may promulgate regulations as necessary to fulfill said purposes. Said regulations shall be promulgated so as to encourage innovation, flexibility and accountability in schools and school districts. Notwithstanding the provisions of any special or general law or executive order to the contrary, the board of education shall notify the joint committee on education of any amendments or revisions to regulations in effect on April first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six at least ninety days before the effective date of such amendments or revisions; provided, however, that if federal law should require that amendments to regulations be made in less than ninety days to ensure continued federal funding, notification to the committee shall be made as soon as possible, but failure to provide ninety days’ notice shall in no manner affect the legality or validity of said regulations.

The board shall establish an executive committee and such other committees as it may from time to time deem necessary.

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