In the Year Two Thousand and One.
Chapter 71A of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out sections 1 and 2, as appearing in the 1996 Official
Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sections:-
Section 1. The following words, as used in this chapter shall,
unless the context requires otherwise, have the following
“Bilingual education/native language instruction”, a language acquisition
process for pupils in which much or all instruction,
textbooks, and teaching materials are in the child’s native language.
“Department”, the department of education.
“English language classroom”, a classroom in which the language of instruction
used by the teaching personnel is
overwhelmingly the English language, and in which such teaching personnel possess a good knowledge of the English
“English language mainstream classroom”, a classroom in which the pupils
either are native English language speakers or
already have acquired reasonable fluency in English.
“English learner”, a child who does not speak English or whose native
language is not English and who is currently able to
perform ordinary classroom work in English, also known as a Limited English Proficiency or LEP child.
Program in transitional bilingual education or “structured English immersion”,
an English language acquisition process for
young children in which nearly all classroom instruction is in English but with the curriculum and presentation designed for
children who are learning the language.
“School committee”, the school committee of a city, town or regional school district.
“Teacher of transitional education”, a teacher with a speaking and reading
ability in a language other than English in which
bilingual education is offered and with communicative skills in English.
Section 2. Subject to the exceptions provided herein, every school-aged
child shall be taught in English by being taught in
English. In particular, this shall require that every school-aged child be placed in English language classrooms. Children
who are English learners shall be educated through sheltered English immersion during a temporary transition period not
normally to exceed one year. Local schools shall be permitted to place in the same classroom English learners of different
ages but whose degree of English proficiency is similar. Local schools shall be encouraged to mix together in the same
classroom English learners from different native language groups but with the same degree of English fluency. Once English
learners have acquired a good working knowledge of English, they shall be transferred to English language mainstream
The requirements of this section may be waived with the prior written
informed consent, to be provided annually, of the
child’s parents or legal guardian under the circumstances specified herein. Such informed consent shall require that said
parents or legal guardian personally visit the school to apply for the waiver and that they there be provided a full description
of the educational materials to be used in the different educational program choices and all the educational opportunities
available to the child. Under such parental waiver conditions, children may be transferred to classes where they are taught
English and other subjects through bilingual education techniques or other generally recognized educational methodologies
permitted by law. Individual schools in which 20 pupils or more of a given grade level receive a waiver shall be required
to offer such a class; otherwise, they must allow the pupils to transfer to a public school in which such a class is offered.
The circumstances in which a parental exception waiver may be granted shall include:
(a)Children who already know English: the child already possesses good English
language skills, as measured by standardized tests of English vocabulary
comprehension, reading and writing, in which the
child scores at or above the state average for his grade level or at or above the fifth grade average, whichever is lower; or
(b) Older children: the child is age 10 years or older, and it is the
informed belief of the school principal and educational
staff that an alternate course of educational study would be better suited to the child’s rapid acquisition of basic English
language skills; or
(c) Children with special needs: the child already has been placed for
a period of not less than thirty days during that school
year in an English language classroom and it is subsequently the informed belief of the school principal and educational staff
that the child has such special physical, emotional, psychological, or educational needs that an alternate course of
educational study would be better suited to the child’s overall educational development. A written description of these
special needs must be provided and any such decision is to be made subject to the examination and approval of the local
school superintendent, under guidelines established by and subject to the review of the local school committee and ultimately
the department. The existence of such special needs shall not compel issuance of a waiver, and the parents shall be fully
informed of their right to refuse to agree to a waiver.
SECTION 2. Section 3 of said chapter 71A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the last two paragraphs.
SECTION 3. Section 4 of said chapter 71A, as so appearing, is hereby
amended by striking out, in lines, 1 and 2, the words
“child of limited English-speaking ability” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- English learner.
SECTION 4. Section 5 of said chapter 71A, as so appearing, is hereby
amended by striking out, in line 6, the words
“children of limited English-speaking ability” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- English learner.
SECTION 5. The first subsection of the second paragraph of section 6
of said chapter 71A is hereby amended by striking,
“communicative skills in English” and inserting the following words: “are proficient in written and oral English.”
SECTION 6. Section 7 of chapter 71A, as so appearing, is hereby amended
by striking out, in line 5, the words “child or
limited English-speaking ability” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- an English learner.