Public Comment 101

Rules governing amending regulations are similar for all agencies. Let’s focus on how to  comment on regulatory changes proposed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

When changes to regulations are proposed a series of events occurs:

  1. The proposed regulations are prepared by DESE staff. The “red line” version of the proposed regulations clearly shows any old language that is being removed and new language (in red text) that will be inserted.
  2. Proposed regulatory changes are brought the the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and a vote is taken to solicit public comment.
  3. Public comment must be open for a period of at least 60 days. At the end of the public comment period, DESE staff prepare a summary of all comments.
  4. The Commissioner may propose additional changes to the regulations for the BESE to consider. New versions of the proposed regulatory changes are prepared and published.
  5. BESE takes a vote to approve the final regulations during a public meeting. This typically occurs three or four months after the initial vote to solicit public comment.

How To Comment on Proposed Regulations

  1. Know where your regulations are posted online.  DESE regulations that are open for public comment are posted on the Education Laws and Regulations section and check the BESE board documents for any memos, summaries or statements related to the proposed changes to the regulations.
  2. Know where to send your comments. Public comments for DESE regulation changes can always be submitted in writing to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148. Additional email address, online forms or surveys for collecting public comment may also be posted with the Notice of Public Comment.
  3. Know your deadlines. The Notice of Public Comment will state the deadline for public submission. 
  4. Give rationals that are supported with facts and/or personal experience. Your comments could focus on whether you oppose or support the proposed changes.  Will this change impact your day-to-day work? Then tell that story!
  5. Share your comments and ask others to send in comments. Put the ol’ social media accounts and lunchtime conversations to good use. Share your comments/position with friends and family and ask them to chime in!

Links to Sample Documents

The links below will bring your to old documents posted on the DESE website. These are shared for informational purposes only. We encourage you to click around the DESE Laws and Regulations page to see more examples.

Notice of Public Comment Formal notice from DESE that regulatory changes are open for public comment. 

Proposed regulatory changes (red-line) Red-line (or tracked changes) version of proposed changes to regulations. This version will show both the original regulations and proposed changes in a single document.

Proposed regulatory changes A clean version of proposed regulatory changes that only shows to proposed new regulations. 

Examples of general public comments A sample of public comments submitted by educators to DESE regarding proposed regulatory changes. 

Example of MTA formal public comment One example of an MTA formal public comment submission on proposed regulatory changes. 

Example of formal public comment One example of a formal public comment submission from a stakeholder (not MTA related). 

Summary of Public Comment One example of a DESE summary and response to public comments submitted on proposed regulatory changes. 

 

 

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