What does Common Core mean for the SPED Student?

14 Aug

States across our country have a written set of learning goals or outcomes for their students.  Some states have gotten together and written a set of common goals (or standards) for the core subjects, English Language Arts and Math, called the Common Core State Standards or the CCSS.  Schools in many states have begun to implement a change to their curriculum based on these common standards.  Many parents and educators are concerned about what these changes mean for their students and some states have decided to not implement the standards in their state.

In my experience as an educator, these standards are not extremely different from what we were already teaching our students, but they are more rigorous. For example, the common core raises the bar for text complexity at every grade level.  We are asking our students to read and comprehend more challenging texts at an earlier grade level, but not necessarily different books. In fact, the CCSS Initiative has a suggested list of books for each grade level (called exemplar texts) and the classics are definitely emphasized. The shift that I notice in math is toward placing more importance on developing students’ number sense and their ability to solve more complex word pUnknownroblems. So, how does this affect your student?

For all students, but especially students on an IEP, school just got tougher.  They will be asked to read more challenging books. They will need to be able to write a more structured piece of writing. And they will be asked to solve more difficult math problems. However, they will still have their IEP accommodations and support. That is not changing. I do not believe that the CCSS were designed to “trip-up”  or fail students, but to better prepare them for the competitive world economy they will participate in.   The CCSS Initiative has issued a statement about students with disabilities ( available at http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSonSWD-AT.pdf). In their statement, it states that “Students with disabilities ―students eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)―must be challenged to excel within the general curriculum and be prepared for success in their post-school lives, including college and/or careers.” As a parent of a student on an IEP, I want nothing more than for my child to be prepared for a career after their schooling.  And I do believe that our children are up to the challenge of the CCSS, even our learning disabled children.  What concerns me, as parent and educator, is that I wonder if most of our schools and educators are up to the changes that the CCSS has put forth. Will we want to invest the funds it will take to bring every student up to these lofty standards. I hope so!  School systems and taxpayers need to ask themselves if they are willing to offer the support (AKA money for training and materials) that educators need to make these changes? As educators, we need to ask ourselves if they are willing to change? And as parents, we need to ask ourselves if we are willing to support our children as they undertake this more challenging curriculum?

If you are concerned or wondering about the CCSS, I suggest you visit their website at http://www.corestandards.org or follow the link below to a quick video that explains the rationale behind CCSS.

Learn About Common Core in 3 Minutes

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