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Common Core Offers Little Guidance in Special Education, Teachers Find

Common Core Offers Little Guidance in Special Education, Teachers Find

Common Core continues to be a topic of discussion in schools across the country, and special education teachers are challenged to meet their students' needs while following the requirements of the standards.

Special education teachers are now finding that the national standards provide little guidance to help "keep their students on pace with their peers," according to an article on DistrictAdministration.com.

“We have a lot of kids who have not had the opportunity to learn standards in the past, and have a lot of gaps in instruction,” said Debbie Taub, director of research for Keystone Assessment and a Council for Exceptional Children member, in the article.

Taub, the article said, "has created a professional development program on teaching the Common Core to students with complex instructional needs."

“But we’re seeing that with well-thought out instruction, it’s possible for these kids to make progress in the standards and build foundational skills at the same time,” Taub said.

The Common Core, DistrictAdministration.com said, "addresses students with disabilities in a 1 ½-page document."

"It states that special-needs students must have support services, individualized instruction and assistive technology to “enable their access to the general education curriculum," the article said of the document. "However, it does not state what these services are or how they should be implemented. Changes in curriculum must “not change the standards, but allow students to learn within the framework of the Common Core."

Taub said that it is "up to states and districts to determine how to implement accommodations such as simplifying texts and deciding appropriate achievement levels for special-needs students.

"Approximately 6 percent of the U.S. student population has significant cognitive disabilities, including general intellectual disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, and language and reading impairments that aren’t helped by enlarged text or hearing aids," said Katharine Beals, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Beals, has also written about Common Core's impact on special education.

“We can’t expect teachers who do not have content expertise to know how to teach this deep, rich content,” she said. “Even the ones with expertise are struggling through the standards.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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