What Effect does the New Common Core Standards have on Children in Special Education? (by Melissa Bain)

My Question:

What affect does the New Common Core Standards have on Children in Special Education?

Introduction

CP screen shot CP screen shot 2Throughout this term I have focused on Special Education in the classroom. Focusing on what concern seems to be biggest in school today. Last week while attending my son’s parent teacher conference, his teacher explained the changes being made in performance expectations due to implementation of new common core standards this year. While reading through them I started to think about what kind of impact this would have on my oldest son who is in special education. Finding this an excellent thing to research not only for this class but for my own knowledge as well. It appears that how changes in curriculum may affect children with learning disabilities is not a top priority to our government. I have started a parent support group at my sons elementary that focuses on offering help to families of children in special education. I have chosen to make blog postings on the effect that the new core standards could have on children with learning disabilities. The question I ask is “what affect does the new state standards have on children in special education?” The research sources I have provided give a look at both sides of the issue.

 Resources

United States. International Center for Leadership in Education. Oregon Department of Education. Fewer, Clearer, Higher Common Core State Standards Implications for Students Receiving Special Education Services. By Lawrence C. Gloeckler. Www.LeaderEd.com, Feb. 2011. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.

This source is a packet of information from the Oregon Department of Education. It explains what the new core standards are and what implications they have for students in Special Education. The packet highlights what will be expected of special education students as well as SPED teachers. A very good a source for finding out the benefits of Common Core. This fits in with my research on special education in the classroom. Giving great background information on what the intentions of the state are. You get a glimpse of why Oregon supports the new standards. Not every state in the US implemented or plans to implement the core standards. This information is very disappointing if you want to get a look at the pros and cons because it really only focuses on how the state believes the core standards will benefit children.

Cortiella, Candace. Parent Advocacy Brief. Washington D.C.: National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2013. PDF.

The main focus of this document is on the positive and negative impacts of the new common core standards. This goes right along with my concerns in Essay two. That with common core we may see an increase in retention (grade repeating), in high school drop outs, and children receiving alternative diplomas which may negatively impact college opportunities. I found this article very informative of the downsides to the new standards. There is also a question and answer section where concerns from parents are answered. This was very helpful because the author breaks down the more complicated terms making them easier to understand.

Alabama. Alabama Department of Education. Oregon Department of Education. Alabama Curriculum Guide. By Thomas R. Bice. http://www.ode.state.or.us, Mar. 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.

This I found very interesting. It is Oregon Department of Education’s guide to the common core expectations. It is what children are expected to know in each academic area (Math, Reading, writing, etc…) on the completion of each grade from K-12. It is a little intimidating to read but very important to know the states expectations for our children.

Rakow, Susan. “The Common Core: The Good, the Bad, the Possible.” AMLE- Association for Middle Level Education. Middle Ground Magazine, Oct. 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.

This is a very good article that talks about both the positive and negative effects of common core. The author talks about the “Bright side” being that families that move around will not have to worry about their children falling behind. Students will be given the opportunity to be more college and career ready. The “Darker side” being that classrooms will become even more test centered and driven. Another downer being we may see an increase in children leaving the public school center for alternatives like private and charter schools. This is something I can identify with personally. Having removed my oldest son from school to attend an online charter school where he can learn at his own pace.

Public Writing

Common Core: What schools may not be telling parents of children in special education.

Do you have a child in Public School? Then chances are you have heard about the new common core state standards started this year. Last week I attended my son Mathias’ parent teacher conference, where his teacher handed me a booklet listing the big changes being made in performance expectations for the year. While reading through them, I started to think about what kind of impact this would have on my oldest son who is in special education. I decided to look into it further starting at the department of education website. After reading through countless documents stating how easier everything will be for the teachers and the schools, the benefits of readying children for college or career earlier, and the ability to travel without fear of falling behind. I noticed that the Oregon Department of Education was only giving a one sided view of the positive impact of the new standards. Nowhere did it state any negative impacts or clear information on the actual impact for children in special education. I was left asking “how does this effect a child with learning disabilities specifically?”

What I have found through my research was a little shocking. According to the National center of learning disabilities Parent Advocacy Brief there could be quite a few areas of concerns for parents. The first being an increase in grade retention due to inability to perform at grade level on testing. “More than one-third of students with disabilities are retained at grade level at least once, usually in elementary school. Promotion tests – The fastest growing area of high-stakes testing (state testing) – will most likely contribute to even more grade retention of students with learning disabilities.”- Candace Cortiella. Being held back more than once in school could lead to an increase in high school drop outs. Children with disabilities have even been encouraged to leave school to pursue alternative routes such as the General Educational Development (GED).I find this really sad I don’t think it is the place of any educator to tell your child to give up on school. It is my belief all children are capable of learning, some just need to be taught in a different way or at a different pace than others. They should be encouraged to stay in school and never given the idea that they are unable to learn or not worth the time and effort of the school.

This leads me to another concern that I am facing with my 7th grade son and that is the awarding of alternative diplomas. If your child can not pass grade level testing he/she could be put on track for a modified diploma. Which may lead to being placed into high school course work that will not provide the necessary credits for a standard diploma, nor provide the students access to the subject matter included on graduation tests. If your child receives a modified diploma they are no longer eligible for financial aid for college.

 

These are just a few of the growing concerns for parents. I feel it is even more important that we change the way children are being taught in school. We need to stop basing a child’s whole future on his/her ability to pass a test that is created with one type of child in mind. The core standards were not created with our children in mind but to help us look smarter when compared to other countries. State curriculum is designed to teach the masses not the individual child. We need to stop teaching to the test and start teaching to the individual strengths of each child. “Teaching a room full of learners the same thing in the same way over the same time span with the same supports and expecting good results from all students has never happened and never will.” -Carol Anne Tomlinson, of the University of Virginia. If we want more children to go to college then we need to give them reasons to believe that they can. We need to stop forcing square pegs into the round holes, creating nothing but frustration and low self-esteem. Until we reform our approach to education we will see more and more children falling behind in school.

 

 

 

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One comment

  1. Your research and writing on this topic have been incredibly strong all term. You are thorough and focused throughout. I hope that you’ll share this writing to various education blogs local to you so that you can open up the doors to more advocacy and more conversations 🙂

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