The Relationship Between Common Core and Special Education

  • By:sierraedlaw

Common Core presents consistently implemented education standards for students to excel in curriculum ranging from math to English language. However, as Mary Hyink discovered, applying Common Core standards for special education students poses a few challenges. Mary teaches math to 6th grade students that include special needs children who benefit from federal special education laws.

“The main goal of Common Core is to prepare students for college and beyond. What I didn’t know is that Common Core is something special education students have to deal with as well.

Forty-two states have voluntarily adopted the guidelines that define Common Core. Yet, each state struggles to integrate special needs children into Common Core education programs as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Applying Common Core Standards for Special Education

Common Core standards have created challenges for children and adolescents who enroll in general education programs. A growing number of teachers and administrators want to know how Common Core guidelines apply to special needs students. Special needs students typically perform below grade level education standards that are not as rigorous as the education standards established for general education students.

How do teachers and administrators turn underperforming special education students into students that exceed Common Core standards? The Common Core State Standards Initiative website offers several answers. “Application to Students with Disabilities” is a must read for educators who are unclear on how to support and accommodate special education students under Common Core standards.

Standards-Based IEP

The standards-based Individualized Education Program (IEP) creates educational planning recommendations for students with learning disabilities. The IEP lists the steps needed to help special education students meet the standards established for general education students. Special education IEPS set attainable yearly learning goals catering to the unique needs of special needs children and adolescents.

Learning Support and Special Accommodations

Special education law mandates educators to provide supports and accommodations for special needs students that include one-on-one access to a special education teacher in a general student classroom. Educators must implement different teaching methods to accommodate the learning skills of special education students. For example, one special education student might require more technology driven math curriculum, while another special education student needs more written instruction to enhance learning. Assistive education tools such as sign language and text readers must be available for special needs students.

Credentialed Support Teachers

Common Core requires teachers to offer high-quality, fact driven curriculum to the general student population. Recent federally implemented statutes have expanded the role special educators have in ensuring special education students receive the same level of curriculum. Many education advocates believe the role of special education instructors should grow under Common Core standards. The key is to develop credentialed teachers who possess the instructional skills to adapt teaching methods to the unique learning needs of a wide variety of special education students.

Common Core Controversy

A large group of parents and educators make the point that students with learning disabilities should not be held to the same education standards mandated under Common Core that apply to the general student population. Some parents who raise special needs children and adolescents want educators to focus more on developing life skills, instead of trying to teach special needs children academic skills. Another concern among parents of special education students involves how to measure special education student performance. After all, special needs children require on average between 30 and 40 more days of instruction to learn the same curriculum presented to general education students.

Common Core standards placed on special education students might not be suitable for your special needs child. Contact a California education law attorney today to learn more about your child’s legal rights under special education law that apply to Common Core.

Posted in: District Lawsuits, IEP's, Special Education, Student Advocacy