Monday, November 8, 2010

Guest Post - Common Core State Standards and Special Education

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an effort promoted by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The Initiative is intended to provide states, students, teachers, parents and school officials with clear markers and education standards students should be meeting during their K-12 careers. The supporting theory implies that by aligning primary and secondary educations, students will be better prepared to enter post-secondary institutions and workforce training programs.

The creation of these standards is undertaken by the states themselves, using their own processes for development, adoption and implementing. However, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort to create a set of standards that states can voluntary adopt. These standards are generally implemented in English language arts and mathematics. If states choose to use the Common Core State Standards, the measure will be voted on by the state's board of education or the state's legislature. So far, around 36 states and the district of Columbia have adopted common academic standards, but states critical of the measures believe it to be ruse for the federal government to control and impose their own national standards on states.

But what do these common academic standards mean for special education teachers and students? It appears that the effort is met with both concern and optimism. While some believe the standards impose reasonable goals for students with learning disorders or speech impairment, others believe the standards are unreasonable for those with cognitive impairments. In the Common Core State Standards, the writers noted that students covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, should have access to and receive, if possible, the same rigorous coursework general education students receive. Unfortunately, the text does not detail how that is to occur. There are concessions made, however, for accessibility issues, like acknowledging that "reading should allow for the use of Braille, screen-reader technology, and other assistive devices, while writing should include the use of a scribe, computer, or speech-to-text technology."

Currently, many special education advocates, officials, and teachers are busily attempting to discern how these common standards will be implemented into their programs and affect their disabled students. It seems that only time will tell whether those 36 states with already adopted common academic standards can rise to meet the needs of their special education students.

This guest post is contributed by Olivia Coleman, who writes on the topics of online colleges and universities.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: olivia.coleman33

Share this
Do you know somebody else who would find this post interesting or useful? Please forward it to them. Did somebody forward this post to you? Visit Teaching All Students and subscribe to receive posts for free. If you need a tutorial please visit this post: RSS Readers