The Common Core State Standards have been with us for a while now. And some states that had adopted them have now opted out. But for those states who continue to work with them (which is still the majority of states) they are slowly working their way into Special Education curriculum and objectives. Even those of us who work with students with very significant disabilities have started to look at the strands of skills that run from Kindergarten through Elementary school (and some even beyond).
So what do the Common Core State Standards mean for special education? Not too long ago we passed the 40th anniversary of the passing of the IDEA and the provision of a free appropriate public education for all students. We have had a variety of government mandates since then - IDEA, No Child Left Behind, ESSA - with the Federal Government trying to move schools to set rigorous objectives for students with disabilities so that they can meet grade level standards.
While not all students with special needs will meet those academic standards, there is no reason not to provide support to help them achieve higher levels of learning. As David Yoder said, “No child is too anything to be able to read and write.” (2002)
There are many more students who will be able to attain the standards than we have thought in the past. We have learned that we need to presume competence; to believe that our students do indeed have the ability to learn more, do more, have more than we have historically believed.
Another common buzz phrase (beyond, “presume competence”) in special education now is “The least dangerous assumption.” We do what will cause - if we are wrong - the least damage to the student.
Read this helpful, free handout about what the CCSS mean for special education students, teachers, and support staff.
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