Practice Areas

How Common Core is affecting special education

Over the past few years, parents and educators across the nation have been hearing the phrase “Common Core” uttered with increasing frequency. The Common Core model aims to ensure that students are evaluated on the basis of common standards which are designed to reinforce critical thinking. This model, like many educational models, has its benefits and its drawbacks.

A major benefit of this model is that it seeks to ensure that students all over the nation are given access to the same kinds of academic rigor. However, a major drawback of this model goes hand-in-hand with this major benefit. When all children are expected to learn the same material at roughly the same pace, many children will find themselves bored, while others will struggle to keep up with the common curriculum.

Many educators and parents are understandably concerned about the effects that this model is having and ultimately will have on children with certain special educational needs. The very nature of special education honors the fact that not every child learns in the same ways and at the same pace. Not only does the Common Core model compromise some special education learning environments, it can degrade the social environment and the confidence of some special education students.

Common Core emphasizes that students should learn certain material at a certain pace. If some special education students cannot “keep up” it is not a failure on their part. It is a system-related failure. And special education students should not be academically and/or socially penalized for a system-related failure.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Common Core Is Leaving My Students Behind,” Brian Zorn, June 15, 2015

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