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Most States Adopt Standards Setting High Expectations For Special Education


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States are quickly lining up behind a set of ambitious national academic standards that set a high bar for students with disabilities.

Already 27 have adopted the plan known as the Common Core State Standards and several more states are expected to sign on in the coming weeks.

The standards, developed by members of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, are designed to establish uniform guidelines for English and math instruction in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

A final version of the plan was released in early June. And states have good incentive to adopt the standards quickly: doing so by Aug. 2 offers them a leg up in the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competition for education funding.

Under the standards, students with disabilities are expected to be “challenged to excel within the general curriculum.” According to a supplemental document released alongside the standards, education of students with even the most severe cognitive disabilities should “retain the rigor and high expectations of the Common Core State Standards.”

Supporters of the plan, however, are concerned that quick adoption of the standards may yield false promise. Should states fail to win federal dollars, it is feared they may not have incentive to allocate resources toward making the standards reality, reports The New York Times. To read more click here.

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. jirrgang says:

    Please PEOPLE, come see what students with “the most severe cognitive disabilities” are like. Please know who you are writing for. I believe in high standards as well but you need to know abilities. Would you write a prescription for a patient you rarely if ever, see?

  2. tjp61 says:

    I most definitely agree with jirrgang – the most severely involved students are trying, on some days, to make it to the next! As a special education teacher in a public school I deal with students assigned to six different grade levels (K-5) who actually (cognitively) function anywhere from 3 months to 4 years yet we’re expected to assess them in reading and math (science and writing for fourth graders). Since accepting this teaching assignment we (my team) have raised expectations for each and every student but what IS…IS!

    Again, as jirrgang says – come see for yourself!

  3. SPEDWatch1 says:

    States have been “adopting high standards for special education” and claiming that they “challenge students wih disabilities to excel within the general curriculum” for years. It’s never amounted to any improvement in outcomes for these students, and won’t this time, either.

    We have a law (IDEA) that purports to protect the special education rights of students and their parents. We have a monitoring and enforcement system (OSEP) that actually has a built-in allowance for noncompliance with IDEA. States are NOT required to be sustained compliance with IDEA. OSEP requires only that noncompliance be corrected within ONE YEAR of identification. So a state can be in noncompliance with an IDEA regulation in months 1-11, go into compliance in month 12, and then go right back out of compliance in months 13-23, and they get an A-OK from the feds. I have been told by Dr. Ken Kienas of OSEP that while 100 percent compliance with the law is their “expectation”, we (parents and students) have to understand that “systems break, errors occur, districts don’t always act in the best interests of the students they serve …”

    Imagine the federal government telling the people of the Gulf region that while they expect 100 percent compliance with the laws regulating deep sea oil exploration, people who live in that region have to understand that “systems break, errors occur, oil companies don’t always act in the best interests of the people who are impacted by oil drilling activities.” Imagine a deep sea oil drilling regulatory enforcement system that actually allows oil companies to be out of compliance with safety requirements for 11 out of 12 months each year. There would be a massive uprising amongst the populace and changes would be made, quickly. And it wouldn’t be just the people in the Gulf region protesting. It would be people all over the country because such an enforcement system is fatally flawed and fundamentally immoral.

    Until parents of students with disabilities rise up by the hundreds of thousands in protest, the same cycle of IDEA regulatory noncompliance and student failure will continue to repeat year, after year, after year, after year …..

    We are organizing in Massachusetts.

    Ellen M. Chambers, MBA
    Founder and Director
    SPEDWatch, Inc.

    Special Education Advocate
    Margolis & Bloom, LLP

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