I received two very nice responses from non special educators, Jennie Beltramini and Crystal Barrick, about how special educators are supposed to employ the text complexity indicator of the CCR anchor standards. Their suggestions directly contradict Timothy Shanahan, who authored the text complexity indicator. They suggested reading to students and using below grade level texts, which according to Shanahan has been part of the problem all along. Students have not had to "struggle with the text". These suggestions are in direct conflict with the standards. I would love to hear from some special educators abnout how we are supposed to apply standards meant for all when individualizing the educational program for students with disabilities. If the needs of students with disabilities could just be met by scaffolding material they would not be eligible for special education.
Students with disabilities typically under-perform academically when compared to their non-disabled peers. The common core seems to ignore this and instead seems to expect that students with disabilities will perform up to the same standards as their non-disabled peers, as if the disability did not exist. As James Kauffman wrote in his opinion piece, Waving to Ray Charles (2005), "The danger of assuming that we can eliminate the gap between the achievement of students with disabilities and that of those without is twofold. First, this assumption sets expectations for students with disabilities that are totally unreasonable; as a group, the students will be bound to fail. Second, it sets expectations for teachers that are totally unreasonable; no teacher can succeed."
My fear is that there is not enough flexibility built into the standards to allow teachers to address skills taught in previous grade levels or to choose texts that students can be both successful with and challenged by.
- Pre K-12
- Common Core / Special Education