Past Blog-Common Core and Students with Learning Disabilities.


Common Core and Students with Learning Disabilities

What is the deal with Common Core and Students with learning disabilities?

This blogs explores areas that parents of children with learning disabilities are concerned about because their child’s public school is implementing Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Based on parent’s statements to me and what I have read in the newspaper and professional journals, parents fear their student with learning disabilities (LD) will not fare well academically as a result of CCSS imprementation.  When I read about CCSS in the past and understood what the CCSS would bring to all students, I believed the standards were a good idea and all students would increase their ability to think critically and gain knowledge to succeed beyond high school. However, upon further inspection of my professional publications, Council for Exceptional Children; Division for Learning Disability, I read about several areas that are of concerns for parents and professionals in the LD field. Parents and professionals are satisfied with what students are to learn (e.g., more complex material), but not satisfied with how students should attain this complex material.  According to Louisa Moats, of particular relevance to the LD community is that the standards do not address the realities of individual variation in learning abilities, aspirations, or preferences. Although I would like to explore in depth CCSS and LD, due to space I will focus on how the CCSS do not take into consideration how the students should learn the complex material of the standards.

A little background, the CCSS came about, in part, due to students going to college, but not succeeding because they were unable to comprehend and interpret complex text. The CCSS development team, Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors’ Association, concluded that students in middle and high school were being exposed to less and less rigors text and teachers needed to do a better job teaching advanced and sophisticated reading comprehension. Thus, the CCSS discussed and now implemented.

Moats and other professionals in the field of LD believe raising the standards and expectations, without sufficient attention to causes and remedies for reading and academic failure is not likely to benefit students with mild, moderate or severe learning difficulties. Below is a list of comparison of curriculum and instructional design guided by standards’ expectations for mainstream students and instructional design standards’ expectations LD students’ benefits from:

Students in Mainstream

  •  Assume students have either mastered foundational skills.
  • Reading aloud, informational text, complex text and inquiry-based learning is student dependent
  •  Believed that the CCSS are getting away
  • Developing foundational reading, language and writing skills focusing more in the area of writing composition

Student with Learning Disabilities

  •  Foundational skills continue to need to be mastered
  •  Instruction, teacher-directed, systematic, sequential, and explicit and about the important relationships
  •  CCSS standards do not inform educators among phonology, word recognition, spelling, fluency and comprehension.

Parents instead of being concerned and feeling powerless, speak to your students’ teacher and make sure your student is receiving a researched based education, researched based practices are implemented, your child’s teacher is a highly qualified teacher and keep your eye on matters that safeguard your students’ self-esteem and social adjustment. If not satisfied with the information you receive from your students’ school, let New Tampa Tutor, advocate on behalf of your student, motivate and remediate your students’ weaknesses one-on-one.

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