Finding the Core
Special education has always been one of the biggest challenges for educators around the globe. Children with learning disabilities need extra care and attention if to shape them into successful adults ready for the real world. That is why most of schools offering special education programs provide individualized learning for their students, based on their needs and learning abilities.
However, in more than 40 American states, a testing system by the name of Common Core is followed. It was launched in 2009 with the aim to standardize education across country by requiring students to take a standard yearly test that would be based on certain benchmarks that students must achieve. The problem is that the country has put both general education students and special education students on the same level through the test, putting the later at risk of failure.
Counteracting the Concept of Individualized Learning
Special education teachers have left no stone unturned in finding the proper way to teach their students. The ultimate solution that they have come up with is the idea of individualized learning. This system has been helping special education students become responsible adults for years now because it focuses on the students’ unique abilities rather than teaching them something they can’t understand or excel at.
The Common Core standards are completely counteracting that education system by asking students to take standard tests on Math and English in order to pass. It doesn’t cater to students’ disabilities and it requires them to learn everything like a normal student would.
IEP to Provide Solace
The needs of special students have been accommodated with the help of the Individualized Education Program, which helps students be more comfortable in their exams. Students are provided with services like getting extra time to complete their tests or being tested in a different location to help them be on par with the general education students. However, many special education teachers think that this is not enough to let the special students excel at tests like the Common Core.
Both Students and Teachers under Pressure
Apart from students, teachers are also in a heap of pressure due to this test. That is because 20% of any teacher’s evaluation is based on the test scores that their students get in standardized tests such as the Common Core. If the students can’t excel at the test, the educator’s ability to teach is questioned as well.
While the education policy makers of the country may think that standardized testing is the way to go in order to bring the education standards to a high level, many teachers believe that this is shattering the confidence of students, especially of those with special needs. Many special students, who are otherwise brilliant in their studies, have been found to crumble under the pressure of the Common Core and have come home doubting their abilities and intelligence. That is why there is a need for finding a solution to this problem if we are to help our special students achieve the same level of success and respect as that of general students in their future.