Special needs children are suffering the most from common core. What can be done? Do parents even know what is going on in the classrooms?
One parent from the Hudson valley writes,
“I had a rude awakening today. My daughter is diagnosed with autism and now in an inclusion class for 5th grade. I went in for a pre meeting with her team, before next week’s annual. I brought up my daughter’s ongoing problems with verb tenses in speaking and writing (I brought in her work samples and a running list of incorrect sentences that I keep on my phone) and asked when will this be scored negatively as she never loses points in her writing. I was basically told that they don’t even teach grammar in isolation and so don’t worry about it! I asked, if she had taken the state test, would she lose points for her grammar (and spelling). No, she would not and they explained the new rubric. I asked if students in High School have grammar and spelling mistakes counted against them? How about the Regents? Does grammar and spelling count? They said, “we don’t know, but you don’t need to worry about that yet”. Well, yes, I do need to be “worried” because my kid does not learn by osmosis the way, maybe, some of the general ed students will learn about grammar and spelling by high school. Now is the time to remediate or start teaching her how to accommodate through assistive tech. They looked at me like I was out of my mind.
1. Does grammar and spelling count in High School and on the Regents? 2. How do you get goals on an IEP that demand explicit instruction in grammar rules if the general ed population is not receiving that instruction? (we have a speech/language goal for this that is obviously not being addressed). I am ending the day convinced that all kids are being dumbed down and I don’t want that for my special ed kid.
The teachers said they wanted to teach a grammar lesson and the district told them no. I’ve wondered why my daughter has been acing ELA when she has a language impairment and autism, Did not add up. Now it does. 10 years ago she would be barely passing.”
This is inexcusable.
Another New York mom writes similarly:
“If you find out how to get that type of instruction, please share. I am going through the same thing with my 6th grade son right now. I am told there is no such intervention or instruction available. I am also told not to ‘worry’ as my son is actually one of the highest in his ELA class, even though I had him privately tested which showed writing at a 2nd grade level. I was advised by the specialist to have him attend something like a Huntington Learn Center ($40 an hour!) to get him the help he needs, but I cannot afford that option. I am currently getting him assistive technology, iPad, but that process has been horribly slow as well. According to my son, resource room consists of writing in his journal but his writing is never critique or scored or corrected. I just want my child taught! How hard is it to find a good old fashion grammar book and teach it! Generations of people learned it that way but now if there is no ‘computer based’ learning program they cant teach the topic?!?
This “grammar” problem predates common core, but it is made even worse with common core. I have met with resource room teacher, principal/director of special education, CSE chairperson, ELA teacher and superintendent on this topic. I had a very heated exchange with the superintendent about this topic prior to state testing. He was pleading with parents to have the kids take the tests so they could “have the data”. I showed him some data. My currently 11th grade daughter took every single state test. Always poor results on the basic English/grammar section. She took the PSAT a few months ago and bombed the English/grammar section. I point blank asked him, you had the data on her and what did you do to help her? I told him to stick his data up his a$$. They have data and do nothing. They have data on my son – previous state tests scoring 1’s and TWO private evaluations – and do NOTHING. But I am told he is getting very good grades and is almost top of his class. However, when you look closer at his individual grades and papers, his poor grades (40s and 50s) are on what sheets they do work on for grammar (only give the sheets to be completed but do not actually teach it by the way), spelling tests, and writing assignments. It proves to me none of this “reform” is for the kids and what they need! I have been fighting this issue since last year when the private evaluations were done. I am told there is NO intervention and/or instruction for it. I am told “he is really considered average for the 6th grade”. To me, that is SAD. Very sad!! My learning disabled son who writes and reads at a 2nd grade level is considered average for 6th grade?!?! I am told at this age they should be “self correcting” on writing assignments. How can a child self correct when they are NOT taught how it is supposed to be correct in the first place?!?! And my son’s language based disabilities make it even harder on him. He cries when they have to write papers because he knows what he is writing down is not correct.
They are “behind” because everything dropped down two grade levels. I am told this is the “gap years” deficits. Add the “gap years” to the learning disability and you have disaster. I keep asking when is the “gap” going to be filled?!?! Poor kids…”
Note the following information :
What is Not Included in the NYS ELA Modules Grades 3-8, and Why:
The NYS ELA Modules Grades 3-8 were designed to help teachers develop students’ capacity to read, think, discuss, and write about complex texts. Lessons for grades 3-5 are just 60 minutes long; lessons for grades 6-8 are 45 minutes long. Given these time constraints, the modules reflect strategic decisions to incorporate most, but not all, of the CCSS.The most basic language standards are addressed when appropriate to the context of a task or lesson. Certain elements of a typical literacy curriculum are not included. For example: The modules do not include decontextualized teaching of writing skills (i.e. stand-alone lessons aboutparts of a sentence or proper use of commas). This type of instruction has its place. But since students’ skill acquisition becomes increasingly varied as they progress through the grades, some of this instruction is best addressed in small groups with opportunities for differentiation. Teachers are encouraged to add these specific lessons based on the needs of their particular students. The modules do not include explicit instruction on all parts of speech, phonics, decoding, letter-sound correspondence, etc. Some Common Core language standards are addressed in context, rather than as a separate scope and sequence (e.g. additional literacy instruction that includes small groups and guided reading). The modules rarely include writing purely from students’ imaginations (3rd grade has one exception, when students write an imagined scene based on their study of Peter Pan). Most teachers have considerable experience with supporting more pure, imaginary narrative writing; therefore the modules strongly emphasize writing from sources.Taken as a whole, the purpose of the NYS ELA Modules is to bring the Common Core Standards and “Shifts” to life for teachers and students. The writing instruction embedded in all modules reflects this purpose, inviting teachers to envision what is possible, and giving them the tools they need to help students write clearly and effectively about compelling topics.”
The teachers hands are tied from teaching basic grammatical rules needed for life skills. What are special needs parents, who likely already battle the districts just to assure basic needs are met each year, to do?
The special needs community is punished again and again with common core. Budget cuts and the common core idea of college readiness for children who may not be able to follow that path of what Gates determines as proper, are being discriminated against.
They are making huge mistakes with our most vulnerable students.
“While Ribot, who has a learning disability, did not pass all the Regents exams required to graduate from high school, she was able to get a local diploma through a less difficult set of exams known as the Regents Competency Tests. Without that diploma, Ribot says her life would have taken a different turn.
“I would be working a minimum-wage job somewhere,” said Ribot, who is now pursuing a two-year degree in speech pathology from the Bronx Community College while also working at Greenburgh Academy.
That option will no longer be available to students with disabilities graduating this year, if they started their freshman year in 2011 or later. For students who are still in high school but started their freshman year prior to 2011, it is a grandfathered option.
The change is stirring some hand wringing among special-education advocates. Parents, teachers and graduates say they are worried that more students will leave high school without a diploma, denying them the ability to pursue college, the military or better jobs.
The state Education Department, meanwhile, says it’s about raising the bar for all students. The RCTs are not aligned to the new Common Core learning standards, and many students with disabilities were not being provided with full access to those standards, said James P. DeLorenzo, the department’s assistant commissioner for special education.
“That presented a problem,” DeLorenzo said. “Now, what schools have done is enhanced instructional standards.”
Parents of the general Ed population are seeing a major decline in the quality of learning. The special needs families are even worse off. And still the USDOE forges ahead, in chase of the almighty dollar.
This is a summary of what is going wrong, with some excellent embedded links:
Read here on cutting special education in the name of Ed reform and saving money.