Levi Cavener is a special education teacher for a local school district. In a “Voices” article he penned for Idaho Education News he talks about Common Core and his concerns for how it will affect students with special needs.
Consider that many students with disabilities qualify for special education services that take place outside of the general education classroom. Instead, these students receive specialized instruction according to goals created in the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The specialized instruction for these goals take place in a separate classroom, often called a resource room. The number of students served in such a setting is not small; about 13 percent of students qualify for special education.3 In a secondary setting, such as the school I teach in, students in such rooms are routinely grouped on ability, not by grade level.
This creates a challenging problem for special education students because they are not in the general education setting that SBAC expects during the performance task portion of the assessment. SBAC requires that during the 11th grade year all Juniors will be given the performance task portion of the assessment together in the same room where they can collaborate together, and the resource room setting cannot supply this requirement. The most likely solution that will be implemented is to move special education students out of their resource setting into a general education classroom for the duration of the assessment, but that possibility creates many challenges of its own.
He then runs through several different scenarios of how SBAC testing is going to be difficult for the unique challenges accompanying special education students.
He ends his piece by saying,
Make sure we are advocating for best practices for all students, special education students included…
But you see that’s the problem with the whole thing, this isn’t about what is best for any student. Never once were they even considered.