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Common Core accused of leaving special-needs students behind

Special-education students fall behind at an unprecedented rate since the widespread implementation of Common Core standards.
Nicole Shepard, Deseret News Modified: July 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm •  Published: July 7, 2014

There are 6.5 million special-education students in the U.S. today, and most are falling further behind their peers under Common Core standards.

“The latest government figures show that the dropout rate for students with disabilities is twice that for non-disabled students,” NPR’s Claudio Sanchez reported. “Two-thirds of students with disabilities are performing well below grade level in reading and math. By the eighth grade, that figure rises to 90 percent.”

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan responded to the rising problem of special education failing under Common Core in a press conference, expressing his disregard for schools claiming it’s enough that they are following the standards of Common Core in their special-education classrooms.

"Most states are in compliance with special-education regulations," Duncan said. It's not enough for a state to be compliant if students can't read or do math. We must have a system that will do more than just measure compliance."

In her article “Asking Kids With Special Needs To Clear The Same Bar,” NPR’s Anya Kamenetz wrote that many assume it’s normal or expected that special-needs students be markedly behind other students. She reported when most people think of special-needs students, they think of students with more severe cognitive and physical disabilities than what is typical in special education.

“According to the National Center for Education Statistics,” Kamenetz reported, “13 percent of public school students receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Of those kids, 36 percent have ‘specific learning disabilities.’ Twenty-one percent have ‘speech or language impairments.’ Another 22 percent have autism, intellectual disabilities, a developmental delay, or multiple disabilities.”

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