Sunday, December 14, 2014
Common Core Is A Disaster For Special Needs Children.
Most classroom teachers know that Common Core has been a disaster and the "junk science" in the form of high stakes testing that goes with it has resulted in most students not meeting the standards and adversely affect teacher evaluations with unjust terminations. Unfortunately, from the Obama Administration, to Cuiomo, to De Blasio and his disappointing Chancellor, Carmen Farina, all have supported the Common Core. Worse, our union President Michael Mulgrew has threatened to punch anyone in the face if they take away his Common Core. Until Common Core collapses like a "house of cards" and it will, expect it to stay for the next couple of years and destroy the lives of students and teachers alike. One bit of good news is that Andrew Cuomo is forcing out NYSED Commissioner John T. King and maybe things will change for the better (don't bet on it) However, that's for another day. This post is about the collateral damage that Common Core and its rigor is doing to our most neediest of children in the school system and nobody in charge seems to care.
I have a very close friend who works in District 75 and with the most severely disabled children who are classified as being both autistic and mentally retarded. She is a teacher in the most restrictive 6:1:1 classroom and has spent almost two decades teaching these children life and fundamental skills so that they can be productive adults and contribute to society. Many of her students stay with her for up to three years and by the time they move on she has taught them many social and fundamental (life) skills that allow them to become functional adults. However, because Common Core and its associated rigor has infiltrated even to the Special Education District 75, she finds herself being forced to teach them geometry and social studies rather than the skills they really need like using money to buy items in stores and teaching them social cues. Worse, the Common Core and its associated rigor requires even autistic students to communicate and work cooperatively with their peers despite the fact that these students struggle mightily to do either one and frustrates them to the point they shut down and become uncooperative.
My friend is clearly frustrated herself as she has seen her mission change from teaching them coping skills and civics to questionable academics that have little or no impact on their life, or ever will be. Instead of taking her students on field trips to stores and have them buy items, given a limited amount of money and going over a shopping list of what to buy and not to buy. She finds herself giving her students Common Core Math workbooks that makes little sense to her and makes her students unhappy. Furthermore, she used to walk her students around the neighborhood and go into the local stores while teaching them appropriate behaviors as they interact with the general public and go over what each traffic and parking sign meant. Now she gives them Common Core workbooks on our country's history and about the Presidents and worries what will happen to her students when they become adults?
In a job she loved and took pride in making the most developmentally disabled students functional citizens of this country, she finds herself counting the days until she retires as she wastes her time doing outrageous amount of paperwork using the SESIS program, day and night without payment and giving out useless Common Core workbooks while defending her teaching skills to meet the ill-defined rigor demanded by her administrators. To her, Common Core is an unmitigated disaster and hurts the very students who need the help the most.