All but seven states and Puerto Rico have adopted the Common Core State Standards Initiative, including California. Lawmakers and other interested parties designed this initiative to ensure that students across the country are meeting certain standards for math and English language arts.
The initiative has been met with both support and criticism from many different parties. Where special education students are concerned, the debate is just as divisive. Some teachers and parents wholly support the effort, while others say it is damaging to children's education and their self-esteem.
In support of the effort are moms like Imelda, who spoke with CBS News about the common core issue for special education students. She is worried that if her daughter graduates without meeting these standards, the world is not going to give her a break. "It won't serve her" to get extra help, she said.
There are certainly parents on the other end of the spectrum. Another mom said that her autistic son is extremely smart. She sees it every day in his music, as he plays the songs he wrote for the keyboard and bass. When her child came home and said "I don't know anything. I can't do anything" after two years of Common Core testing, it broke her heart.
Even with Individualized Education Program (IEP) accommodations, one third and fifth grade teacher argued that Common Core standards "take away from schools' and educators' ability to really focus on differentiated and individualized sort of goals for those students."
The reality is that students with learning disabilities or other special needs fall on a broad spectrum of abilities and requirements. California law requires schools to provide IEPs to students who need them. Unfortunately, some schools deny parents' requests or fail to adhere to the plans. Parents who find themselves in this situation can get help from an attorney to ensure their children receive the assistance they need.