Written by Daniel Offner Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:00
In a symbolic stand against pressure from the New York State Education Department, members of the Levittown Board of Education recently rejected the changes to the special education curriculum.
Based on the most recent set of rule changes to the statewide Common Core, the Levittown school district, as of July 1, 2013, can no longer dole out IEP diplomas to special education students.
According to Special Education Director Lisa Carelli-Lang, the state education department has determined the individualized education program [IEP] diploma is “arbitrary” and not “aligned with the Common Core curriculum.”
Based on a decision made by the state Board of Regents in June, as of the 2013-2014 school year, districts statewide are required to offer Career Development and Occupational Studies [CDOS] Commencement Credential as an alternative certification for students with severe disabilities who are eligible to take the New York State Alternative Assessments.
The state-mandated curriculum associated with the new credential aims to give special education students a more meaningful education than provided by IEPs. It prepares eligible students to take the state's new "alternative assessments," which allegedly will provide employers a better gauge of job-readiness.
“I think students with this diploma will leave in a better position to present this to an employer,” Lang said.
However, the trustees did not feel as optimistic as Lang.
“So we’re giving kids more work and taking away the right to a diploma?” asked Trustee Frank Ward. “The state is wrong with this point.”
The Levittown Board of Education voted 5-to-1 against the implementation of the CDOS Commencement Credentials for students with severe disabilities, with the only vote in favor from the Board President Kevin Regan, who explained that it was a pointless decision.
“It’s a moot point,” said Trustee Michael Pappas. “It has to be done anyway.”