States are no strangers to classroom standards. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law in 2002, the federal government required states to create teacher standards and place highly qualified teachers in every classroom. Nearly a decade later, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers spearheaded the initiative to create common-core standards to “allow teachers to be better equipped to know exactly what they need to help students learn and establish individualized benchmarks for them.”
Today, all but four states have adopted the common standards to improve math and English/language arts skills. We like both initiatives. Setting the bar high is a good thing for all involved. We are, however, disappointed to see so few standards set for teaching competencies for those working in special education classrooms, and, more specifically, for those teaching children on the autism spectrum.
In 2010, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that an average of one in 110 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder. According to the group Autism Speaks, government figures also estimate autism diagnoses are increasing 10 percent to 17 percent annually. Even with these alarming numbers, only a handful of states have adopted autism competencies that provide training for educators. We believe the need for standardized competencies is urgent. Here’s why:
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(NOTE: Although the article raises some very good points, note that because of the author's affiliation this could be considered an advertorial.)