What is alternate curriculum?

Parent Question
Mar. 14, 2022Updated Apr. 11, 2022

In California, the discussion about an “alternate curriculum” can surface early because some classes are labeled “core” and some are labeled “alternative.” Sometimes it comes up in third grade, when standardized state testing starts. In fact, Dr. Caitlin Solone, special education advocate and faculty at UCLA, tells us there are some special day class (SDC) or non-public school (NPS) programs that label a child “certificate-bound” even earlier.

But according to the TIES Center, there should be no such thing as an alternate curriculum. As they put it in this brief, “alternate curriculum” should not mean that the student has alternate content standards: “U.S. Department of Education regulations explaining how IDEA should be implemented state that the general education curriculum is ‘the same curriculum as for nondisabled children’ (300.320(a)(1)(i)). In other words, “all instruction [should start] from the same content standards, regardless of the student’s disabilities. However, the expectations for how much a student will master of the grade-level general education curriculum can be modified.” The difference between best practice and reality, however, can be unfortunately large.

For more, see our article Building a Goal-Oriented Future: Earning a Diploma or a Certificate of Completion.

Tags:

Join the Undivided Community to get more resources like this in your inbox


Promise Image
Each piece of content has been rigorously researched, edited, and vetted to bring you the latest and most up-to-date information. Learn more about our content and research process here.
A Navigator is your Partner at each turn
Every Undivided Navigator has years of experience supporting families raising kids with disabilities or parenting their own. Partner with an Undivided Navigator for a free Kickstart to learn first hand what support feels like!
tick-icon
Identify near-term goals and priorities
tick-icon
Develop a vision for your child and family
tick-icon
Map out strategies to execute near- and long-term goals
“It’s so helpful to have one place that you can go to get many answers.”–Leeza Woodbury, with Navigator Kelly since 2020
*Currently offering Navigator Kickstarts to residents of California