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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Core academic subjects (Sec. 300.10)

Comment: A few commenters suggested adding the definition of core academic subjects from the ESEA to the regulations and including any additional subjects that are considered core academic subjects for children in the State in which the child resides.

Discussion: The definition of core academic subjects in Sec. 300.10, consistent with section 602(4) of the Act, is the same as the definition in section 9101 of the ESEA. We believe it is unnecessary to change the definition to include additional subjects that particular States consider to be core academic subjects. However, there is nothing in the Act or these regulations that would prevent a State from including additional subjects in its definition of "core academic subjects."

Changes: None.

Comment: A few commenters requested clarifying the definition of core academic subjects for a secondary school student when the student is functioning significantly below the secondary level.

Discussion: The definition of core academic subjects does not vary for secondary students who are functioning significantly below grade level. The Act focuses on high academic standards and clear performance goals for children with disabilities that are consistent with the standards and expectations for all children. As required in Sec. 300.320(a), each child's IEP must include annual goals to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum, and a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to enable the child to be involved and make progress in the general education curriculum. It would, therefore, be inconsistent and contrary to the purposes of the Act for the definition of core academic subjects to be different for students who are functioning below grade level.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter asked that the core content area of "science" apply to social sciences, as well as natural sciences.

Discussion: We cannot change the regulations in the manner recommended by the commenter because the ESEA does not identify "social sciences" as a core academic subject. Neither does it identify "social studies" as a core academic subject. Instead, it identifies specific core academic areas: history, geography, economics, and civics and government. The Department's nonregulatory guidance on "Highly Qualified Teachers, Improving Teacher Quality State Grants" (August 3, 2005) explains that if a State issues a composite social studies license, the State must determine in which of the four areas (history, geography, economics, and civics and government), if any, a teacher is qualified. (see question A-20 in the Department's nonregulatory guidance available at http://www.ed.gov/programs/teacherqual/legislation.html#guidance).

Changes: None.