From 1997, when the U. S. Congress passed IDEA, the problem of over-identification of special education children has been well-defined, described and discussed. Yet when one looks at current idea almost no progress has been made. The problem is identified, and identified, ad nauseam.
“A key factor is misdiagnosis: ‘Experts who have studied the issue … throughout the country said disabilities are often misdiagnosed in minority children, especially boys. Children who are placed in special education for the wrong reasons face stigmas that are difficult to overcome, psychologists said” (New York Times, 2005-cf. Minorities).
What gives here?
Solutions are not that hard to come with! In a prior post we suggested the special education director simply say in August: “Look, folks, we are taking in too many special eduction children. Check your procedures, tighten up! Let’s cut our enrollment 10% this year. DONE!
We have also suggested the use of AGGREGATE DATA! Count the number of children in special education by categories and minority status. Let the data talk to you. This is something a sophomore in college can do.
If you have a hard time catching on, note you have a Zillion Boys in special education. How did this happen?
If you are a manager in a non-profit or government organization, try to remember the Civil Rights Act was in 1964.
It’s time to reform placement ideas and procedures, no? It’s time to protect the public, no?
“A mystery recurs throughout the discussions of disproportions in racial make up in special education. Whereas the thunder of class action complaints occupy national debate, at the level of the local school districts it is business as usual. An enormous gap exists between what national policy makers are proposing and what practitioners are doing in thousands of monthly IEP meetings across the country. SLPs in particular and special educators in general have little awareness of the crucial roles they play in shaping the distributions of special education determinations. They cannot manage a problem they do not perceive.” (cf. Minorities).