IDEA Overidentification

Prior to reauthorization of IDEA, wide discussion of the large numbers of children placed in special education occurred. IDEA 2004 contains stipulations for states — SEAs — to tighten up on misidentifications, especially with reference to minority children:

“The State must have in effect, consistent with the purposes of 34 CFR Part 300 and with section 618(d) of the Act, policies and procedures designed to prevent the inappropriate overidentification or disproportionate representation by race and ethnicity of children as children with disabilities, including children with disabilities with a particular impairment described in 34 CFR 300.8 of the IDEA regulations. [34 CFR 300.173] [20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(24)]

Each State that receives assistance under Part B of the Act, and the Secretary of the Interior, must provide for the collection and examination of data to determine if significant disproportionality based on race and ethnicity is occurring in the State and the local educational agencies (LEAs) of the State with respect to:

The identification of children as children with disabilities, including the identification of children as children with disabilities in accordance with a particular impairment described in section 602(3) of the Act;

The placement in particular educational settings of these children; and

The incidence, duration, and type of disciplinary actions, including suspensions and expulsions. [34 CFR 300.646(a)] [20 U.S.C. 1418(d)(1)]” (IDEA 2004)”.

For special education personnel, it is important to understand that every local district in the U. S. is obliged to try to cut down on misidentifications, under the supervision of designated state agencies, usually, departments of education:

“Require the LEA to publicly report on the revision of policies, practices, and procedures described under §300.646(b)(1) of the IDEA regulations” (IDEA 2004).

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