Misidentification Old Problem

Accurate identification of children needing special education is an old problem.

“In 1975, Congress passed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, better known at the time as Public Law 94-142, to change what was clearly an untenable situation. Despite compulsory education laws that had been in place nationwide since 1918, many children with disabilities were routinely excluded from public schools. Their options: remain at home or be institutionalized. Even those with mild or moderate disabilities who did enroll were likely to drop out well before graduating from high school” (Rethinking Schools).

“Congress has been aware of problem of misidentification for a good many years. For example, “In 1968, Dunn, citing U. S. Office of Education statistics, reported that ‘about 60 to 80 percent of the pupils taught by [teachers in mild mental retardation or MMR classes] are children from low status backgrounds — including Afro-Americans, American Indians, Mexicans, and Puerto Rican Americans; those from nonstandard English-speaking, broken, disorganized, and inadequate homes; and children from other non-middle class environments’ (Monarch Center).

“In 1975 when the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was passed Congress found that poor African-American children were being placed in special education much more often than other children. These difficulties continue today. In the Findings section of IDEA 2004 Congress stated about the ongoing problems with the over-identification of minority children including mislabeling the children and high drop out rates” (Collins)”

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