Ed Solution to Misidentification

The U. S. Department of Education enforces IDEA regulations, in support of Congressional mandates, and here is are techniques for making sure misidentification is avoided. An example:

“In April 2003, OCR launched a nationwide initiative to conduct compliance reviews in school districts around the country on the issue of the misidentification of minority students in special education. The initiative also focused on ensuring that national origin minority students are not referred for evaluation or placed in special education programs based on their limited English proficiency….

For example, in some of our reviews resolved in FY 2004, school districts were found in noncompliance with applicable requirements of the Section 504 and Title II implementing regulations with respect to pre-referral interventions, evaluation, and placement in the least restrictive environment.

In a resolution agreement, the district agreed to provide staff training and resource support for interventions, implement a system of record-keeping, and actively monitor the intervention process in the schools. It further agreed to develop guidelines, monitor and provide training in the areas of referral, evaluation, and eligibility determination. The district agreed to review the placements of all students currently identified as Educable Mentally Handicapped (EMH) and Emotionally Handicapped (EH), reevaluate if appropriate, and exit with transition services those students who do not meet eligibility criteria. The district also agreed to develop guidelines regarding least restrictive environment and relevant placement criteria and to assess the variations among the district’s schools. It will review placements of all EMH and EH students currently in separate special education classes for more than 50 percent of the instructional day and, where appropriate, initiate changes in placement.”

The Department of Education techniques are available to all states and local school districts to minimize over-identification:

1. Staff training
2. Resource support
3. System of record-keeping
4. Active monitoring of intervention
5. Guidelines for referral, evaluation and
eligibility determination
6. Review of placements for exits
7. Review for least restrictive environment
8. Review variations among district’s schools
9. Review placements by categories

Responsibility is clearly placed on administrators. It is exceptionally difficult for the school psychologist, reading specialist or speech-language pathologist to take the leadership role.

No comments are made about monitoring IEP team decisions.

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