Why Over-identification?

As one sifts through 35 years of policy views on the overidentification of at-risk children in U. S. schools clearly there is not much enthusiasm for discussing the subject and aggressively combating it.

Yes, the U. S. Congress has taken laudable concrete steps through idea legislation, but there is little “buzz” about this serious matter among professional organizations, governmental bodies and local schools.


We don’t really know the answer from an inspection of public records and commentary. But one possible answer concerns stigmatization.

Which professional organization wants to step up and say, “Yes, our members are misidentifying children in the public schools!”

Which state agency wants to say, “Yes, we have known about the problem for years but have done very little about it.”

There is a stigma attached to such public declarations! Better to be mute on the subject and hope it fades away.

But what of the children? It is clear that schools readily risk stigmatizing children, incorrectly placing them in special education, to say nothing about impairing their hopes for a good secondary education.

It seems, given the choice of stigmatizing themselves or children, adults prefer to stigmatize children!

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