Professional Organizations and Over-identification

In prior posts we suggested that the over-placement of American children in special education is not a “hot topic” drawing enthusiastic interest of professional and governmental bodies. From the time of the enactment of IDEA in 2004, gradually there is less and less discussion of special education over-identification.

Let’s consider the roles played by professional organizations in advocating for reduction of over-identification.

“A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) is a non-profit organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest” (Wikipedia).

On the one-hand we have special education personnel represented by various organizations. They advocate for the status and welfare of their members. On the other-hand we can consider the public interest entails “Free and Appropriate Public Education” for all at-risk school children. When children are misplaced in special education, their civil rights are violated.

“Such bodies generally strive to achieve a balance between these two often conflicting mandates. Though professional bodies often act to protect the public by maintaining and enforcing standards of training and ethics in their profession, they often also act like a cartel or a labor union (trade union) for the members of the profession, though this description is commonly rejected by the body concerned.”

For special education professionals to reduce misidentification, thereby protecting the welfare of school children, they must accept responsibility for programs to certify that members of their association s are well prepared to manage special education eligibility appropriately according to IDEA 2004 and U. S. civil rights codes.

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