Monthly Archives: March 2011

8. Special Education Overidentification Causes: Teacher Training

Education reformers replay “teacher training” as a grand solution to many school teaching problems.  “If only we could just train them right!”

Signs that special education and related services personnel are receiving sufficient and relevant preservice and inservice staff training to prevent overidentification are nil.  Somehow Congress buys into this notion of staff training over and over, and will even give money for it over and over.

Take Response to Intervention, for example.  This is a perfectly reasonable model to sort out children for remedial support and special education but reports indicate great variation as to implementation.  cf.,  7. RTI Success  Here are some findings:

“REL West (Regional Education Laboratories, U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, 2009) conducted a survey of RTI policies and procedures employed in selected states.  A table 3 presents an overview of how nine states (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington) conformed to eight programmatic concerns.

No state addressed all eight concerns. Three states addressed six, and one four.  Of the 73 cells in the table, 41 (64%) were filled. Progress in the nine states was uneven, suggesting considerable discretion as to how RTI was being organized. (There is no federal mandate for RTI.)

All nine states were “promoting general education ownership” of RTI.  The table format excluded special education as a concern. “…while state respondents highlighted as accomplishments progress in training and technical assistance, cross-discipline collaborative efforts, and framing RTI as a general education initiative (as opposed to one exclusively for identifying students with spe­cific learning disabilities), they also acknowledged some of these areas as ongoing concerns…

In four states—Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, and Washington—respondents described special and general education depart­ments as sharing responsibility.

Two states deliberately excluded the term RTI in naming their initiatives, according to respondents, to avoid its association with special education and to foster broader application.”

Only 4 states were “incorporating student diversity” into their RTI programs. “In implementing RTI policy, as with any other educa­tion reform or policy, states need to consider the di­verse needs of students.”

We’ve looked at  press reports on local RTI implementation, and only a small number of  administrators seem to be involved in leadership.  Special education and related services personnel are at the margins.  Some school boards get involved but it appears broad participation of school personnel is not an initial aim.  Diversity is not a significant concern either.

Staff training can’t work well unless overidentification is put on the table for frank discussion and technical specification.  Training entails specifics.  Diversity has to be defined programmatically.  For example, one must instruct teachers to recognize and COUNT the number of minorities in their classrooms and on their special education referral lists.  Counting is easily mastered and yet has powerful implications for awareness and judgment.  Administrators can count the counts and come up with profound reports to the faculty.

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7. Special Education Overidentification Causes: Teacher Referral

Apart from preschool referrals, teachers generate the referrals fueling needless special education placements.  There are two key reasons why they over-refer.

First is “difficult to teach” children (cf., 27. Special Education Overidentification: “Difficult-to-Teach”)

“Children who are ‘difficult to teach’ (DTT) are those who experience considerably greater difficulty learning new educational material and mastering academic concepts than do their typical peers of the same age. Difficult-to-teach students may also display significant behavior problems (e.g., chronic inattention, a tendency to act impulsively, verbal defiance, or physical aggression). This group can be thought of as falling along a continuum, ranging from less severe to more-severe learning problems. In some cases, DTT children are classified as having a special education disability and receive special services. Many of these students, however, have no identified disability and are enrolled in general-education classrooms without additional support” (Jim Wright).

Second is inadequate non-special education support for children who are difficult to manage. “When you have got your hair full of wild kids all day, it is really difficult to get anything done, ” teachers say.  Or, “OMG, I’m glad the Smith family moved!”

With the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress moved to help “poor children” succeed academically.   The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and Title I provided funding to schools to support instruction but has come up short.  Teachers have still not gotten up to speed on specialized teaching techniques for at-risk children.  Referrals to child study committees appear to have little or no impact on improvement.  Special education has taken over part of the responsibility of providing remedial instruction for non-disabled children.  The growth of the learning disability category in special education suggests it replaced Title I supports.  RTI has now been selected as the modern alternative to special education, supplanting the work that could have been done in Title I.

“The Berkeley (CA, USA) Daily Planet reported that the Berkeley local education agency received a report about special education services. According the article by J. Douglas Allen-Taylor, the “report concluded that the district’s special education classes have an ‘over-representation of minority students.’” The article indicates that a parent said, “she found the problem with overidentification ‘appalling’ and said that students ‘should not get dumped into the special education program’ just because the ‘general education program in the district is not working properly.’”  www.teacheffectively.com (2007)  Special educationoveridentification and dumping « Teach Effectively!

Teachers have been conditioned to refer to special education rather than general education remedial programs.  “Britton Loftin, writing for Politics365 (“African Americans Falsely Tagged Special Ed in Houston,” http://politic365.com/April 2011), reports on patterns of disproportionality in Houston, Texas.  Superintendent Terry Grier has directed attention to the problem: “An audit done by a Boston firm, along with research conducted by Grier’s administration, made statistical comparisons to other school districts.   The report done by Thomas Hehir and Associates of Boston studied HISD in the fall of 2010.”

 One finding was Hispanic students were categorized as special education students on the basis of language differences.  “He believes that too many Hispanic students are not being helped with the English language at the elementary level, such that when they reach the middle and high school levels the school is unable to work with them and, consequently, moves them to special education.”

6. Special Education Overidentification Causes: More on Enforcement

Regrettably, the trend is to equate overidentification with disproportional placement of black children.  We are presenting a picture much larger than that.  Misevaluation is pervasive, affecting all categories of placement, and involving all evaluators who place children in special education.  Regular education teachers play a pivotal role in evaluating the children they refer to special education.   We recognize the referral of  ”difficult-to-teach” children as the driving force of overidentification.

Placing gifted children as OHI-ADHD is an altogether different facet of the problem than placing non-disabled minority children. 

Where regulation truly fails is the dismissal of children from special education.  Children are supposed to get a three-year re-evaluations unless waived.  The three-year evaluation requirement was diluted in IDEA 2004 because it took time to carry out and required more meetings.  Administrators complained.  From the point of view of the overidentification issue, this was a mistake.  Many, many children should not stay in special education more than three years but they do. 

In the regulatory arena, neither does one hear about least restrictive environment violations.  For example, not only do black children get placed and stay too long, they stay in special education without progressive changes in placement circumstances.

Nor is there much discussion of the impact on achievement and social development.  For example, black children in too many cases with special education placement are on the slow track to prison because of the reinforcement of negative views of the black culture.  Special education children are more likely to drop out of school prior to high school graduation.  There are real costs to under-regulation.  

Current Issues and Trends in Special Education: Identification Assessment …edited by Festus E. Obiakor, Jeffrey P. Bakken, Anthony F. Rotatori (2008)   Current Issues and Trends in Special Education: Identification … – Google Books Result 

SEARCH DATA
 
We see in Google searches declining hit rates from 2000 for overidentification versus disproportionality. 
 
“Special Education Overidentification Hits:”
 
2000:  15200
2004:   15600
2005:   14200
2006:   13000
2007:   12100
2008:   10500
2009:     8790
2010:     8754
 
“Special Education Disproportionality Hits:”
 
2000:  37000
2004:  41400 
2005:  49400
2006:  59500
2007:  73600
2008:  70700
2009:  64400
2010:  78900
 
There is some attrition of server files but the trends are reversed to show more posts for disproportionality and declining numbers for overidentification.  The observations  reinforces the view that fundamental issues of the overidentification process  including technical ones receive less attention overall while greater interest is paid to principally FAPE violations for American black pupils.  Civil rights conversations come into play to a greater extent for disproportionality whereas other categories of “struggling students” receive less protection.
  
 

5. Special Education Overidentification Causes: Enforcement

The U. S. Congress for IDEA 1997 identified the special education overidentification problem and acted to discourage it.  For IDEA 2004 overidentification came up again and Congress moved to oblige states to report on progress to reduce disproportionality.  The U. S. Congress oversees education according to federal policy.   The U. S. Department of Education is a cabinet-level regulatory agency for the oversight of  IDEA  (Congressional oversight – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).  

One finds regulation largely ineffectual, from top to bottom, from then until now.

EARLY ON

Prior to enactment of IDEA 2004, The Progressive Policy Institute and The Fordham Foundation published a collection of papers to establish the foundations for progressive change in special education (PPI & The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation,  May 9, 2001,  By Edited by Chester E. Finn, Jr., Andrew J. Rotherham & Charles R. Hokanson, Jr., Rethinking Special Education For A New Century / Rethinking Special Education for a New Century).  The Forward sets forth the issues:

“A quarter century ago, President Ford signed historic legislation seeking to ensure educational equity for children with disabilities and special needs. This legislation, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), was a major milestone in the quest to end the chronic exclusion and mis-education of students with exceptional needs. It helped open the door to fairness and access for millions of such youngsters and paved the way to greater educational success for many of them during the past 25 years.” 

The law was beneficial for exceptional children but had “unintended consequences.”  It became taboo to criticise the law. “Well-intentioned people who have attempted to highlight deficiencies, inequities, and problems with special education have been criticized as interlopers with bad motives or political agendas and told to leave such matters to the “stakeholder community.”  Hence, the federal special education program has been subjected to astonishingly little objective policy analysis…”

The editors posed important questions:  

“For example, is the current regulatory/civil rights model the best way to ensure quality education for youngsters with disabilities? Are students being needlessly referred to special education because of other deficiencies in our educational system — for example, because they receive poor reading instruction-rather than because they have extraordinary needs? Is race a factor in special education assignment? Does the program’s focus on compliance come at the expense of achievement?”

The Report foreshadows the findings of the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education (2002): 

“The Commission finds that the IDEA establishes complex requirements that are difficult to effectively implement at the state and local level. Nowhere in IDEA is this more complex than in the eligibility determination process. Improving this process, coupled with research-based early intervention programs, may reduce the number of children who are identified as having a disability, particularly when early identification and intervention are in place and research-based interventions are provided before referral”  (cf. Commission).

PROGRESS?

In 2007, Alexa Posny, Director, U. S. Office of Special Education Programs, wrote a reminder memo to state directors of special education:

“Excerpts from findings in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004′s statute note that: (1) greater efforts are needed to prevent the intensification of problems connected with mislabeling minority children with disabilities; (2) African-American children are identified as having mental retardation and emotional disturbance at rates greater than their white counterparts; (3) more minority children continue to be served in special education than would be expected from the percentage of minority students in the general school population; (4) in the 1998-1999 school year, African-American children represented 14.8% of the population aged 6 through 21, yet comprised 20.2% of all children with disabilities served in our schools; and (5) studies have found that schools with predominately white students and teachers have placed disproportionately high numbers of their minority students into special education.”  cf.  States Monitor School Disproportionality

This statement does not address the rapid rise of learning disability placements,  where non-disabled children are placed in special education, and kept there too long.  Regulatory statements address “disproportionality” more than “overidentification.”  “Misidentification is not brought forth as an issue.

EVALUATION

During the off-years cycle between renewals, we hear little about IDEA enforcement activities.  It took three years to develop the regulations following enactment, a loss of time to firmly start regulating overidentification.  States do meet their reporting obligations submitting numerical information on checking for disproportionality but critical analysis of the data has not been found.  We hear nothing about state requirements to regulate local districts (LEAs), a state responsibility.  There are recurrent calls for personnel training but these amount to nothing.  A few states have taken steps to raise awareness, and a few have taken direct action, for example New York, but overall the overidentification patterns have changed little, although some reduction in specific learning disability has been reported.  Response to Intervention has mounted some headway (roughly 50% of American schools) but the cutting edge of reducing overidentification is not a strong theme.

At this writing one does not have data on U. S. Department of  Education spot investigations.  How many and with what consequences we do not know.  An Iowa case may be the tip of the iceberg:

‘On September 14, 2010, the Iowa City Press Citizen reported the U. S. Department of Education is seeking to determine why there are so many black children in the Iowa City district special education department.  Audits from the 2004-2005 school year “…indicated although black students made up only 12 percent of the student population, they made up 40 percent of all students with Individualized Education Plans.”   cf., SLP Caseload Management in Iowa

San Francisco took the initiative to use a consulting organization to pinpoint areas for improvement:

“The report…calls for a reevaluation of the process to identify students who need special services. The auditors found disproportionate representation of particular ethnicities in some special-needs categories. African-American students in San Francisco, for example, account for only 11 percent of the total student population, but make up 24 percent of the special education population and 49.3 percent of the students identified as emotionally disturbed. The auditors are concerned that some of this “disproportionality” is the result of inappropriate identification.”  cf., Failing Special Education Program

Girl Scouts Marching on Main Street.

More outcomes data are needed for federal and state governments.

Benefits

We should not forget the great benefits having flowed from federal, state and local agencies to protect the FAPE rights of at-risk school children since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

4. Special Education Overidentification Causes: Money

“Greene & Forster (2002) have reported on one “cause” of the exceptional growth of special education enrolments — financial incentives: “This report examines the effect state funding methods have on the number of students enrolled in special education. It finds that states with “bounty” funding systems provide financial incentives to schools to increase the identification of students with special needs by paying schools more for each additional student in special education. The authors find that those incentives are responsible for 62% of the increase in special education enrollment in those states over the past decade. Nationally, the report shows that this has led to roughly 390,000 children wrongly placed in special education programs at an annual cost of $2.3 billion. The authors also find that high-stakes testing, which has been suggested as an alternative culprit for the increase, has no significant effect on special education enrollment.”   cf. ,Financial Incentives for Special Education Placements

There is a larger process hidden and unexplored to the effect that federal, state and local monies are shifted by policy and opportunism.  When federal money is offered to states creative uses are found to make the money work for local districts.  When IDEA money came down, it encouraged putting more children in special education to collect for extra costs.  With the current economic shortages of school money now special education is one target for cutting expenses.  School administrators know how to make federal monies work for their districts.  Rarely if ever do states turn down federal money. 

An underlying cause is that well-intentioned administrators probably do not understand what to do with special needs children in the first place, so they see the problem as one of making ends meet.  Community and school pressures are ever present.

3. Special Education Overidentification Causes: List of Causes

In a past post, we identified 50 reasons for special overidentification of at-risk children in American schools.  It was a quick gloss.  But it did show the causes of overidentification (misidentification, under-identification) range from the macro level to the micro.  Congress enacts laws affecting 100,000 schools, and errors are made.  IEP groups at the final moment of decision somehow interpret their missions to include liberal identification of struggling children.  They place non-disabled minority children.  From congress to your local IEP team, there is constant pressure  downward on the system to ignore the laws and regulations and carry out some kind of social imperative

The recent history of American special education is that too many children have been placed. Here are assorted reasons mentioned in policy debates.  Involved are special education teachers, physical therapists, reading specialists, occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists, recreation therapists and regular teachers.

1. There were federal financial incentives to enroll children in special education.

2. Professional misdiagnosis.

Canada

Canada

3. Variations of state and local policies and regulations.

4. General education deficiencies in providing programs for at-risk children.

5. Use of special education as a remedial service for general education.

6. Over-use of the learning disability category.

7. Placement of more males than females.

8. Over-placement of minority pupils.

9. Limited special teaching skills of general education teachers.

10. Lack of pre-referral early intervention programs.

11. Over-lapping disability symptoms.

12. Referral of hard-to-teach children to special education.

13. Attorneys assisting parents with placement decisions.

14. Lack of variety of valid testing procedures.

15. Over-use of the IQ-discrepancy model.

16. Under-identification of some disabilities.

17. Administrative pressures to place.

18. Late identification of children with learning disabilities.

19. State-to-state variation in eligibility criteria.

20. Special education placement of limited English pupils.

21. Parent pressures for special education services.

22. IEP bias toward MOST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT.

23. Changing program criteria from early intervention to preschool to elementary.

24. Misevaluation of poor, health-at-risk and migrant children.

25. Inadequate personnel preparation for linguistic and cultural differences.

26. Failure of states historically to reduce misidentifications.

27. Continuing misidentification of children already placed in special education.

28. Inadequate school programs for limited English children.

29. Over-concern of administrators with procedural compliance.
    
30. Shifting intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic and cognitive symptoms over the first eight years of life.

31. Inadequate early reading instruction for at-risk children.

32. Inadequate school-based training programs for teachers and special education specialists.

33. Prejudice against children with racial, linguistic and cultural differences.

34. Lack of strong advocacy by professional organizations to reduce over-identification.

35. A lack of local leadership to reduce over-identification.

35. Insufficient monitoring of transfer IEPs for incomplete, out-of-date and incorrect records.

36. No Child Left Behind pressures for high performance.

37. Bias operating in IEP teams.

38. Poor communication with parents to disclose the risks of special education placement.

39. Over-placement of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder children.

40. Misplacement of emotionally disturbed children.

41. Need for remedial reading specialists to evaluate for early disabilities.

42. Inadequate numbers of specialists to make proper evaluations.

43. Inadequate long-term local record-keeping on the characteristics of at-risk and special education pupils.

44. More research on how eligibility determinations are made at the local level.

45. Inadequate staff training for the proper use of eligibility criteria.

46. Quick referrals (45 days) to special education without prior child study.

47. Classifying children too early without trial intervention.

48. Inadequate advocacy by state agencies to reduce over-identification.

49. Inadequate resources targeted at reducing over-identification.

50. Inadequate data on how placements are made, how they vary, and who is  involved.

2013 Update

There are macro variables operating which confound all the programmatic processes.

51. Status-quo thinking in Washington D. C. There are problems in special education which should be left alone even though there is regulatory power to take bold action.

52. Systems limitations. The U. S. Government has difficulty managing complex regulatory standards and a large part of the problem is defective computer systems.

53. Non educators throwing money at education to make changes fitting a narrow belief system. Common Core is example.

John M. Panagos

2. Special Education Overidentification Causes: System Errors

We are building a perspective on special education identification errors with reference to the federal categories of special education placement.

Knowledgeable special education personnel will know that the categories are unequal as to the risks they offer when pupils are placed in special education. Not only judgment errors occur, and system errors, but thoughtlessness of habit and compliance with respect to long-term impacts on academic and social achievements obtain.  

Here is the list of the categories we are dealing with:

“There are 14 specific primary terms included in IDEA under the lead definition of “child with a disability.” These federal terms and definitions guide how States define disability and who is eligible for a free appropriate public education under special education law.  The definitions of these specific terms from the IDEA regulations are shown beneath each term listed below. Note, in order to fully meet the definition (and eligibility for special education and related services) as a “child with a disability,” a child’s educational performance must be adversely affected  due to the disability.” 

1. Autism 

2. Deaf-Blindness

3. Deafness

4. Developmental Delay  

5. Emotional Disturbance..

6. Hearing Impairment

7. Mental Retardation

8. Multiple Disabilities

9. Orthopedic Impairment.

10. Other Health Impairment

11.  Specific Learning Disability

12.  Speech or Language Impairment

13.  Traumatic Brain Injury

14.  Visual Impairment Including Blindness

  NICHCY
  1825 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 700
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  Tel: (800) 695-0285 
  Fax: (202) 884-8441
  nichcy@aed.org

HISTORY

The history of the IDEA category system should not be overlooked.  It is partly clinical and partly political.  Professional and parent groups argue for the labels which fit their missions and interests.  They lobby for word choice, and the choices bump up against one and another when decisions are made.  Political choices are not the best for accurate clinical assessments in many cases, “evidence-based” practice set aside.  Political choices are helping to distort the special education system and in turn causing placement errors.

QUALITY MANAGEMENT
The issue of misidentification is well identified and understood.  The President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education (2002): 
 
“The Commission finds that the IDEA establishes complex requirements that are difficult to effectively implement at the state and local level. Nowhere in IDEA is this more complex than in the eligibility determinatioility in process.’

Errors are seen as the ‘root cause” in social organizations like schools using IEP eiligibility teams.

Quality managers argue over 85% of “errors” made in human performance and institutions are induced by systems.  From this we infer that special education and related services personnel such as school speech-language pathologists make special education placement errors because of  the “systems”  local districts have accepted and developed for that purpose.  For example, SLI and SLD categories induce errors because developmentally they are the same disability, albeit with different stage-wise symptoms.

“What’s wrong with using operator error as a root cause?  First, it draws regulators’ attention to weaknesses in your current training program and the management of the training program. In addition, it identifies flaws in the organization’s corrective actions and preventive actions (CAPA) program. Here’s why: the label “operator error” sends a blatant message that training wasn’t effective and that operations are not in control. That in turn leads to the impression that the CAPA program is weak because the firm conducts inadequate root-cause investigations.”  

biopharminternational.findpharma.com

 
 
 

1. Special Education Overidentification Causes: Definitions

This is not a trivial subject, the definition of overidentification

It subsumes identification, under-identification, mis-identification, partial-misidentification, over-identification and recurrent mis-identification. 

It subsumes “disproportionality,” where minorities are misidentified.

It subsumes faulty placements as to least-restrictive environment.

Comment

Recurrent mis-identification is the greatest sin.  It is the practice of continuing to keep a child in special education when a disability no longer exists, or never existed, beyond the IEP year, and especially beyond the three-year evaluation.  National comments about repeated overidentification are non-existent.

A worst case scenario (example) is when a non-disabled black child is classified mentally retarded, placed in special education, put in a self-contained classroom (in the old building across the street), and kept there, year after year.  The initial mistake is replayed with compounding consequences.  Hence, overidentification as a national American public policy problem is not a point in time but a continuing problem reflecting institutional failure.

Linda Schrock Taylor puts it this way:  

“So, do not underestimate the strength of this black hole, and the power of federal monies – education and Medicaid – to create and sustain the energy force that entraps and holds these children. Do notice how few honest steps are taken to bring about real reform – ones that would actually, and effectively, educate American children in general, and special education students, in particular. The most shocking and inexcusable aspect of the pretense, the mouth-service, given to “accountability,” is the dearth of professionals who actively attempt to get students OUT of Special Education. Few see any value in specifically structuring special education programs towards ‘repairing’ and releasing children; few feel any urge to commend an exiting child; few see the importance of choosing curriculum and methods that would prevent the need for such programs in the first place. “

Odd Problem

Oddly, the problem has been divided into overidentification vs. disproportionality. 

THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE READER! if you are inclined to think this way.

Disproportionality is code for black, for the most part. 

Native Americans and Hispanics are not as intensely discussed as black American children.  Asians are not discussed at all because they tend to out-perform whites academically.  The contrast is artificial and dilutes the issue of  over-placing and over-retaining children in special education.  The challenge is scientific, not political. 

An evidence-based process of orderly assisting “strunggling children” should be designed and carried out without regard to the politics of education and social structure.  Where discrimination occurs, it should be overcome by rational thinking and fair play.

The focus on race is a distraction.  It keeps us from discovering system errors.

Gray skies in Paris

John M. Panagos

27. Special Education Overidentification Causes: “Difficult-to-Teach”

“Difficult-to-Teach” is an interesting category to bring into the overidentification picture and  it potentially the best explanatory position available. 

“Children who are ‘difficult to teach’ (DTT) are those who experience considerably greater difficulty learning new educational material and mastering academic concepts than do their typical peers of the same age. Difficult-to-teach students may also display significant behavior problems (e.g., chronic inattention, a tendency to act impulsively, verbal defiance, or physical aggression). This group can be thought of as falling along a continuum, ranging from less severe to more-severe learning problems. In some cases, DTT children are classified as having a special education disability and receive special services. Many of these students, however, have no identified disability and are enrolled in general-education classrooms without additional support” (Jim Wright).

The model we argue is the neat compliant dutiful caucasian female child with adequate intelligence.  This child is EASY to teach.  More boys than girls are in special education because they are HARDER to teach.

Variations away from the model child increase the probability of special education placement and academic distress.

Having dirty clothing, broken glasses,  smelling, soiling underwear and having lice make children difficult to teach according to ordinary standards of good taste.

Not paying attention, jumping around, talking out of turn, breaking things, asking too many questions, lying, needing constant repetition, not catching on to the lesson, losing money, failing to stay on task, crying, needing constant reminders, and not taking turns are behaviors making children harder to teach.  When learning styles are different, differential teaching techniques must be applied.  Teaching must be more individualized.

Assistance walking, wheelchair operation,  volume adjustments, special apparatus requirements and computer hookups make disabled children harder to manage.  They take time away from “teaching.”

Mumbling, writing too slowly, avoiding eye contact, not responding to questions and failing to follow directions trip up Limited English children. 

Different racial and ethnic backgrounds are unpleasant for some teachers.

Combinations of these traits increase the probability of  needless special education placements and later academic problems.  ADHD is a referral for “disruptive children.”

Some teachers say that if your class has over five “hard-to-teach” children it will be a long year.  Having a large class of  compliant children is easier.

It is not necessarily bigotry and bias.  Teaching is demanding work and teachers do care.  When a classroom is too hard to manage, it is almost impossible to teach and the stress is high.  The teacher’s performance is called into question by the results of No Child Left Behind testing results; system errors for over testing are attributed to teachers.

Teachers tend to pass on their burnout problems to special education personnel.  Special education is an escape hatch for classroom management issues.

26. Special Education Overidentification: “Struggling Children”

From 2009 to 2011 we see articles making reference to “struggling children” in American public schools.  Renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act has brought out discussion of this group of children who have academic difficulties according to test norms.  The common denominator is academic difficulty and history says these are Title I children.  

Many were non-disabled children put in special education for remedial support rather than intervention.  Referrals from general education to special education started the process of overidentification.  RTI is proposed as a new applied program to prevent premature placements in special education.