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 

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.
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