Re-identification of the Special Education Over-identification Problem

In 1994 the New York Times reported on how school financial resources were being eaten up by the over-identification of children for special education.  The article was written by San Dillon.  The article pinpoints the issues still facing us in 2012:

“Although the system was intended to help children with special needs, myriad complaints are being leveled by parents, academic researchers and other critics. They say the system mislabels thousands of children, segregating many in dead-end classes from which few are ever released. They say it uses legions of psychologists and social workers to administer endless evaluations of marginal worth at tremendous cost. They say that some teachers focus more on behavior control than on instruction, and that some principals bully parents who resist shunting their children into special education.”

A lingering question is how often do we need to identify the problem before regulatory agencies adequately fix it?  One way “the system” avoids the problem is to re-identify it with astonishment ever 10 years or so, like it is something new!

“Oh My God!  Disproportionality is bad!”

Reauthorization of IDEA will come, and journalists will again be reporting on it with astonishment.  The problem has been known for 50 years.

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