Why Teacher Training Doesn’t Reduce Special Education Over-identification

Proposed is our theory of special education over-identification. It is based on the research idea that there is an underlying (abstract) factor common to several areas of school mis-evaluation. There is a population of school children dispreferred for general education instruction. This abstract factor (D-FACTOR) is not perceived by educators and policy-makers, and therefore training concepts and parameters are misguided.

Education is categorical and this is the way training is done, categorically. This thinking reflects factory concepts of the early 20th century and the categorical curriculum. Hence, the U. S. Department of Education together with the U. S. Justice Department propose teacher training as one means of fighting inappropriate school suspension. Training should start with how we categorize and evaluate struggling children in American schools.


Compulsory Education in America

The essence of problem solving is the recognition of the nature of the great American experiment to embrace compulsory education in a society which at the same time embraces elite education. We have documented this point extensively. Therefore, we have had a class of Americans fighting to sustain elite education within a system of public education. The system is designed to “discriminate” against those children who do not fit. Even the charter school movement can be studied in this light.

It took a strong movement of parents of disabled children to get IDEA legislation passed in 1975 and force states to put disabled children in schools.

Simply, teachers need to understand their histories as workers in the government schools, and how the civil rights movement has run up against those who do not want struggling children. Teachers must understand, as gate keepers, they are caught between two movements and knowledge of same is their best defense. Some need to own their own preference for elite education only serves to make their jobs more difficult.


Right now, we see the D-Factor includes:

GENDER: males are more likely to be placed.

TEACHABILITY: difficult-to-teach pupils are more likely to be placed.

DISABILITY: disabled pupils are more likely to be placed.

RACE: minority pupils are more likely to be placed.

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