Disproportionate identification of minority students in special education is a major concern in schools today. This paper describes the issues in the assessment process with minority students and how we have arrived at a situation where minorities are being misdiagnosed into special education programs. Additionally, several legal cases are mentioned which show numerous actions and rulings that have tried to correct the disproportionate identification in special education. Some of the legal cases discussed include Larry P. v Riles, Diana v. State Board of Education, and Guadalupe v. Tempe Elementary School, which all significantly impacted special education today. Additionally, the Individual with Disabilities Education Act has enforced that minority groups must receive an equal education in the least restrictive environment possible. It is our duty as teachers and citizens to abide by these laws and find different ways to assess and correct the disproportionality of minority groups that exists today.
In general, disproportionality refers to the overrepresentation or underrepresentation of a minority group within special education programs and services. The disproportionate representation of minority students in special education has been an ongoing and significant matter in education for decades. More and more minority children are being identified as disabled or having an intellectual disability and/or learning disability. However, in most cases the children are being misdiagnosed and, consequently, are being discriminated and penalized in a variety of ways. Some of the leading causes of disproportionate identification are incorrect evaluations, poor assessment practices, and lack of instruction and assistance for minority students. Developing a solution and making corrections is not an easy task. Thus, educators and policymakers need to come together to create a solution to ensure that every child with a disability has an equal education and an equal chance to succeed, regardless of race, ethnicity, and linguistic differences. In saying so, creating new ways of referring students, analyzing differences among minority groups and improving assessment processes can drastically benefit minority students in special education today.
The United States is an extremely diverse country and within our schools there is vast diversity when it comes to minority students, students with learning disabilities, special education students and the perceived “normal” students. Students come from many different backgrounds, communities, families and social classes. Thus, these students bring many emotional, physical and psychological issues into the classroom that greatly affects they way they learn, think and complete assignments and tests. So, is it the teacher and administrator’s right to poorly assess these students when these factors are not taken into consideration?
One of the leading causes of disproportionate identification in special...