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Minorities In Special Education Essay

2196 words - 9 pages

The education system is arguably the most beneficial system in the world; however, it also contains many controversial practices. Proper funding, discrimination, and curriculum are just some of the problems in today’s education system. Everyone has a different opinion about what is best for our children and it is impossible to please everyone. As long as the educational system is in tact, then there will be confusion and debate within the system and its’ administrators. The only thing that can be done is attempting to make it so that everyone will benefit equally, but this is much more difficult than one would assume. I will focus on the aspect of discrimination on minorities within special education and more specifically the following questions: Does the special education system discriminate against minorities? If so, how? What can be done, if anything, to correct or improve this system?

Special education is a large part of the education system, which includes the mentally retarded, people with learning disabilities, the emotionally disturbed, hearing impaired, visually impaired, etc. Many people fail to include this system as one that can possibly involve discrimination, but those enrolled in special education has increased among all racial classifications. Between 1980 and 1990, the entire population enlisted in special education has increased. European American increased by 6%, African Americans increased by 13%, Hispanic Americans increased by 53%, and Asian Americans/Pacific Americans increased by 107.8% (Ford, Obiakor, p. 8). In the end, it is these students who ultimately experience low rates of employment, low income, and growing rates of incarceration. Another survey indicates that blacks with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed than white students several years after high school graduation. About 75% of African American students, as compared to 47% of white students, are not employed two years after graduation. 52% of African Americans, compared to 39% of young white adults, are still not employed three to five years out of high school. During this same period of time, 40% of African Americans with disabilities have been arrested, compared to only 27% of whites (Losen, Orfield, p. 1 for all above information). These statistics seem to represent a form of discrimination against minorities; however, the whole picture is not taken into account. Minorities are more likely to come from low-income neighborhoods where there is more crime and usually less job opportunities. This information is not taken into account while conducting this survey and it make the results seem lob-sided.

Although minority students are over represented within the special education system, it may be because of several other important aspects. Black/Minority students are more likely to attend schools with less overall capital, fewer funds for curricula, inexperienced teachers, and poor...

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