Ethnic And Racial Discrimination Of Special Education

1017 WordsMay 10, 20175 Pages
Ethnic and Racial Disproportionality in Special Education Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan said "The undeniable truth is that the everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise. It is our collective duty to change that" (, 2012). This was in response to the U.S. Department of Education 's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) findings reporting that minority students across the U.S. face tougher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula, and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers. This inequality has been echoed on the field of special education where ethnic and racial disproportionality has been an issue…show more content…
Yet, it is important to distinguish between negative academic outcomes due to environmental factors and actual learning or intellectual disabilities. Moreover, these factors do not justify the disproportionality, thus, many leaders suggest that the source of this misrepresentation is within the school system itself, not the students. In the specific case of learning disabilities, some experts question the validity of this condition and suggest that the real problem is that some schoolchildren are not receiving adequate academic experiences (Fletcher and Navarrete, 2003). Furthermore, test bias, conscious or unconscious bias, cultural mismatch, and racism remain regrettable but likely factors for misdiagnosis due to the lack of diversity in the teaching force and the lack of cultural responsive training (Skiba, 2013). Although in many cases teachers have the students’ best interest at heart and hope to benefit them from a referral for an evaluation, inappropriate labeling can bring serious consequences for pupils. As noted on Truth in labeling: disproportionality in special education (2007), once admitted into the special needs program, students tend to remain in special education classes, they are more likely to encounter less rigorous curriculum and lower expectations, they often face social stigma, and have less contact with academically able peers.
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