Overrepresentation Of Minority Students In Special Education Programs

Overrepresentation or disproportionality of minority students in special education programs can be an ongoing problem that has plagued our country for several years. Overrepresentation can occur in many areas but is most widespread when contemplating a student's ethnicity. Disproportionality refers to "the amount to which membership in a given â group impacts the probability of being positioned in a specific impairment category" (Oswald, Coutinho, Best, & Singh, 1999, p. 198). For instance, government studies have discovered that DARK-COLORED students constitute over 14% of the school-age population yet they represent 20% of the students put in special education (Losen & Orfield, 2002). Klinger et al. , (2005) reported that BLACK students are twice as likely than White students to be called mentally retarded, onetime more likely to be called learning handicapped, and over one and half times as likely to have an psychological or behavioral disorder.

Disproportionate representation of cultural and racial minorities has historical contacts to educational segregation and discrimination. Dunn (1968) first brought up concerns concerning this issue in the sixties. He explained the disproportionate volume of minority students being labeled as emotionally retarded and placed in self-contained classrooms which elevated significant educational and civil right concerns. Ferri and Connor (2005) also have managed that disproportionality has historical origins. After institutions were integrated in 1954, following a Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Mother board of Education, the number of DARK-COLORED students positioned in special education programs increased. Students were being grouped or put according with their academic potential. This practice led to many BLACK students being grouped jointly in low capacity monitors and many were consequently referenced for special education services. Hence, over referring BLACK students for special education became another way to resegregate students of color.

Some people would claim that placing students in special education would greatly profit the university student because she or he would get more individualized attention to address their disability and other needs. However, disproportionality often reveals negative implications for minority students. Once BLACK students are discovered as getting a disability, deemed qualified to receive special education services, and put in a special education setting; these are more like to stay in special education classes throughout their years in college. They are more likely to get a "watered" down curriculum that's not as rigorous as the curriculum that the students on the whole education obtains. These students are segregated off their general education peers when positioned in more restrictive adjustments. Disabled students tend to be stigmatized and cared for in different ways by other students in their universities. Lastly, to help expand exacerbate the condition, overrepresentation may also cause some students to be misclassified or inappropriately identified as getting a disability.

Disproportionality is a sophisticated problem that has been associated with multiple factors with respect to the school and/or institution district. Probable causes of disproportionality include psychometric test bias, socio-demographic factors, unequal opportunity generally speaking education, and social mismatch between teacher and learner (Skiba, et. al, 2008). Research has also suggested that bias at the prereferral stage of the special education eligibility process is a reason for disparity of African American students being located in special education (Darley & Gross, 1983). As a previous special education professor, I've participated in several meetings with an objective of deciding which positioning is appropriate for a student previously discovered as developing a impairment. On several occasions, I've asked the referring basic education teacher his or her reasons for referring the learner for special education services and was stunned to get such vague and probably bias explanations. For instance, one teacher explained that she known students for behavioral issues because sometimes, "he was persistent and refused to do his work. " Another professor told me that she known a student because he provided challenging behaviors such as discussing out without authorization and he often contradicted the teacher's answers or explanations to the course which infuriated the educator. When questioned further about the interventions used before recommendation, the instructors' response were more ambiguous and peppered with a lack of understanding of appropriate treatment strategies. The purpose of this review is to look for the personal characteristics of the general education teachers which have the greatest effect on the decision to refer minority students for special education. The study will address the next research questions via a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative research:

To what scope if any, does indeed a general education instructors' years of experience, teaching level, trained in school room management and involvement strategies, education level, ethnicity, get older, and gender impact disparity at the prereferral level of the special education eligibility process?

What impact does an over-all education professors' effectiveness and perceptions of minority scholar characteristics bias their recommendation of minority students for special education services?

What is the location rate of the students being known for special education services by the overall education educators?

This review will focus on the students being referred for educational and/or behavioral issues because these are the main reasons why minority students are referenced for special education services. Because of this study, I hope to have the ability to expand the available literature on potential professor bias during the prereferral stage of the special education process. My ultimate goal is to diminish the amounts of BLACK students being known for special education services when the referral is not warranted or questionable.

Conceptual Framework

Disproportionality is a popular problem that continues to impact minority students. Patterns of steady disproportionality are noticeable and have been studied extensively for years.

Oswald et al. (1999) reviewed the magnitude of overrepresentation by inspecting extant data from the 1992 Elementary and Secondary School Civil Rights Compliance Report to describe the scope of disproportionate representation of African American students called seriously emotionally disturbed (SED) and mildly psychologically retarded (MMR). They also wished to determine the degree to which financial, demographic, and educational variables at the area level were associated with disproportional identification for this cultural group. Zhang and Katsiyannis (2002) used data extracted from three authorities publications to learn if there were any recent improvements or changes in overrepresentation of minorities in special education. Although, there's been some debate concerning how disproportionality should be measured and the extent of the challenge, overrepresentation continues that occurs with no definitive causes. Analysts have also been unsuccessful in determining real solutions to eradicate this trend.

Previous studies have evaluated many areas of disproportionality including bias in problem fixing and the social process of student study clubs and teacher efficiency and college student problem as factors in special education referral. Yet, research is somewhat limited and has mainly centered on the magnitude and possible causes of disproportionality. There appears to be a distance in the books when evaluating personal factors that have an impact on the general education educators' decision to send a student for special educations services. This analysis will fill up this distance by evaluating factors that effect referral and eventually leads to disparity. An in-depth analysis of educators' effectiveness and perceptions of minority students will also be examined to ascertain if these factors impact disproportionality.

The cognitive theory of social learning coined by Alfred Bandura will advise my approach to understanding the phenomena of disproportionality with regards to teacher efficacy. Professor efficiency will be studying to determine its role in the prereferral stage of the special education process. I'll examine the general education educators' belief that he / she may or may not manage to causing desired changes in their students. Educator efficacy will need account of two measurements, judgments and personal beliefs. Disproportionality may also be approached from an ecological perspective framework to understand how special education referrals are affected by personal characteristics of the referring teacher. The tutor factors that'll be explored will also be aware the influence of ascriptive characteristics, characteristics that cannot be evolved such as get older, gender, ethnicity, etc. , on disparity.

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