Report: Addressing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students: Overrepresentation in Special Education: Guidelines for Parents



EQUITY, disproportionality, STUDENTS, culturally and linguistically diverse, identified with disabilities, CULTURE, race/ethnicity, FAMILIES, TOPICAL BRIEF


SCHOOL:inquiry on equity in schooling


Alfredo Artiles, Beth Harry, Equity Alliance at ASU


2004, 8/24/2009




Do bias or inappropriate practice play a role in the placement of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education? Is the representation of low-income students in special education programs larger than their representation in the school population at your child’s school? If the answers to these questions are yes, it is possible your child’s school may be facing a problem that is called “overrepresentation” in its special education programs. This paper is one of the practitioner-oriented briefs produced by the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt). It applies to all parents and teachers of culturally and linguistically diverse students who have been (or will be) placed in special education. Overrepresentation is not a new problem. The special education system has faced legal actions (e.g., court cases such as Diana and Larry P in California) for the last three decades when too many (overrepresentation) culturally and linguistically diverse students were placed in disability programs. This problem affects African Americans, Latinos(as), American Indians, and low-income students or children who do not speak English as their first language. Culturally and linguistically diverse students are often over-represented in learning disability, mild mental retardation, and emotional/behavioral disturbance disability categories. In this carefully developed brief, the authors discussed how overrepresentation can be identified and monitored, why overrepresentation is a problem and what are its possible causes. Then, the authors covered the actions that parents could take. The authors provided detailed guidelines for culturally and linguistically diverse parent involvement in the special education process.


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