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Tuesday, June 06, 2006



Liz, I agree that there are students from low-income families who are not getting appropriate services. We educators should work to secure those services for the students in this class. However, we shall probably have to confront others who believe that LD is over-diagnosed and, especially, that there are too many children from low-income backgrounds identified as needing special education.

Sadly but obviously, the consequences of living in an economically impoverished increases the chances of the need for special education services. Given that low-income status in the USA is closely correlated with ethnicity, this simply means that there is a higher probability of children from non-anglo ethnic backgrounds being identified as needing special education. Some consider this outcome to be prima facie discrimination.

The upshot is that special education gets hammered. Now, if special education is something to be avoided, then it must not be good to have one's child eligible for special education, no? Therefore, do not let your child be identified. He's just not like the modal child, but his difficulties in learning and behavior are a problem with the system, not him. So let us fight that designation. Don't let him be identified. Don't let him be sent away to special education.

Oh how my words fail me!

To be sure, there are systems that fail to make reasonable accommodations for children. There are places where we wish the teaching would emphasize careful sounding out rather than guessing. There are some folks who have lower expectations for students from the non-majority population. I don't want kids in those situations who have problems to be identified as having LD...unless they have LD.

That is, I don't want kids to be misidentified as having LD when they simply don't speak English natively. By the same token, I don't want some child who is not a native English speaker but does have LD to miss out on services.

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