What is the best way for a black child in Special Ed. to be retested?
Topic: What is the best way for a black child in Special Ed. to be retested?
April 21, 2019 / By Winifred Question:
I live in what used to be an almost exclusively white university town (except for those populations of "diversity" that are welcome--which is only at the university level). In recent years, there has been a steady migration of people from an urban area a few hours away settling in our town. I've met probably 20 people who fit this description, and MANY of them are either grown adults who used to be in Special Ed. or kids who are being placed in Special Ed. in our town. I'm not denying the fact that a black person may have special needs, but the people I've met seem astute and not requiring such "help". As a person who wonders if this tracking into Special Ed. might be done automatically based on skin color, I wonder what the options are for re-testing kids in an unbiased, professional manner.
Best Answers: What is the best way for a black child in Special Ed. to be retested?
Sharron | 2 days ago
You've touched on a bunch of deep issues here. I fully expect some education professor to steal your question and use it for a final exam. I'm not an education professor, but if I were, I would totally steal it.
Before we look at the issues, I would like to state flat out that tracking into Special Education based on skin color is definitely against federal law. Just the same, there are plenty of ways that bias can creep into those decisions.
Issue 1: Cultural bias in testing.
I live on an island in the Pacific where 3/4 of the schoolkids are indigenous to these islands. There's a whole parade of people who come here and tell us our schools are failing because our kids don't score as well on tests designed for east coast kids as east coast kids score on the same tests.
But ask a kid from Princeton New Jersey how to catch a squid, and how many sentences can we expect him to write on the topic? After, "Why would you want to catch a squid?" what would he have to say?
Yes, it's a huge issue. But other than Mental Retardation, a gap between this kid's scores and the scores of the average kid won't qualify you for much in the way of Special Education.
About half of the students in SpEd fall under the eligibility category of Specific Learning Disability (not nearly as specific as it sounds). For that, you look at gaps among the diffferent scores for that student. Is the student's reading comprehension score much lower than her IQ, for instance?
And you don't just look at gaps in scores. You have to take into account work samples, what the family has to say, and how the student's behavior in the classroom affects learning and working (based on an observation by somebody other than that teacher). There are provisions in the federal law (IDEA 2004 and earlier versions) to try to keep students who are merely economically and culturally disadvantaged--but not disabled--from being placed into special education. How well do they work? Well, that's a whole other essay question.
2. Re-testing may not be necessary, but re-evaluation would be. Let me explain.
You can have a re-evaluation where a team of school staff, parents, and the student themselves--if we're lucky--meet, review the information we already have, agree that they don't need more information, so they don't ask for any more tests, and they go ahead and reach a consensus on whether the student meets the criteria. The parent can request this at any time, but is more likely to get a different result if the team members change--when you've got a different set of teachers, for instance.
3. Un-biased professional manner. No matter how hard we try to be objective, the very fact that we have thoughts and associations in our heads means that we all have biases.
I realized I was a racist one day, when I saw one of those "My child is an honor student..." bumper stickers on a car, and thought, "Oh, give me a break!" Then I saw that the driver of the car was black, and my reaction flipped 180 degrees. I had to admit that having different expectations for the races, no matter what the cause and effect, is racism by definition.
I monitor the stats in my district, which is maybe my job, and maybe it isn't. I may say to myself, we sure have a lot of kids with ADHD in SpEd! Or why are there more boys in SpEd than girls? And I am concerned about discrimination for sure!
But when a team sits down to make an eligibility decision, they are not and should not be overly concerned with my statistics. They should be concerned with the individual educational needs of that particular child.
Which brings me to...
4. Research has shown that supports which help students with learning disabilities also help students with economic or cultural disadvantages.
Well, given that fact, there are two things you can do about it.
A) Put as many students as you can in Special Ed. This is also a way to ensure that there is more money to spend in the building, by the way. That's a big part of the problem. It's against the law, but the government rewards you for the behavior.
B) Put as many supports that help those kids as you can in the general education classroom. There's actually not much in an IEP that cannot be done outside of Special Education. Teach those techniques to the classroom teachers and implement those supports all over the school, and you should have fewer students that require Special Education, or have educational problems in the first place! The buzzwords that go with this set of ideas are "Differentiated Instruction" and "Response to Intervention".
The federal law says you can use a portion of your Special Ed budget to meet the needs of students who are not eligibile for Special Ed. It doesn't give you a bigger pie, but it tells the schools they can use a piece of it to help other students. It's the number of Special Education students and their needs that determines the size of the pie.
To me, in this day and age, if the only way you can help a student is to put them in Special Education, there's something wrong with your school.
There's something wrong with many of our schools.
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Originally Answered: Do you think it would be difficult or confusing for a black child to grow up with white parents?
Honestly, if you are going to adopt a black child, do not live in a place where there are only whites. Of course that would be difficult for them. You should live in an area where there are many races represented and your child can identify with some.
How would you feel being the lone white child in an all black neighborhood?
Your black child will not have the white privilege that you have so he/she will need to have someone around who they can relate to. You're white, you can't understand.
If you choose to adopt a black child, please do some homework about trans racial adoptions and make sure you understand fully what you need to do for your child to have the best life. Make sure you also educate yourself on how to take care of black hair and skin.
I don't think that the child will be confused because clearly they will know they are adopted but it would be difficult for them living in an all white community.
Right, it's racism by some unknown entity since in many, if not most, public schools where Black predominate the population, Blacks are in charge, not just at the school level but in the administration as well. Further, there are strict rules for anyone going into special ed; they MUST be tested by a psychologist and observed over a period of time. I knew many students in the 99% Black school I taught in in the inner city who couldn't get into special ed though they needed it desperately simply because there wasn't enough money, space, or time for the psychologist to test them all. So, rather than get the help they needed, they were housed in a mainstream classroom, usually disrupting so that the other kids can't learn. No students are simply "tossed" into special ed classrooms. I thought you said you "saw cases" but then you ask if "we know of any cases." Which is it? It sounds like all those cases you saw are merely your brother and that was a long time ago. Perhaps you shouldn't go accusing people of racism unless you can back it up, even though it's done all the time. I had a case of a girl who was 12 still in third grade for the 4th time because she couldn't pass. The poor kid should have been tested and placed years before, but because she blended so well with the other kids, who were much younger than she was so THAT in itself should have been a sign, no one noticed because the mainstream classes are filled with special ed kids and emotionally disturbed kids who take all the attention of the teacher. Finally, after I pushed and reminded the principal of the $90k a day fine that the school may have to pay if she wasn't placed, they DID test her and found that she was mildly retarded because she--and her little sister--had been snacking on lead paint as toddlers. She was much relieved that something was wrong with her and she just wasn't weird or, as she put it stupid. How sad.
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Parents or guardians may request retesting at any time if they feel the child's needs have changed (for better or worse). The school system is responsible for having the testing done and interpreted to the parents. If the parents feel that the testing is invalid, the parents can have the results reviewed by a professional of their choosing, but probably at their own expense. There may be advocacy groups that would help with this.
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Contact your childs school and request that an ARD meeting be held. At the meeting, request that testing be conducted again. Prior to requesting the testing, you should probably ask the school to provide you with a copy of the current testing so you can review it and highlight any areas in which you disagree or have concerns about. When the school administers a new assessment, they can use your information to pin point the most appropriate assessment to answer your area of concerns.
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Well, some of the answers I have read surprise me. I am a special education teacher and yes, we get funds for special ed students but get major 'dings' for having too high of identified students. Nationally, there is an average number of students that qualify for sped and when you go over that, it raises flags. Around the nation, there is a big push for a revamp of the way special ed is identified and handled. It is called 'Response to Intervention'. Basically, it is supposed to offer services to students before they get so far behind that they qualify for special ed. It is actually really great.
Honestly, I will not deny that it is a possibility that this school district is tracking students based on ethnicity; however, I sincerely hope not. Limited schooling, ethnicity, any of that is not a qualifying factor for services. I would ask the teacher for his present levels of functioning and compare them to others his same grade level. As a rule, special ed is generally 3 grade levels behind. Hope this helps! Best of luck!
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Originally Answered: Why Are Black Boxes Called Black? Aren't They Orange?
Actually when referring to the black box it is usually a navagation, radio, flight control comp, or system controler when technicians refer to it they will often call it a black box or the box. The orange box is either the voice recorder or the flight data recorder and they are colored orange with reflective tape so they can be located after a crash to help investigators determine the cause.