Issues in equitable education for culturally and linguistically diverse students : process, placement, and advocacy
Abstract: Disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education is a threat to equality in education. Review of literature reveals that there are several concerns that contribute to the disproportionate number of CLD students; these include student factors, such as their educational background and English proficiency. Systemic issues, sociocultural elements, considerations in pedagogy, possible invalidity of assessments may also contribute to the inappropriate referral to the eligibility process for special education. These, whether individually or combined, can lead to a misplacement of a student into special education. Empirical research reveals both an under- and overrepresentation of CLD students in special education classrooms. For students who are not referred to testing for special education, or for students whose referral is delayed, their achievement and participation in school will suffer detrimental effects from the lack in early intervention. The academic, social, and emotional progress of students that are referred to testing and placed in special education when their struggle is linguistically-based may be hindered and there is a risk of stigmatization. Recommendations for intervention and prevention are offered, as well as areas of possible future research.