The debate surrounding disproportionality in the identification of culturally and linguistically diverse students for special education, and in the category of emotional disturbance in particular, remains highly contentious, particularly as scholars grapple with the meaning and causes of disproportionality. In this article, I discuss assumptions underpinning this line of scholarship and implications for the meaning we make of research findings related to disparities in special education and students’ needs. Efforts to understand and address inequity must be juxtaposed with the imprecise, and at times inscrutable, conceptual, psychometric, procedural, and causal issues surrounding identification and potential disproportionality, even while maintaining a fundamental desire to benefit students.
- Emotional disturbance
- Special education