Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on New Approaches in Education
Cultural Disadvantage or Special Needs? Deficit Thinking in Diagnosis and Placement for
Special Education Students
This study aims to examine how diagnosis and placement of special education students in elementary school embed deficit thinking. Its importance cannot be overstated as deficit thinking remains widespread and deep-rooted not only in education but also in daily lives, hindering equal opportunity of educational and social justice. This article focuses on the way in which special education students have been identified, diagnosed and placed since their early educational career, the elementary school level. To the extent that special education is expected to facilitate equality of educational opportunity and social justice, it is imperative that the process and result of school children placement be scrutinized to see if inequity of class, race, and gender is reproduced or reduced and how.
Keywords: class, race, and gender; cultural disadvantage; equality of educational opportunity;
social justice; special education
National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan