I was just looking over some employment ads on a local school district’s website. I was very shocked to see this ad:
Position Description: Special Education Program Assistant [school name redacted]
- Under direct teacher supervision, performs a variety of tasks assisting the teacher in the development of an instructional program by working with students individually or in small groups. Prepares instructional materials, maintains classroom discipline, and conducts planned activities using teacher designated methods and materials. In addition, provides assistance for the physically and mentally disabled, learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, culturally different, etc.
If you didn’t take the time to read the whole ad, I want to direct your attention to the last line. Even ignoring the lack of person-first language, did you notice how “culturally different” is lumped in with the three federally recognized disability categories? Is it any surprise that this school district might be having problems with the disproportionate representation of African American students in special education programs? I was stopped in my tracks when I read that. Wow.