Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Comparative Special Education Law: Europe

I'm a big fan of comparative law. By looking at how things are done in the legal systems of other countries, we can evaluate how we do things here. Generally our legal system is far superior to that of other countries. (Just my opinion, but hard to argue.) Our Constitution's protections of individual rights and commitment to due process of law are really pretty awesome.

I recently came across a report entitled State of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2009- Education Special. The report is long and very interesting for a number of reasons, but here I am only going to discuss the special education law related contents. The report is available on this website. Look for the 2009 report.

On page 97 of the 127 page report, there is a description of three landmark cases. In one, DH et al v. The Czech Republic, Application # 57325 (Grand Chamber, European Court), the Court found that the practice of routinely placing children belonging to ethnic minorities in special schools for children with mental disabilities violated their rights. The European Court found that the use of invalid and culturally biased testing instruments caused Roma children to be 27 times more likely to be placed in such special schools than non-Roma. (Disproportionality anyone?)By utilizing these invalid and culturally biased instruments, the Court found the defendant to be in violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. I find this case fascinating. What do you think? Does this case raise any issues we should be concerned about?

Map of the Czech Republic showing cities and m...Image via Wikipedia

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.