As a doctoral student at the University of Hartford, Marion H. Martinez developed an interest in the urban school research done by the Annenberg Institute. This interest eventually led Dr. Martinez to apply for the superintendent position at East Hartford Public Schools. In her experience as a school superintendent, Marion H. Martinez reviewed data related to the disproportionate number of minority students in special education programs.
When the number of minority students in special education classes is statistically too high, the number is said to be disproportionate. This misidentification of disabilities can lead to problems such as the perpetuation of negative racial stereotypes and the hampered academic development of children.
Misdiagnosis can be the result of the failure to recognize the culture differences among minority groups. This leads to failure to accommodate ELL students or those in poverty whose brains have been impacted by trauma.