The Diana v. State Board of Education (Diana) case originated when a group of Spanish-speaking students were inappropriately assigned to EMR classes based on an assessment by an unqualified assessor. [CA 70 RFT (N.D. Cal. 1970).] Diana occurred because a monolingual psychologist tested Spanish speakers in English and used this data to place students in special education classes. The case, filed in 1969, was settled out of court in 1970. The stipulated settlement agreement required that the CDE:
- Monitor schools for racial imbalance,
- Correct any imbalance,
- Collect data annually, and
- Use representatives of the Latino community when audits are performed in school districts. At the time of the order, Latinos were over-represented in classes for children with intellectual disabilities,constituting 26% of the total statewide children with intellectual disabilities population, but only 14% of the statewide school-age population in 1967.
The CDE must still comply with the 1971 court order to monitor the representation of special education to ensure proportionate representation for Spanish-speaking students. Because of Diana, state law contains provisions for testing in the child’s native language so that no child will be placed into special education only because of a limited ability to speak English. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56320.]