the first: a student must be referred. Referral is most often done by the general education teacher. Special needs or gifts are therefore exhibited (or not) in the general education classroom. For this reason, the committee considers general education, and referral and assessment for special and gifted education, as parts of a single picture. In Chapter 5 we look at general education and its potential role in the disproportionate placement of minority students in special and gifted education. In Chapter 6 we look at special education referral and the law that guides special education practices. In Chapter 7 we look at the assessment process for the disabilities of concern and for gifted and talented programs.

In Chapter 8 the committee looks at major challenges to the existing system, and offers a set of recommendations for substantial reform. Our proposal rests on the conclusion that more effective referral and placement for all children require more closely integrated assessment, intervention, and monitoring in general education before students are placed in special and gifted programs. Therefore our recommendations for changes in general education, and for special and gifted education identification and placement, all appear in Chapter 8.

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