The Journal of Special Education, 32, 15–24. By 1968, over 80 per cent of students in special education came from minority groups (Samson & Lesaux, 2009). Overrepresentation of minority students in special education has been a concern for more than 3 decades. We also need to help states and districts collect and report race- and ethnicity-specific rates. There are a number of factors that could explain the disproportionality of this issue. Avoid state-mandated IDEA sanctions in your district with an up-to-date understanding of the critical factors that contribute to overrepresentation in special education. National Center for Children in Poverty. Disproportionality refers to the “overrepresentation” of a particular racial or ethnic group in one of four areas: special education in general; special education within a specific disability category; disciplinary action; or; more restrictive environments. This study attempted to evaluate the causes and problems of the overrepresentation. Morgan, Paul L., George Farkas, Marianne M. Hillemeier, and Steve Maczuga. He reported that Asian American children are underrepresented in special education. Basic Facts About Low-Income Children: Children Under 18 Years, 2015. Overrepresentation can occur in many areas but is most prevalent when considering a student’s ethnicity. From: Currie, J., Greenstone, M., & Moretti, E. 2011. Where overrepresentation exists, OCR has required many systems to implement corrective plans to reduce that disproportionality. Instead, the best evidence indicates that Black children are significantly less likely than otherwise similar White children to receive special education services. The Importance of SDI Programs for Children With Learning Disabilities, How a Developmental History Can Help Diagnose Learning Disabilities, Why Early Intervention Services Are Key for Learning Disabilities, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, accommodate parents of students with Limited English Proficiency, Disproportionality in Special Education: A Synthesis of International Research and Trends, Special education disproportionality in the United States, Germany, Kenya, and India, Prevent children from reaching their academic potential, Fuel negative stereotypes regarding minority groups, Result in a type of racial profiling that places minority students at a disadvantage throughout their school year, Result in lowered expectations among teachers, parents, and the students themselves, Prevent schools from recognizing the need to adjust curriculum and teaching methods to reach a broad range of instructional needs of a diverse student body. Prior to enrolling, he had attended school in a neighbor­ing city for less than a year and been referred for a special education evalu­ation because of his poor academic progress. I recap this academic debate, and briefly review some major disparities we observe along racial and ethnic lines in income and other non-school factors likely to influence the need for special education by the time children enter school. We will soon be posting the first slideshow in the revised version as well as … Shifrer, D., Muller, C., & Callahan, R. 2014. Superfund Cleanups and Infant Health. Data from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) annual reports to Congress on the implementation of IDEA show that over-representation of minority students in special education is a problem that affects educational equity in our country. Hanford, E. “Hard to Read: How American schools fail kids with dyslexia.”. This can result in special education decisions that are not based on objective evidence and lead to inappropriate placements. The National Academies Press. … The law and regulations and other resources can be found at: For excerpted public comments on the regulation, see: “Identifying Minorities in Spec. Differences in aggregation, covariates, and samples generate different answers to the question of whether black students are over- or under-identified for special education.7 The most credible studies allow researchers to control for a rich set of student-level characteristics, rather than using data aggregated to the district level, and firmly establish that blacks are disproportionately under-represented. Replicated Evidence of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Disability Identification in U.S. Schools. Overrepresentation or disproportionality of minority students in special education programs is an ongoing problem that has plagued our nation for several decades. January 2007. Overrepresentation of minorities in special education is a growing problem in schools today. In a 2002 National Research Council study, Donovan and Cross reviewed the literature and data on differences in special education participation by disability and racial/ethnic groups and cautioned against using unadjusted aggregate group-level identification rates to guide public policy.5 They crystallized the challenge of interpreting these differences: “If… we are asking whether the number identified is in proportion to those whose achievement or behavior indicates a need for special supports, then the question is one for which no database currently exists.”6. Skiba, R.J., Artiles, A.J., Kozleski, E.B., Losen, D.J., & Harry, E.G. The overrepresentation of African-American students could be due to: (1) the LEA inappropriately identifying African-American students as having an emotional disturbance and needing special education and related services even though they do not (over-identification); (2) the LEA failing to appropriately identify students in other racial or But they do not tell us whether schools are giving black students the free and appropriate public education the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees them. Can You Request a Teacher for Your Child With Learning Disabilities? Whitehurst, G.J. Unsurprisingly, Morgan and Farkas have argued against these regulations while offering up their own alternatives.22. Access to schooling and special education services remains a challenge for many children with disabilities around the world. Overrepresentation occurs due to a number of factors including a lack of effective instructional programs, ineffective teaching methods, and assumptions made by professionals in the field. Such population variance is rarely justifiable and is always cause for concern. Overrepresentation or disproportionality of minority students in special education programs is an ongoing problem that has plagued our nation for several decades. In 2009, overrepresentation in special education data at the state level showed that the comparative risk ratio stood at 0.9 (Linn, 2011). However, the 'mainstreaming' movement, which was and is supported by many … Such overrepresentation has triggered a number of legal challenges, educational … al., 2018 and Morgan et al., 2012). It occurs when students from a racial group are identified for special education, placed in more restrictive settings, or disciplined at markedly higher rates than their peers. School Finance Reform and the Distribution of Student Achievement. Disabil Soc. However, they made up 47 percent of the students labeled as having emotional and behavior disorders and 57 percent of students with intellectual disabilities. The federal government considers disproportionality “significant” when the overrepresentation exceeds a threshold defined by each state. The federal government considers disproportionality “significant” when the overrepresentation exceeds a threshold defined by each state. Of course, disproportionality also occurs with regard to placement in gifted and talented programs, placement in more or less restrictive special education settings and the occurrence and severity of disciplinary actions (Skiba, et al., 2006). Data on identification by race and ethnicity are essential for revealing patterns and outliers. To carry out this research project, two teachers from the Greater Toronto Area were interviewed using a semi-structured model. A follow up study found this result applied across the five disability classifications studied, notably including emotional disturbance and intellectual disability, stigmatizing categories in which black boys are over represented in the aggregate, unadjusted data.9 While some have questioned the generalizability of the ECLS-K results due to sampling,10 the qualitative result has been replicated using the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the 2017 Morgan et al. For example, American Indian/Alaska Native students are often identified for special education services at higher rates than their proportion within the population; roughly 1% of students are … The special education system has faced legal actions (e.g., court cases such as Diana and Larry P in California) for the last three decades when too many (overrepresentation) culturally and linguistically diverse students were placed in Thus, if teachers are biased in their referral … For a description of risk ratio calculations, thresholds, and state-level data on how many districts exceed the ratio, see: U.S. Department of Education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act aims to address equity by race and ethnicity; 2016 regulations further define the framework.1718 States must collect and review district-level data on how rates of identification—overall, by educational setting and disability category—vary across racial and ethnic groups with no adjustments for variables that correlate with need for services. Tuchman, S. 2017. Overrepresentation of Minorities Special Education Overrepresentation of Minorities in Special Education The national debate over special education has no easy answers. Part 2 - Summary of the Findings & Conclusions and Recommendations. If you view participation in special education as providing critical services to appropriately identified students, the fact that a given black student is less likely to be placed in special education than an otherwise identical white student is deeply troubling. Overrepresentation or disproportionality of minority students in special education programs is an ongoing problem that has plagued our nation for several decades. The special education annual report also indicated that African American students accounted for 39 percent of the total special education population. Ignoring the harsh realities of racial disparities outside of school is likely to hurt those very children advocates seek to protect. 2010. Disproportionality is the over-representation of minority students identified with a learning disability or other type of disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Dhuey, E. & Lipscomb, S. 2013. Adah Chung is a fact checker, writer, researcher, and occupational therapist. (2007) on South California schools proved that the number of English language learners was high both at the state and district levels. Yet, African … The problem of disproportionate representation of racial groups in ceratin categories of special education is significant because it is only seen in the “judgemental” categories. Download 20-page thesis on "Overrepresentation of African-American Males in Special Education" (2020) ☘ … Such programs are needed and beneficial for many students that have problems remaining in general education classrooms. C: Why overrepresentation exists and how it can be eliminated has not been resolved. Overrepresentation can occur in many areas but is most widespread when contemplating a student's ethnicity. They can prod districts and states to examine their special education policies and practices, potentially identifying ones that unintentionally yield discriminatory results, and shine a light on groups in need of greater early intervention resources. On one hand, many parents of affected children want more resources catering to their children's special needs. The disproportionality literature consistently notes that children’s outcomes are causally affected by out-of-school factors such as poor nutrition, stress, and exposure to environmental toxins, and that exposure to these influences unduly affects poor children and children of color. Disproportionality in the context of the IDEA refers to comparisons made among groups of students by race or ethnicity who are identified for special education services.Where students from particular racial or ethnic groups are identified either at a greater or lesser rate than all other students then that group may be said to be disproportionately represented in special education. Diversity is increasing, and one of the most troublesome issues associated with its growth is the overrepresentation of minority children in special education that is, more minority children are served in special education than we would expect based on their percentage in the general school population. From: Mandell, D.S., Listerud, J., Levy, S.E., & Pinto-Martin, J.A. A: Overrepresentation occurs in special education due to the increase of single-parent households. subjective rather than objective criteria are used, overrepresentation in special education is concentrated among three minority groups. I argue against fixed thresholds for how much variance states should tolerate in districts’ special education identification rates across racial and ethnic groups, and for comprehensive social policies to help address disparities in children’s well being. The Overrepresentation of Black Students in Special Education Classrooms. Disproportionality in Special Education: Effects of Individual and School Variables on Disability Risk. 2018;52(3):163-173. doi:10.1177/0022466918772300, Bruce SM, Venkatesh K. Special education disproportionality in the United States, Germany, Kenya, and India. 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