Published Online: July 7, 2015
Published in Print: July 8, 2015, as Study: Minorities Less Likely to Be in Spec. Ed.

Report Roundup

Study: Minorities Less Likely to Be in Spec. Ed.

"Minorities Are Disproportionately Underrepresented in Special Education: Longitudinal Evidence Across Five Disability Categories"

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Black students and Hispanic students are less likely than their white and non-Hispanic peers to be labeled with a disability, when factors such as household income, low birth weight, and parents' marital status are taken into account, according to a new study.

The findings challenge the notion that overt or unconscious bias has funneled a disproportionate number of minority students into special education. The study was published online June 24 by the journal Educational Researcher.

Researchers analyzed a national sample of students from five of the 13 federal disability categories—emotional disturbance, intellectual disability, "other health impairment," specific learning disability, and speech and language impairment. They looked at not only race but at other variables that correlate with educational outcomes: English-language status, birth weight, insurance status, household income, and mother's marital status. They also controlled for the child's achievement and behavior. After accounting for such factors, the probability of being identified for special education was lower in every category for minority students.

Lead author Paul L. Morgan of Pennsylvania State University said just reporting the share of black children identified with a disability is not enough: Risk factors seem to make a difference. For example, black children may be more likely to be born at a low birth weight, or in low-income households.

Vol. 34, Issue 36, Page 5

Related Stories
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented