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Special Education

"Replicated Evidence of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Disability Identification in U.S. Schools"

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Black and Hispanic children, as well as children of other minority races, are enrolled in special education at rates significantly lower than those of their white peers, finds a new study in the journal Educational Researcher.

Paul L. Morgan, an education professor at Pennsylvania State University, and George Farkas, an education professor at the University of California, Irvine, argue that when comparing minority children with otherwise similar white peers, white children get special education services at a higher rate while minorities may be missing out. This replication study looked at the scores of nearly 400,000 students in the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades who participated in the National Assessment for Educational Progress.

Among 4th graders whose reading achievement was in the lowest 10 percent nationally, 74 percent of white students were receiving special education services, versus 44 percent of black students with similar reading achievement.

Other racial and ethnic groups with low reading achievement were also less likely than white students to receive special education services. For Hispanics, 43 percent were enrolled in special education, as were 34 percent of Asians, 48 percent of American Indians, 43 percent of Pacific Islanders, and 66 percent of students of multiple races.

Vol. 37, Issue 03, Page 4

Published in Print: September 6, 2017, as Special Education
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