For years policy makers believed that minorities were overrepresented in special education and that there was inherent bias in the way kids were being identified as disabled. A new study turns this idea on its head.
African-American children represent about 14 percent of the school-aged population in the United States. But they make up 19 percent of children in special education. For years policymakers took that disparity to mean there is racial bias in the way students with disabilities are identified and placed in special ed programs in public schools. But a new study claims that, contrary to what’s been reported in the past, racial and ethnic minorities are actually less likely to be identified as having disabilities than white children and that means they’re less likely to receive the special education services they may need.