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Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity in Special Education

Presentation Slides

Examples such as “Our state department of special education has identified my district as one that has disproportionate representation of black students in the ‘emotional disturbance’ category” represent a difference or “success gap” in educational outcomes among particular groups of students. Students who are members of racial, ethnic, or linguistic minority groups often face barriers and challenges in the educational system. When those challenges or barriers are not effectively or efficiently addressed, students may be identified as eligible for special education services when the real problem might be with the educational system rather than the unique learning challenges of an individual student. Racial/ethnic disproportionality in special education has been considered a longstanding problem across the United States, historically affecting minority students with regard to identification, educational environment, and discipline, leading to poorer outcomes for these groups of students.

In this webinar, which IDC staff presented for the University of Tennessee’s Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities, we first discuss the requirements in the IDEA related to disproportionality, describe methods for calculating disproportionality, and present data, both at the national level and for the state of Tennessee. The second part of the webinar introduces a research-based guidance document and self-assessment rubric designed to help schools and districts identify the root causes of "success gaps" for some groups of students, thereby helping to improve and equalize results for all students.

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Companion Resources

These are resources that supplement the resource above.

On Tuesday, February 23, 2016,  OSEP, ESB, and PSC presented the EMAPS IDEA Part C Child Count and Settings Survey Webinar.

The purpose of this webinar was to review the procedures for submitting this survey, including the new cumulative counts for race/ethnicity and gender, new additional year-to-year rows, and change in the email notifications. The final slides are available to review here:

  • Resource Image:
    Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity in Special Education
  • Published:
    Mar 1, 2015
  • Authors:
    Julie Bollmer, Cesar D'Agord, Amy Bitterman
  • Organizations:
    IDEA Data Center
  • Format:
  • Number of Pages:
    62 pages.
  • Topics:
    Disproportionality and Success Gaps, Part B
  • Indicators:
    B9 Disproportionate Representation in Special Education, B10 Disproportionate Representation in Specific Disability Categories
  • Tags:
    Success Gaps, Disproportionate Representation

For more information about this resource, contact your IDC state liaison.