Minority Disproportionate Representation in Special Education
This chapter describes the observed patterns of disproportionality and considers how and why the representation of minority students in special education settings has become a contentious political issue. A reason for the politicization of disproportionality is its connection with perceptions about the effectiveness of special education, which has also become a political issue. The chapter examines the state of the evidence concerning the underlying causes and contributing factors involved in the observed patterns of minority disproportionate representation (MDR). Health-related and healthcare variables may be contributing factors in MDR in some disability categories. For example, minority children's lower access to healthcare as well as healthcare providers may have resulted in less access to early intervention/early childhood special education services. The chapter considers legal and policy issues emerging from the recent Notice of Proposed Rule Making. These regulations are designed to address disproportionality in special education believed to be occurring due to widespread over-identification based on race or ethnicity.