Disproportionality in Special Education
Indicator 9: Percent of districts with disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic groups in special education and related services that is the result of inappropriate identification.
Indicator 10: Percent of districts with disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic groups in specific disability categories that is the result of inappropriate identification.
Wisconsin has developed an Integrated Monitoring System (IMS) that incorporates the most effective elements of continuous improvement and focused monitoring as described by OSEP. The purpose of this new system is to achieve positive results for children with disabilities in Wisconsin while ensuring continued procedural compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
- To improve the quality of education statewide for all students including students with disabilities, students of color, and students living in poverty;
- To increase our internal capacity to address statewide concerns relative to the disproportionate number of students of color referred and placed in special education; and
- To address disproportionality as an educational issue, not just as a special education issue.
- To increase state, regional, and local capacity to address issues of disproportionality;
- To develop methods and criteria for determining whether there is significant disproportionality at the state and local level; and
- To develop an effective monitoring process and technical assistance options that will support local school districts with improving outcomes for students.
- Development of Disproportionality CIFM Monitoring System
- Development of Technical Assistance Resources
- Training on Disproportionality Data Analysis
- Reviewing and Analyzing State and District Policies and Practices
- Disproportionality Technical Assistance Network
- Racial Disparity in Special Education: District Profile Workbook, November 2009
- Webcast: Addressing Disproportionality in Special Education, Dan Losen, Legal Policy Associate for the Harvard Civil Rights Project
- Annotated Checklist for Addressing Racial Disproportionality in Special Education, with End Notes - by Dan Losen, Civil Rights Project
- Annotated Checklist for Addressing Racial Disproportionality in Special Education, No End Notes - by Dan Losen, Civil Rights Project
- Guiding Questions: Differentiating Disordered Behavior from Cultural Mismatch
These guiding questions are designed for use by school personnel working with students with behavioral difficulties. They are intended to help guide the process of sorting out what may be cultural mismatch. They may be used for self-reflection by the individual(s) working with the student and can be used at a pre-referral level or other times when there may be a cultural mismatch between behavioral expectations and exhibited behavior. Use of these questions is flexible – this document is not a checklist or rating scale.
- Culturally Responsive Practices in Schools: The Checklist to Address Disproportionality
The overrepresentation of racially, culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse (RCELD) students in special education is well documented (For purposes of this checklist, any reference to students of RCELD shall include students of racial, cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity). Any effort to respond to the issue of a disproportionate number of students of RCELD being placed into special education programs must consider both external and internal factors. This is not only a special education issue, and some sections of the checklist address issues broader than special education eligibility. Some sections are related to the special education evaluation process, but others look at school climate and early intervention strategies.
The checklist is designed to assist school staff in thinking more deeply about issues and practices which may contribute to the overrepresentation of RCELD students in special education. It will help staff in identifying and discussing relevant external factors (e.g., impact of high stakes assessment and accountability demands, school district priorities and policies, etc.) and internal factors (e.g., school culture and supports, regular education teacher beliefs and practices, early intervening services, and IEP processes at the referral, evaluation, and special education eligibility determination stages).
The purpose of the checklist is to: 1.) guide schools in eliminating the misidentification of students of RCELD in special education and 2.) ensure that only students with disabilities (impairment(s) and a need for special education) are placed into special education programs based upon a comprehensive evaluation process and application of existing eligibility criteria.
- Coordinated Early Intervening Services