Overrepresentation of children of color in Special Education Classes
Underrepresentation of children of color (& those in poverty) in Gifted Education Classes
Concerns expressed by Congress in 1997
Disproportionality as a National Problem
The 19th Annual Report to Congress on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (1997) also cited the disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic minorities as a major concern for both the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OSEP and OCR identified the following major concerns about disproportionate representation:
Students may be misclassified or inappropriately placed.
Placement in special education classes may be a form of discrimination.
Students may be unserved or receive services that do not meet their needs
Disproportionate Representation in Special Ed Ethnicity/Race % in general population % in Sp Ed population Asian/Pacific Islander 3.8 1.7 Black (Non-Hispanic) 14.8 20.2 American Indian 1.0 1.3 Caucasian (non-Hispanic 66.2 63.6 Hispanic 14.2 13.2
Most recently, a second NAS panel convened and released a report entitled, Minority Children in Special and Gifted Education (2002) to revisit the issue of disproportionality. The report provided multiple recommendations in the following categories:
referral and eligibility determination in special education;
gifted and talented education;
biological and early childhood risk factors;
data collection; and
research and development
Definition of Gifted Youth
Children and youth with outstanding talent perform or show the potential for performing at high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment. These children and youth exhibit high performance capability in intellectual, creative, and/or artistic areas, possess an unusual leadership capacity, or excel in specific academic areas. They require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the schools. Outstanding talents are present in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor (P.L. 100-297, Sec. 4103. Definitions.).
Identification process has limited students to those who score well on individualized intelligence tests which tend to be verbally loaded and to have students respond to items that may be unfamiliar to culturally diverse or students from low income settings
As ‘gatekeepers’ teachers do not recognize giftedness in children of color as much as that in majority culture children
Black, Hispanic, and Native American students are underrepresented in gifted education programs nationally, with underrepresentation ranging from 50-70%.
Trends in National data
Generally underidentified for special education; overidentified for
African American students:
3 times more likely--labeled mentally retarded.
2 times more likely--emotionally disturbed.
Boys labeled MR 4 times more than non-minorities.
Native American students:
2 times more likely to be labeled ED or learning disabled.
Initially, 4 times more likely--speech or language impaired.
More likely identified when attending schools with high numbers of ELL students.
Less likely eligible for services if attending schools with lower numbers of ELL students.
The ‘New’ Mainstream student
45 million students enrolled in public, private elem-secondary schools..more than 30% groups designated as racial or ethnic minorities
African American- 16%;
Asian/Pacific Islander 3 % and
Native American 1%
Socio-Economic Status (SES)
Bottom quartile (in family income) students made up only 10% of gifted program participants
Top quartile students make up 50% of gifted program students
Direct, targeted efforts at identifying and serving Low SES students does make a difference (Davis, 2007; Castellano, Favus, & White,2003; Patton & Davis, 1997)