ERIC Number: ED462487
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
On the Nexus of Race, Disability, and Overrepresentation: What Do We Know? Where Do We Go? On Point...Brief Discussions of Critical Issues in Urban Education.
Meyer, Gwen; Patton, James M.
The ethnic overrepresentation of students in special education programs has been recognized for decades. African Americans tend to be significantly over-represented in disability categories and underrepresented in gifted programs. While Hispanics and Native Americans are not over-represented in special education programs, they are in certain regions of the country and experience similar conditions and outcomes as African Americans. Latino students are more likely to be over-represented in special education when their proportion of a district's diverse student body increases. Poor children also are over-represented. This paper summarizes research on probable causes of disproportionate representation, including race, culture, class, gender, socioeconomic status, stereotypes, and definitions of disability. In some schools, systemic factors related to teacher effectiveness, biased perceptions, and student opportunities influence overrepresentation. Location, school size, services available, urbanicity, and specific disability also influence educational practices, as do inadequate and inappropriate referral, assessment, and evaluation procedures. Ineffective teaching can result in underachievement. Many minority students are labeled disabled because schools cannot support them in ways that help them succeed. Many people try to simplify the complex variables associated with culture by calling it cultural difference, which leads to perpetuation of myths and false assumptions. Six suggestions for improving this situation include engaging educators in cultural self-assessment and expanding the race, disability, and overrepresentation conversation to include families and communities. (Contains 53 references.) (SM)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, American Indians, Black Students, Cultural Differences, Disabilities, Disproportionate Representation, Elementary Secondary Education, Hispanic American Students, Labeling (of Persons), Minority Group Children, Racial Differences, Racial Discrimination, Special Education, Underachievement
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Education Development Center, Newton, MA. National Inst. for Urban School Improvement.