Monday, November 22, 2010

Racial Disparity in N.J.'s Special Ed Classes

The federal law that created the nation's special-education system grew out of the civil-rights movement in the 1960s. But even when districts follow the law, racial disparities can occur.
Nationally, black students are far more likely to be placed in special education than white students.
While 15 percent of U.S. students are black, they represent more than 20 percent of students classified with specific learning disabilities, nearly 30 percent of those in the emotional-disturbance category and 33 percent of those classified with mental retardation, according to 2006 federal education statistics.
In New Jersey, 16 percent of the students in the state are black, yet 20 percent of black students are in special education. In 2007, the latest year available, there were 236,476 total black students and 46,787 were in special ed.

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