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Disproportionality (Race and Ethnicity) in Special Education

The Achievement Gap and the Discipline Gap: Two Sides of the Same Coin? (ARTICLE)

The article provides an overview of the issues surrounding racial and ethnic disproportionality in school suspensions. It is useful to practitioners that seek to complicate commonly held ideas about the effectiveness of school discipline practices.

Gregory, A., Skiba, R. J., and Noguera, P. A. “The Achievement Gap and the Discipline Gap: Two Sides of the Same Coin?” Educational Researcher, 39(1), 2010: 59-68.

The Color of Discipline: Sources of Racial and Gender Disproportionality in School Punishment (PDF)

The article explores common sources of discipline referrals in schools. It is important for practitioners to read because it highlights the role that teachers have in reducing discipline issues in schools.

Skiba, R. J. Michael, R. S., and others, “The Color of Discipline: Sources of Racial and Gender Disproportionality in School Punishment.” Urban Review, 34, 2002: 317-342.

The Context of Minority Disproportionality: Practitioner Perspectives on Special Education Referral (Article)

The article examines how the local contexts of school districts affect teacher’s perceptions of special education and students. The article is useful to practitioners because it gives insight into how teacher’s perceptions may be related to disproportionate outcomes.

Skiba, R.J., Simmons A., and others. “The Context of Minority Disproportionality: Practitioner Perspectives on Special Education Referral”. Teachers College Record. Volume 108, No. 7, 2006: 1424-1459.

The Disproportionate Placement of African American Males in Special Education Programs: A Critique of the Process (ARTICLE)

The article explores the biases that can be embedded in schools and the special education process. It is useful for practitioners who seek to understand how the many layers of the schooling process can lead to accrued disadvantage for certain groups.

Harry, B., & Anderson, M. G. “The Disproportionate Placement of African American Males in Special Education Programs: A Critique of the Process.” The Journal of Negro Education, 63, 1994: 602-619.

The Miners’ Canary: A Review of Overrepresentation Research and Explanations (PDF)

The article surveys existing research on disproportionality and outlines three common perspectives used to explain the issue. It is useful for practitioners because it shows how experts have tried to understand factors associated with disproportionality.

Waitoller, F. R., Artiles, A. J., and Cheney, D. "The Miners’ canary: A Review of Overrepresentation Research and Explanations." Journal of Special Education, 44(1), 2010:29-49

Achieving Equity in Special Education: History, Status, and Current Challenges (PDF)

The article is comprehensive in both its scope and depth in explaining disproportionality. It clearly lays out what research has said about the issue since the 1960’s and offers a thorough snapshot of current understandings of inequities in special education.

Skiba, R. J., Simmons, A. D., and others. “Achieving Equity in Special Education: History, Status, and Current Challenges.” Exceptional Children. Vol. 74, No. 3, 2008: 264-288.

Addressing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students: Overrepresentation in Special Education: Guidelines for Parents (ARTICLE)

Addresses the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education and outlines the theoretical assumptions and principles that should guide efforts to reduce the disproportionate representation of these students in special education. Janette K. Klingner et al. (2005) Education Policy Analysis Archives.

Addressing Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education: Case Studies of Suburban School Districts (ARTICLE)

The article examines how race and disability are constructed in two suburban districts that were cited for disproportionality. It is useful for practitioners because it provides insight into the root causes that are often associated with inequities in special education.

Ahram, R., Fergus, E., and Noguera, P. “Addressing Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education: Case Studies of Suburban School Districts.” Teachers College Record, 113(10), 2011: 2233-2266

Addressing the Disproportionate Representation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education through Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (PDF)

The article provides a conceptual map for understanding how policy, practice and people intersect in schools. The article is useful for practitioners that want to understand how federal mandates, school practices and the multitude of individuals in schools can coalesce into a system that improves general and special education.

Klingner, J. K., Artiles, A. and others. “Addressing the Disproportionate Representation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education through Culturally Responsive Educational Systems.” Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13(38), 2005: 1-41.

Annotated Checklist for Addressing Racial Disproportionality in Special Education (DOC)

Provides three checklists that address 1) district and school resource issues; 2) system policy, procedure, and practice issues at district, school, and classroom levels; and 3) environmental factors, all designed to aid in efforts to identify possible root causes of disproportionality and to help districts develop hypotheses and action plans for more detailed explorations of racial disproportionality. Daniel J. Losen (2008) Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.