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Federal Gov. to Stop Black Kids From Being Disproportionately Put in Special Ed

By Victor Trammell

The White House is currently embarking on a mission to curb the rate that black children are placed in special education within the nation’s the public schools systems.

Very recently, the U.S. Department of Education released a comprehensive proposal, which seeks to standardize the special education placement process, according to Education Week.

Right now, U.S. states have their own process of finding out “significant disproportionality” when implementing placement of students in special education programs. Education Week reported that administrators within the U.S. Department of Education believe that more states would fall under such a category when the Obama Administration’s new rules are put into place.

This is a big deal because currently the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)  mandates that U.S. public school districts must conserve 15 percent of the federal funds they receive for special education students.

Education Week additionally reported that the 2013 U.S. Government Accountability Report revealed that just two percent of all the nation’s public school districts admitted that black and other minority students are disproportionately represented in special education. This 2013 federal report also revealed the following:

Among the almost 15,000 school districts nationwide that received IDEA funding in school year 2010-11, states required 356 (2.4 percent) districts to use these funds for early intervening services due to significant disproportionality. This represents a 12 percent decrease from the previous school year when 405 school districts were required to provide these services. Over half of the districts required to provide services in both school years were concentrated in five states—Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, and Rhode Island—with 73 districts located in Louisiana alone in school year 2010-11. Twenty-one states did not require any of their districts to provide services.” (

A sizable amount of the nation’s school districts obviously have problems with accurately representing the levels of racial disparities present in their special education programs. This sentiment is also shared by acting Education Secretary John B. King Jr.

“The data we’ve seen makes it very clear that we, as a country, are not living up to the intent of the law,” King is quoted as saying to Education Week.

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