Distinguished Professor George Farkas presented his latest research findings at the Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) group in Sacramento on August 13. The meeting title was PACE Policy Research Panel on Special Education: Organizing Schools to Serve Students with Disabilities. The meeting objective was to develop a policy and research agenda for how policy in California can enable schools to better support students with disabilities.
The title of Farkas' presentation was "Equitable and Appropriate Identification and Support."
In 1968, special education scholar Lloyd Dunn argued that African American and other racial or ethnic minority group students were overrepresented in the U.S. special education system. In the 50 years since, the inclusion of a higher share of minority than White students in special education programs has largely been attributed to systemic bias in the identification of disabilities in U.S. schoolchildren, including institutionalized racism and purposeful segregation by teachers and other school personnel. In 2012, Jamila Codrington and Halford H. Fairchild of the Association of Black Psychologists further charged that this minority overrepresentation was part of the “school-to-prison pipeline.” As African American and other non-White parents are urged to refuse permission for schools to provide special education services for their children, the federal government has conducted civil rights investigations and instituted federal education legislation and regulations mandating that school districts report and address significant minority group overrepresentation in special education. The U.S. Department of Education (DoE) planned to expand compliance monitoring requirements, but recently delayed the effort, partially in response to empirical work we published with colleagues in 2010, 2015, and 2017. In these studies, we find that, among otherwise similar U.S. students, it is actually White students who are much more likely to be identified as having disabilities and to receive special education services.
Read full paper here.