Perceptions of California educators on factors related to the overrepresentation of ethnic populations in special education

This study included the interviews of 10 public school personnel. Participants consisted of four support staff and six general education elementary school teachers. Each member of the study was asked a series of questions to better understand the discrepancies of certain ethnic populations in special education. Participants were encouraged to share honest beliefs contributing to and combating this problem in their local elementary school and individual classroom. Their answers were then compiled and examined to identify common themes present throughout all interviews. Results revealed that teachers interviewed knew many perceived solutions to the overrepresentation of ethnic populations in special education. Common themes were: parent communication, student support teams, collaboration, teacher training in differentiated methodology, high expectations for students, increased motivation, and school-wide intervention programs. Key Words: Ethnic overrepresentation, special education, effective interventions, pre-referral