Disproportionate Representation of Minority Students in Special Education

The purpose of this thesis is to present the history of minority students in special education. This study is especially significant since the population if language minority students, whose native languages are other than English, is increasing. Along with the increase, there has also been an increased number of minority students becoming eligible for special education services. There are thirteen different categories to which an individual can be eligible for special education: however, in my current practice, I have seen three areas that are over-represented by minority students. Those three areas are Mental Retardation (MR), Emotional Disturbance (ED), and Specific Learning Disability (SLD). This thesis will examine the federal laws affecting school districts’ legal obligations with respect to minority children and additionally discuss the issues of the disproportionate representation of minority students in Special Education. In this study, the guiding question is: with such a disproportionate representation if minority students in special education, what laws have been created to implement change, and what can schools do in order to reduce the ethnic over representation?