Special Education Eligibility Identification Rates in Texas: A Comparative Analysis of Rural and Urban School Districts
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Special education policy impacts education equity. More specifically, special education policy surrounding the identification of students with disabilities and the provision of instructional support services to students identified as having a disability has experienced critical public attention and landmark federal and state mandates for reform over the past four academic years in the state of Texas. This article consults publicly available statewide data to assess the impact legislative amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has had on urban and rural school districts located in the state of Texas. Using a two-tiered multilevel statistical analyses, changes in discrete special education eligibility categories are studied and trends in special education identification rates in rural and urban schools are compared. This investigation highlights disparities in special education identification rates between schools located in rural and urban areas. Implications for special education assessment practices, rural special education support and education policy are discussed.