The State of Educational Inclusion for Minority Students with Disabilities




Beanland, Brooke

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Special education (SPED) in the United States is an integral aspect of the public education system as seven million students qualify and receive services under the special education umbrella. With such a vast number of students receiving services, it is vital to critically analyze how special education is serving students from varying backgrounds. Minority students have historically been disadvantaged in the education system, and investigating how special education is serving this population of students is necessary to ensure equal opportunity for each child within SPED. While previous studies have looked at one aspect of minority students’ experience in special education, a holistic approach has not been taken. In this literature review, a holistic analysis is conducted on minority students’ (1) differential placement within special education models, (2) extent of parental involvement, and (3) differential outcomes once within the special education program. These three factors collectively contribute to the overall experience minority students have in special education. Analysis suggests that minority students are not placed in high inclusion models at the same rate as non-minority students, and parents of minority students face heightened challenges with involvement which restricts the extent to which the parent can serve as an equal partner on the individual education program (IEP) team. The results of this study are beneficial to policy makers as it entails a more encompassing analysis of the state of special education for minority students and will guide future improvements to ensure that special education is serving every child equally and effectively.


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