An illuminating account of a widespread problem that has received little attention, Racial Inequity in Education sets the stage for a more fruitful discussion about special education and racial justice.
Racial inequities pervade special education in U.S. schools today. Minority children—especially African Americans—are far more likely than white children to be designated mentally retarded or emotionally disturbed and therefore in need of special education. Even when appropriately placed in special education classes, minority children often receive poorer services than disabled white children.
This book explores the inequities experienced by minority schoolchildren in special education. These issues are examined as problems in their own right, and as reflections of persistent racial inequities in our system of public education. Racial Inequity in Special Education describes the scope of these problems, and provides a comprehensive review of attempts by legislators, child advocates, and educational and civil rights enforcement agencies to address these complex issues. The authors outline essential areas for further research and dialogue.
The findings of Racial Inequity in Special Education indicate a trend with chilling implications for our education system. The overidentification of minority students in special education and the subsequent isolation, stigmatization, and inferior treatment they receive reconfirms the notion that education in America falls short of offering a level playing field for all. By compiling this body of valuable scholarship, Losen and Orfield have unearthed the contours of the problem as well as promising blueprints for resolving it. — U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
Meant to address the special needs of children with disabilities, federal and state special education laws have produced troubling racial results. This book's vital evidence and thoughtful recommendations can restore the vision of equality that should guide appropriate schooling for all children. — Martha Minow, Professor of Law, Harvard University
Racial Inequity in Special Education provides important direction, for those of us in Congress and for those in our schools. The authors show us where we need to do better to ensure equal educational opportunities for all of our students, whatever their race or socioeconomic status. Where school leadership fails to address those issues that have an adverse impact on children of color and children with disabilities, we must bolster our efforts to protect every child's civil rights. — from the foreword by U.S. Senator James Jeffords (I-VT)