Parsing the Relations of Race and Socioeconomic Status in Special Education Disproportionality

Published on May 1, 2017in Remedial and Special Education
· DOI :10.1177/0741932516671199
Aleksis Kincaid4
Estimated H-index: 4
(UMN: University of Minnesota),
Amanda L. Sullivan18
Estimated H-index: 18
(UMN: University of Minnesota)
This study investigated how student and school-level socioeconomic status (SES) measures predict students’ odds of being identified for special education, particularly high-incidence disabilities. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten cohort, hierarchical models were used to determine the relations of student and school SES to special education identification. Results indicated neither student-level SES variables for parent education, prestige, and income, nor school-level aggregates of SES measures, predicted overall special education placement, but higher parent education attainment was negatively related to high-incidence disability identification (adjusted odds ratio = 0.73). These findings suggest that racial disproportionality is not attributable to racial differences in income and indicate a need for further investigation of the mechanisms by which the longstanding racial disparities in special education emerge and are maintained. In particular, we discuss the implications of th...
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