Racial Differences Show Up In Special Education Report
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 19, 2004
ALBANY, NEW YORK--A report released Tuesday by the state Board of Regents revealed that black and Hispanic students were more likely to be placed in special education programs than white students, and that they were more likely to be segregated in separate classrooms, the New York Times reported.
The report, which covered the 2002-2003 school year, found that the percentage of white children with disabilities who spent most of their day in regular classrooms was above the national average. The percentage of black and Hispanic students with disabilities in regular classes was below the national average.
Education experts and fiscal watchdogs have charged that separate special education classes have proved to be expensive and ineffective in many areas.
"Placement in an education program with nondisabled peers, or placement in a program that allows the child to engage in the general curriculum most of the time, really has payoff in terms of performance," said Richard P. Mills, the state's education commissioner.
Robert M. Bennett, the chancellor of the Board of Regents, said, "These children, under the right circumstances, can achieve."
The report was released the day after the 50th anniversary of the famous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that segregating students on the basis of race violated the U.S. Constitution.