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New Research on Special Education and Minority Students with Implications for Civil Rights Advocacy

By Daniel J. Losen

New research shows that racial disparities in special education identification, placement environment, and quality of services persist. The research supports arguments that subjectivity in referral and evaluation, influenced by unconscious race and ethnicity discrimination, along with poverty and deficiencies in regular education, contributes to minority overrepresentation in special education. In addition to race discrimination law, systemic challenges under disability law can stimulate improvements for large numbers of mislabeled or underserved minority children.

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