Fact: Inequities in special education exist for students of color, students from low socio-economic levels, and students with disabilities.
These disparities occur because certain racial and ethic groups are inaccurately identified and placed in more restrictive settings. Inappropriate IDEA assessment then leads to less rigorous academics and harsher discipline measures in more restrictive environments. Fast forward, a widening disparity of outcomes for students with disabilities and students of color results in less rigorous educational opportunities and fewer postsecondary options. We need to value and embrace diversity within inclusion environments in school, at home, and in communities.
As per suffragist, Mary T. Lathrap, we better understand another person if we walk a mile in his or her moccasins. Student diversity is rapidly increasing, yet teacher diversity is not. Diversity exists. Diversity is not adversity. Professionals can spin negative and skewed viewpoints into positive perspectives. This means we increase awareness of what to do, what not to do, and what to do better. This rings true for administrators, general and special educators, related service providers, families, and students. Yes, they can, and yes we will learn and do more to address disproportionality in special education!
Universal design for learning (UDL), positive behavioral interventions and support(PBIS), multi-tier systems of support (MTSS) and culturally responsive teaching (CRT) are just a few of the EBP. In my professional development seminars, I often share, “It’s okay not to know, but it’s not okay to stay that way!” Here are a few links that I invite you to click to learn more about the evidence-based practices.
Never Marginalize, ALWAYS Embrace!
Time, fidelity, and realistic specific feedback moves everyone forward! No group or individual can, nor should marginalize and/or limit any student’s future potential based on his or her disability label, culture, race, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual preference, or place of birth. Equity is not the same as equality. When educational professionals embrace difference, then disproportionality in schools is erased. Together we learn; together we grow. Tomorrow belongs to everyone.