Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brown v. Board of Education: IDEA Disproportionality - How Far Have We Come?

May marked the fifty-six anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, and while there has been some progress we still have a long way to go. In 1954 Thurgood Marshall argued before the Supreme Court against the false concept of “separate but equal”.  He had no idea that some twenty years later in 1975 his civil rights work, which lead to the results in Brown v. Board of Education, would inspire families of children with disabilities across the United States to push for a law that included their children: P.L. 94.142 The Education of all Handicapped Children Act – 1975, renamed in 1990 to The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) P.L. 101-476.

Like Brown v. Board of education, the hopes and dreams of some parents of children with disabilities who receive services under IDEA have not been realized. Separate settings, low graduation rates, high incident classifications, minimal access to the general education curriculum, and more suspensions and expulsions from school for students of color have created what is known in special education as Disproportionality.  To find out more about Disproportionality and what the research says needs to be done, read "The Truth in Labeling, Disproportionality in Special Education. Tell us what you think about the report and how far we have come since Brown v. Board of Education. We'd love to hear your comments!
Cassandra Archie – MPC Staff

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