Equity in Special Education Placement, Services, and Outcomes
WHEREAS, despite federal mandates required through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), years of research indicate persistent inequities in special education placement, services, and outcomes for marginalized student groups, including students with disabilities, African American, Indigenous, and Latina/o/x students; and
WHEREAS, African American students are disproportionately identified as having high-incidence disabilities (e.g., learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disabilities/disorders, intellectual/cognitive disabilities), which are more prone to the subjective influence of persons responsible for referral and identification; and
WHEREAS, despite the documented benefit of maximizing least restrictive environment (LRE) through inclusive settings, African American students are disproportionately placed in more restrictive special education settings that drastically minimize adequate and favorable instructional experiences, thereby reducing positive instructional outcomes such as content mastery, entry to and success in postsecondary and career and technical education, and sustainable employment; and
WHEREAS, African American students are disproportionately subject to zero-tolerance discipline practices and related consequences including but not limited to reduced instructional time; increased physical, mental, and emotional trauma; exposure to the preschool to prison pipeline; interaction with carceral systems; and minimized access to college entry and career and technical education, and sustainable employment; and
WHEREAS, educational stakeholders committed to the realization of equitable and quality instruction for all students must consider issues of disproportionate identification, placement, and discipline for impacted student groups; the conflation of disability with adverse child experiences (ACEs), and other environmental trauma; the relationship between special educator shortages and subpar instructional experiences for students; and the impact of inequity and disproportionality in special education on all student groups and educational progress at large.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls on the current Administration and related federal agencies, such as the United States Departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agencies and Housing and Urban Development, to attend to the adverse environmental factors that reduce optimal learning experiences for marginalized student groups and the proliferation of inequity in special education.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports the full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as well as increased federal funding for teacher preparation and related programs.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP shall convey this Resolution to federal and state legislators, the United States Secretary of Education, and State Heads or Commissioners of Education.