Today LDF’s Education Group submitted a letter to the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) on racial disparities related to the identification, placement, and discipline of children of color with disabilities.  Our letter responded to a request for recommendations for action the Department should take to remedy these disparities. 

LDF’s key recommendations include urging the Department to:

  • Create a uniform national standard for significant disproportionality to ensure that racial or ethnic disparities in special education are identified and states are held accountable;
  • Ensure that 15 percent of IDEA funding for districts showing significant disproportionality is appropriately targeted to help students with disabilities most impacted by disparities, such as training for educators; and
  • Address factors, such as systemic racism, biased testing, lack of cultural competency, exclusion of parents from the placement process, and resource inequities that contribute to racial disparities in special education.

The complete LDF letter to OSERS is online here.

In addition, LDF’s Education Group today also submitted a letter to OSERS on behalf of the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC)– an umbrella campaign of 84 organizations from 22 states focused on discipline reform.  LDF is the federal facilitator for DSC and spearheads their federal policy work. 

LDF’s key recommendations on behalf of DSC include urging the Department to address discipline disparities for children of color with disabilities by:

  • Consulting with researchers, parents, advocates, discipline reform organizations, students, policymakers, and school administrators to develop a workable and transparent national standard to accurately identify and remedy discipline disparities. 
  • Once a national standard is finalized, work with districts identified as having significant disparities to properly implement culturally responsive interventions to remedy such disparities.

The complete LDF letter to OSERS on behalf of DSC is online here.