What are Special Populations?
Special populations, as defined by Perkins IV are:
- Individuals with disabilities
- Individuals from economically disadvantaged families, including foster children
- Individuals preparing for nontraditional training and employment
- Single parents, including single pregnant women
- Displaced homemakers
- Individuals with other barriers to educational achievement, including individuals with limited English proficiency
The California Department of Education (CDE) follows the Perkins IV mandates to serve special populations and document the achievement of each group to achieve establish performance levels. Areas of achievement relate to Career Technical Education program completion, earning twelfth grade diplomas, placement of twelfth graders following program completion, nontraditional program enrollment, and nontraditional career program completion. For details on reporting refer to the CDE Perkins Web page.
The CDE support for special populations is primarily delivered through regional workshops and annual statewide leadership training, via the CDE and Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges partnership, the Joint Special Populations Advisory Committee (JSPAC). Currently, all training is free and includes nationally developed materials, specifically addressed to special populations. All of the events are posted on the JSPAC web site throughout the year. Also, there is the SERVE (Sex Equity Resources in Vocational Education) Library that lends resources related to special populations to educators and others at no cost. Another useful item is a no cost online course that specifically addresses one of the special populations categories, nontraditional careers. National leadership for states related to special populations is available from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity.