- Background: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004
- Critical Values and Beliefs about Disproportionality
- California Goals and Data
- Guidance and Resources to Identified Districts
- Guidance—Significant Disproportionality
The IDEA made many changes in how state educational agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) must now address disproportionality in special education. In the area of disproportionality, SEAs are required to do the following:
- Define, calculate, and report in the Consolidated California State Performance Plan (SPP) (DOC; 2MB; Updated 01-Jun-2010) for the state and the LEAs
- Monitor compliance
- Provide for the review and revision (if appropriate) of policies, procedures, and practices used in identification or placement of children with disabilities in LEAs
- Identify those LEAs with significant disproportionate representation and require them to use 15 percent of IDEA Part B funds for coordinated early intervening services (CEIS)
- Require the LEAs who are identified as significantly disproportionate to report on: (1) the number of students receiving CEIS in the 2013–14 school year and every year for which the LEA uses IDEA funds for CEIS; and (2) the number of students who received early intervening services, and who subsequently receive special education and related services within two years after receiving CEIS.
The California Department of Education (CDE) uses critical values and beliefs related to disproportionality in California public schools (DOC; Updated 14-Aug-2012) to support school districts and select resources. These values and beliefs are consistent with the guiding beliefs, principles, and performance benchmarks of the CDE. Relevant articles are:
- Distinguishing Difference from Disability: The Common Causes of Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education
Highlights some of the common policies, practices, and beliefs that place racial/ethnic minorities and low-income students at risk. Edward Fergus (2010) The Equity Alliance at Arizona State University.
- The Special EDge
Newsletter addressing legal, policy, and human aspects of disproportionate representation. California Department of Education (2010).
IDEA mandated each state to develop a six-year State Performance Plan (SPP) that must describe the data calculations and set measurable and rigorous targets for each of the SPP indicators following Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) instructions. These targets or goals are the following:
- Zero percent of the districts will have disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic groups in special education and related services overall (SPP Indicator 9) or in specific disability categories (intellectual disability, specific learning disability, emotional disturbance, speech or language impairment, other health impairment, autism) that is the result of inappropriate identification (SPP Indicator 10).
- No more than 10.0 percent of districts will have rates of suspensions and expulsions of children with disabilities for greater than 10 days in a school year (SPP Indicator 4a).
- Zero percent of districts will have a significant discrepancy in the rates of suspensions and expulsions for greater than 10 days in a school year of children with disabilities by race (SPP Indicator 4b).
In general, there is a data trend showing African American students are overrepresented in special education and related services while Asian students are underrepresented. These disproportions are observed using both total statewide percentage calculations and also when compared to the overall representation of students with disabilities (SPP Indicators 9 and 10).
The CDE annually identifies certain LEAs as having disproportionate representation based on a calculation methodology explained in the Annual Performance Report (APR FFY2011). Any district with noncompliant policies, procedures, or practices as a result of inappropriate identification is identified and a corrective action plan implemented.
Additionally, CDE identifies LEAs as having significant disproportionality pursuant to the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This calculation includes race or ethnicity with respect to the identification of children with disabilities; the identification of children in specific disability categories; the placement of children with disabilities in particular educational settings; or the incidence, duration, and type of disciplinary actions, including suspensions and expulsions. Calculation methodology utilizes district data for SSP Indicators 9, 10, and 4b. These LEAs are required to use 15 percent of IDEA funds for coordinated early intervening services (CEIS)
Coordinated Early Intervening Services Programmatic Improvement Process
CDE recommends that all LEAs identified as having significant disproportionality contact State Performance Plan Technical Assistance Project (SPP-TAP) staff for assistance with the Programmatic Improvement Process. More information can be found on the SPP TAP Web site .
This guidance is based upon the promising practices for improvement detailed in the national disproportionality literature and the Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) (DOC) federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED).
LEAs having significant disproportionality engage in a process for systems change designed to provide LEA and school improvement teams with the knowledge and technical expertise to develop a thorough understanding of problems, issues, and concerns in their schools, and what needs to be done to address disproportionality.
The completion of the SD-CEIS Programmatic Improvement Process involves the following phases and activities:
Phase One – Getting Started
- Activity One: Convene a leadership team and stakeholder group
- Activity Two: Complete a Comprehensive Programmatic Self-Assessment including reflective data analysis
Phase Two – Planning Phase
- Activity One: Identify targeted students
- Activity Two: Select focus areas
- Activity Three: Develop Programmatic Improvement Internal Action Plan
- Activity Four: Complete Programmatic Improvement Process Reporting Forms
Phase Three – Implementing and Sustaining
- Activity One: Implement Programmatic Improvement Internal Action Plan
- Activity Two: Assess progress and adapt Internal Action Plan as appropriate
More information about the Coordinated Early Intervening Services Programmatic Improvement Process can be found on the SPP TAP Web site