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Bridging the gap: Documenting Clinton School District's (CSD's) journey addressing racial/ethnic disproportion in special education.

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The disproportionate placement of racial/ethnic minorities in special education has been long standing achievement gap for over thirty years. In this qualitative study, CSD's 10 year effort to address this issue is documented.;To study the development of CSD's efforts to address racial/ethnic disproportionality, Bronfenbrenner's ecological framework (1979) and Distributed The disproportionate placement of racial/ethnic minorities in special education has been long standing achievement gap for over thirty years. In this qualitative study, CSD's 10 year effort to address this issue is documented.;To study the development of CSD's efforts to address racial/ethnic disproportionality, Bronfenbrenner's ecological framework (1979) and Distributed Leadership are used. This study looks at the steps CSD applied to address the disproportionate placement of African Americans and Native Americans in special education. This study explored the resources (human, economic, and cultural) CSD was using to address disproportion. Consultants and partnerships, the State Education Agency (SEA), government policy through No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and societal views on education and race were also analyzed to assess the impact of these contexts on CSD's efforts.;Findings reveal that CSD has made great strides in understanding the research base around racial/ethnic disproportion in special education. Although they have lowered the rates of disproportion for ail racial/ethnic groups over time, they still struggle to lower the rates of racial/ethnic disproportion in special education for Native Americans, and even more so for African Americans. Even though there were challenges, the consultants and partnerships were supportive in helping CSD deal with disproportion. The SEA helped CSD deal with disproportion by giving them funding for programming and supported CSD in working on their improvement plan as related to disproportion. Unfortunately, the SEA is constrained in their efforts by the government and its educational policies. The study also found that NCLB and IDEA are causing challenges for the SEA and subsequent challenges for CSD in addressing disproportion. Societal issues such as lack of health care for all and racism are negatively affecting the districts efforts to deal with disproportion. Overall, the varying contexts surrounding the district support and constrain CSD's efforts to address disproportion. Only time will tell if CSD is able to mediate their challenges and if these varying contexts can work more cohesively with CSD in effectively resolving this achievement gap.


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The disproportionate placement of racial/ethnic minorities in special education has been long standing achievement gap for over thirty years. In this qualitative study, CSD's 10 year effort to address this issue is documented.;To study the development of CSD's efforts to address racial/ethnic disproportionality, Bronfenbrenner's ecological framework (1979) and Distributed The disproportionate placement of racial/ethnic minorities in special education has been long standing achievement gap for over thirty years. In this qualitative study, CSD's 10 year effort to address this issue is documented.;To study the development of CSD's efforts to address racial/ethnic disproportionality, Bronfenbrenner's ecological framework (1979) and Distributed Leadership are used. This study looks at the steps CSD applied to address the disproportionate placement of African Americans and Native Americans in special education. This study explored the resources (human, economic, and cultural) CSD was using to address disproportion. Consultants and partnerships, the State Education Agency (SEA), government policy through No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and societal views on education and race were also analyzed to assess the impact of these contexts on CSD's efforts.;Findings reveal that CSD has made great strides in understanding the research base around racial/ethnic disproportion in special education. Although they have lowered the rates of disproportion for ail racial/ethnic groups over time, they still struggle to lower the rates of racial/ethnic disproportion in special education for Native Americans, and even more so for African Americans. Even though there were challenges, the consultants and partnerships were supportive in helping CSD deal with disproportion. The SEA helped CSD deal with disproportion by giving them funding for programming and supported CSD in working on their improvement plan as related to disproportion. Unfortunately, the SEA is constrained in their efforts by the government and its educational policies. The study also found that NCLB and IDEA are causing challenges for the SEA and subsequent challenges for CSD in addressing disproportion. Societal issues such as lack of health care for all and racism are negatively affecting the districts efforts to deal with disproportion. Overall, the varying contexts surrounding the district support and constrain CSD's efforts to address disproportion. Only time will tell if CSD is able to mediate their challenges and if these varying contexts can work more cohesively with CSD in effectively resolving this achievement gap.

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