New Policy Brief Calls for Reform of Special Education and Discipline Practices in Minnesota’s K-12 Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Godinez, MnEEP Associate Director 651-645-7400 ext. 203| jgodinez@mneep.org

New Policy Brief Calls for Reform of Special Education and Discipline Practices in Minnesota’s K-12 Schools

Minnesota Education Equity Partnership releases detailed brief exploring how racialized perceptions of ability and disability exclude students of color and American Indian students in Minnesota

September 5, 2018– Minnesota’s racial disparities in educational outcomes remain some of the highest in the nation. What’s more, the overrepresentation of students of color and American Indian students in special education services throughout the state continues to serve as a form of sanctioned segregation that is excluding students from their fundamental right to an education under Minnesota law.

MnEEP’s latest policy brief, “Excluded: How Race Plays a Role in Exclusionary Practices in Special Education in Minnesota,” details  how implicit bias and racialized perceptions of ability and disability lead to special education identification, placement into restrictive educational settings, and exclusionary discipline practices that negatively impact educational outcomes for students of color and American Indian students.

Key data suggest this is an issue that must be addressed to ensure these students are not excluded from their right to an education:

  • American Indian students in Minnesota are more than 4x more likely than White peers to be identified with a disability.
  • Black students are more than 6x more likely than White peers to be placed in restrictive special education.
  • Black students represent 12 percent of students with disabilities, but constitute 33 percent of physical restraint use in restrictive settings.

These exclusionary practices are a human rights violation that impact student outcomes today, and in the future. Studies show that students who experience restrictive educational settings or exclusionary discipline practices that remove them from the classroom are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school, and become involved in the juvenile justice system.

“By pointing to a disturbing interplay between race and categorizing students for K-12 special education services in our schools, we fear these students are being systemically channeled into the ‘school to prison’ pipeline,” says Carlos Mariani Rosa, MnEEP Executive Director.

“As Minnesota continues to have persistent racial disparities in school discipline outcomes, and as the Minnesota Department of Human Rights is convening school districts with the largest inequalities, this brief calls for a deeper discussion and action in Minnesota to ensure that students of color and Indigenous students do not continue to be excluded from educational opportunities in our state.”

ABOUT MNEEP

Minnesota Education Equity Partnership uses a race equity lens to transform educational institutions, organizations, and leaders to ensure that students of color and American Indian students achieve full academic and leadership success.

We envision a just society in which an equitable educational ecosystem ensures all students achieve their full potential. Achieving this vision would mean that race is no longer a predictor of educational success.

A  better Minnesota means that, together, we are committed to race equity and educational excellence for all students.

 

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