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Addressing Disproportionality Resources

Disproportionality refers to the “overrepresentation” and “underrepresentation” of a particular demographic group in special education programs relative to the presence of this group in the overall student population.

The START Project is presenting regional trainings to address the impact of the overidentification of specific racial and ethnic groups for special education.

Overrepresentation of Students of Color in Special Education & Disciplinary Actions
 The results of decades of research consistently show that students of color, particularly African American students (and even more so for those with disabilities), are at significantly increased risk for exposure to exclusionary discipline practices, including office discipline referrals and suspensions.

 (e.g., Fabelo et al., 2011; Losen & Gillespie, 2012; Shaw & Braden, 1990)
This is known as Disproportionality, which represents one of the most significant problems in education today at the local and at the national level.

Join us for a discussion and activities to: 

  • Understand Disproportionality, what it is and how it effects our students and communities
  • Understand the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports framework and how it can be implemented to address disproportionality
  • Gain tools to address different behaviors
  • Learn what parents/parent leaders can do to address disproportionality in their schools



Moving your Numbers: Parent Guide- Examines how school districts increase the performance of students with disabilities as part of whole-district reform efforts.

Disproportionality of Minorities in Special Education- This video gives some specific statistics of over and under-representation of minority groups in special education.

Addressinging Over-Representation of African American Students in Special Education- Approaches that researchers and experienced practitioners recommend may be undertaken to prevent the over-representation of African American students.

Truth in Labeling: Disproportionality in Special Education- This guide provide educators with basic information about the nature and causes of disproportionality.

Council for Children with Behavioral Disorder's position summary on Federal Policy on Disproportionality in Special EducationThis document provides policy recommendations regarding disproportionality in special education and the need for federal policy driving state regulations to support efforts to eliminate this outcome in schools. 

Resources to Address Disproportionality- Visit the Center for Parent Information and Resourse to download the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs Disproportionality slide show presentation, trainers guide and handouts.

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