We investigated whether minority children attending U.S. elementary and middle schools are disproportionately represented in special education. We did so using hazard modeling of multiyear longitudinal data and extensive covariate adjustment for potential child-, family-, and state-level confounds. Minority children were consistently less likely than otherwise similar White, English-speaking children to be identified as disabled and so to receive special education services. From kindergarten entry to the end of middle school, racial- and ethnic-minority children were less likely to be identified as having (a) learning disabilities, (b) speech or language impairments, (c) intellectual disabilities, (d) health impairments, or (e) emotional disturbances. Language-minority children were less likely to be identified as having (a) learning disabilities or (b) speech or language impairments.
English Learners with Special Needs