Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Sue Carbary


In school systems across the United States, disproportionality in special education along racial and ethnic lines is not merely a problem of overrepresentation or underrepresentation, but misrepresentation. African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are given incorrect diagnoses, disproportionate educational designations, and inappropriate placements. The key factors behind disproportionality include racial bias among educators and other service providers, socio-economic status, substandard early childhood environments, and family composition. Inappropriate special education placements can lead to increased rates of school dropout, poor academic achievement, lower-paying jobs, and juvenile crime. Therefore disproportionality is not a problem confined to the education system, it is of crucial significance to negative cycles perpetuated in African American, Hispanic, and Native American communities. Solutions aimed at this issue must include partnership building in communities, improved access to information and advocacy, higher awareness among education professionals, and efficacious early education programs for at risk communities.


Early childhood special and general education dual degree with Columbia University School of Social Work (Program of study)

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