Crossing the Line: Exploring Equity in Special Education Across the United States

Key Takeaways from Frontline Research & Learning Institute Research Report Series

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The goal of the Frontline Research & Learning Institute “Crossing the Line” series is to provide actionable insights that provoke discussions about how states and local districts equitably address special education.

Jo Ann Hanrahan
Director, Research & Data Analysis, Frontline Education
Tom Reap
Executive Director of Special Education and Intervention, Frontline Education

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Policy has long been attributed to transforming special education across states and local districts. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education repealed several guidance and regulatory documents and released final regulations to promote equity in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These new regulations seek to address the wide disparities that are known to exist in how minority special education students are identified, placed and disciplined. Whether or not these final regulations remain intact is still in question as the U.S. Department of Education calls for further review. The timing of this research series and corresponding briefs presents a key opportunity for us to take a deeper look at equity across all domains.

Our goal is to engage states and local districts in assessing and initiating discussions of how special education equity reflects decision-making and practices related to the implementation of policy, the allocation of resources and the provision of services and professional development. To foster this dialogue, the Equity Roadmap presents a framework for examining the contributing factors explored throughout this research series at local, regional or state levels.

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How are special education students classified and educated? How do different factors contribute to over- and under-classification? How are we evaluating our efforts at all levels, and how do we know if we, as a nation, are achieving special education equity and excellence across and within state lines?

  the image below to explore the survey results.


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