What is Significant Disproportionality in education?
Having significant disproportionality means that students of a particular race/ethnicity are significantly more likely than their other-race peers to be identified as students with disabilities, identified in a particular disability category, placed in a particular educational setting, or suspended/expelled as a disciplinary measure. The Federal government under IDEA Section 618(d) requires that each state annually examines whether significant disproportionality based on race and ethnicity is occurring in the State and the local education agencies (LEAs) of the State and if discovered provide for the review and, if appropriate, revision of policies, practices and procedures.
These requirements stem from national historical trends that “Children with disabilities are often disproportionately and unfairly suspended and expelled from school and educated in classrooms separate from their peers. Children of color with disabilities are overrepresented within the special education population, and the contrast in how frequently they are disciplined is even starker” (U.S. Department of Education, 2016).
What is Root Cause Analysis?
Root Cause Analysis is a process school districts, regional/county organizations, and state departments of education use to identify the basis for the disproportionality. Stakeholders triangulate and analyze multiple data points to discern patterns of behavior and determine impetus for the disproportionality. From these findings, the stakeholders are able to hypothesis the problem and formulate solution-based plans.