By Staff –
The Rochester City School District Board of Education has announced an action plan to address the disparate number of black and Hispanic children who may have been inappropriately placed in special education classes.
Earlier this year, the district commissioned a special report in order to identify the problems within special ed.
Judy Elliott, the independent consultant who authored the report, found “the district lacks culturally informed practices to promote equity in access for students of all races/ethnicities. This can be addressed through sustained and thoughtful professional learning opportunities that inform the relationship between teaching, learning, and cultural context in the planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating academic and behavior instruction for students from diverse backgrounds.”
The report also found that black students, in either general or special education classes, were more likely to be suspended than other students in the programs, and that disparate numbers of Hispanic students had been classified as having learning disabilities.
White students were most likely to be identified with autism.
As a result, the district said it plans to create a centralized team to conduct an ongoing review of the program, including all new referrals and external placements within the special education program, and also to develop a “culturally relevant curriculum” by creating new teaching and learning teams within the district.
The district has recently hired Sandy Simpson as its new chief of special education, in order to oversee the program.
In addition, the school board said it plans to develop a full strategy to re-evaluate the program within the next two months.
Visit http://www.demarleinc.com/RCSD%20Special%20Education%20Report%20FINAL%206-8-17.pdf to view Elliott’s full report.