Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

MS in Special Education




The research study addresses the overrepresentation of African American students in special education in an urban setting. This study analyzed the reasons why African American students were overrepresented in special education from the perspective of parents/guardians who have a child classified, as well as from the perspective of teachers and administrators, who work in an urban elementary school. To gather data for this study, I interviewed seven parents/guardians, three teachers, and two administrators. Based upon a careful analysis of the interviews, it was found that parents/guardians, as well as teachers and administrators, acknowledge that African American students are more greatly represented in special education than other groups; however, parents/guardians cited different reasons for the overrepresentation than teachers and administrators. The findings of this study has implications for urban districts as it is necessary for administrators and teachers to address student needs through varying options prior to classifying students.

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