Highlighted in the report is the fact that children of color are often overrepresented in special education programs, particularly American Indian, Alaska Native, and African-American boys who are disproportionately identified as having an “emotional disturbance”
“We need to study and bring more awareness to the reasons why children are being placed in special education programs and whether alternative forms of behavioral management and training for teachers should be employed before placement decisions are made,” the report states.
In fact, the report specifically recommends “studying and developing effective implementation models focused on ensuring the appropriate placement of children in special education programs.” To do this, the report suggests soliciting public input on how to best address identification of students for special education; and collaboration between the U.S. Department of Education and stakeholders to scale up and implement research-based strategies that improve K-3 literacy and behavior, including implementation of models to ensure children are not misdiagnosed and inappropriately placed in special education programs.
Prepared by a presidential task force, the report lists six focus areas that aim to provide interventions at key points in a young person’s life:
- Getting a healthy start and entering school ready to learn
- Reading at grade level by third grade
- Graduating from high school ready for college and career
- Completing postsecondary education or training
- Entering the workforce
- Reducing violence and giving kids a second chance