And the percentage of black students in special education varies widely among local school districts.
For instance, black students make up 76 percent of emotionally disturbed students in the Ferguson-Florissant School District, where black students account for about 62 percent of the district’s enrollment. In Parkway, black students make up about 44 percent of students diagnosed as emotionally disturbed but account for only about 17 percent of the total enrollment.
The information about local schools is based on data collected by the U.S. Office for Civil Rights for the year 2000. That information recently became available and reinforces earlier research that showed blacks are put in special education classes disproportionately across the nation. The Post-Dispatch focused on three major special education categories: mental retardation, emotional disturbance and learning disability.
The statistics come as no surprise to educators.