Erin H. Ryan
University of Massachusetts Boston
After conducting thorough research through various sources, findings reveal that Latino students are significantly overrepresented in special education. This research paper specifically focuses on an ongoing case study in the Boston Public School system. Boston is a premiere example as the Latino student population is the largest in the state (A GOOD STAT THAT SHOWS SIGNIFCANT NUMBERS IN BPS AND CONTINUING TO GROW).
The research investigates why BPS Latino students are overrepresented in special education. Findings reveal X, Y, Z. (CITE SOURCES). By examining these statistics, there appears to be a strong correlation between X Y Z, and the overrepresentation of Latinos in Boston. With a continuing enrollment in the school system, BPS educators must continuously be proactive in being effective educators to this demographic. Fortunately, BPS has seen an improvement in MCAS scores across the board from SY 2006-2009 (CITE WITH NUMBERS). This appears to positively correlate with implementation of increased SEI, ESL, Dual-Lingual, (ADD ALL PROGRAMS-BPS WEBSITE) and Bilingual programs across the district. However, the gap between Latino and Caucasian achievement is still significantly high (HAVE NUMBER) and teachers must expand on resources. Additional educator solutions include X, Y, Z. These are additional ideas to improve the system through personal experience and research findings. Although not all statistically proven, several external case studies indicate additional solutions can be effective for Latinos and are not limited to these solutions. Note this research is only focused on one population and not other minority groups like ASIANS. **
Future exploratory research on X, Y, Z by providing effective, measureable results can convince more educators to use these tactics. Lastly, with the help of key stakeholders such as the community, families, and the government; educators can collaboratively ensure success to all of their students.
Keywords: Latino, Special Education, Overrepresented, Culture, and Language
Title: Overrepresentation of BPS Latino Students in Special Education
Latinos now represent the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States’ schools. It is especially important to note Latinos in the Boston Public Schools. BPS is the largest district in Massachusetts and enrolls the largest number of Latino students than any other district in the state. Not only do Latinos represent the largest minority demographic, but also were the only subgroup to represent a 9% enrollment increase for the district’s 2006-2009 school year. On the other hand, nearly one in five BPS Latinos are special education students (BPS STATS/FIGURES). State MCAS scores also reveal that Latino students have the next to lowest passing rate overall of 73.5% (ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT LATINOS BPS).
Knowing these figures, BPS educators must pay close attention to this ever growing demographic and investigate if there are other factors (both internal and external) for this overrepresentation. Out of the special education BPS Latino students, 2/3 are identified with having a communication or specific learning disability (BPS STATS/FIGURES). This could indicate there are some externalities affecting their academic performance. In addition, educators can examine what the district is doing to improve this disparity to see where there are deficits and provide additional initiatives to implement to help the future.
Socioeconomic status among Boston Latino families is significant to note (although it should not be the only factor that correlates with student performance). Research indicates Hispanic students in metro Boston attend public, primary schools with a poverty rate of 65%, which is 3.8 times of non-Hispanic White students and they are more likely to attend concentrated poverty schools (HARVARD RESEARCH). In fact, of