Disparate access: The disproportionality of African American students with disabilities across educational environments

Russell J. Skiba, Lori Poloni-Staudinger, Sarah Gallini, Ada B. Simmons, Renae Peggins-Azziz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

105 Scopus citations


This study investigated the extent to which the overrepresentation of African American students in more restrictive special education settings is attributable to their overrepresentation in disability categories more likely to be served in more restrictive educational environments. Within 5 disability categories (emotional disturbance, mild mental retardation, moderate mental retardation, learning disabilities, and speech and language), African American students were overrepresented in more restrictive educational environments and underrepresented in less restrictive environments relative to all other students with the same disability. Disproportionality was most evident in those disability categories served primarily in general education settings. Given the social consensus regarding inclusion, disproportionality in restrictiveness of educational environment may represent a more serious challenge than disproportionality in disability categories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-424
Number of pages14
JournalExceptional Children
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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