Disproportionality is the over-representation of a specific group in special education programs or disciplinary outcomes relative to the presence of this group in the overall student population, and/or, the under-representation of a specific group in accessing intervention services, resources, programs, rigorous curriculum and instruction relative to the presence of this group in the overall student population.
Our groups are commonly identified by race, economics and special education.
Our district is committed to ensuring equity which is when everyone has access to the opportunities necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being and reach full potential. Superintendent Larry Spring often states that his mission is to ensure that race, economics and disability will no longer be predictors of student achievement.
While the district is not intentionally producing inequitable outcomes, data shows that our student outcomes are disproportionate when it comes to special education and non-white students. This implies that inequity is sustained because either opportunities that can be provided are not or systems of inequity go unchallenged or unquestioned.
School and district leaders are currently working with the New York University Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools to understand what disproportionality is and how it relates to our student outcomes and then to explore the root causes and to address disproportionality in practice.
We know that in order to begin fixing disproportionality, we must take a close look at it. We've spent months studying data and working to bring awareness and support in addressing it.
NYU is guiding the district through a process using a 4-phase Equity-Based Culturally Responsive approach to identify the root causes of disproportionate outcomes and the development of a sustainable plan that will begin to eliminate racial disproportionality in special education and discipline.