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Are There Too Many or Too Few Black and Latino Children in Special-Education Classes?

Is special education racist? That was the question posed in a recent New York Times op-ed by two researchers who claimed their study overturned 40 years of thought on the topic. Conventional wisdom has always held that, for decades, African American children have been overrepresented in special education. Some claim this has been in part due to a racially biased educational system that relegates kids of color to classes where less is expected of them.

But Paul Morgan and George Farkas’s report argues that there aren’t too many minority children in special education. In fact, there might not be enough, according to their findings.

The report has triggered responses from professors and other academics across the country. Even civil-rights lawyers and the federal government have grumbled about the report’s claims.