As many throughout the United States recognize and celebrate Black History Month this year, it is important to shed light on the critical need to create environments where young leaders and modern history makers can thrive.
Black culture and achievements continue to play a critical role in how we live, work and play today. However, many students and future leaders face challenging circumstances that hinder optimal performance due to the lack of understanding and resources provided to those with learning disabilities and attention issues.
Research conducted by the National Center for Learning Disabilities—Significant Disproportionality in Special Education: Trends Among Black Students—points explicitly to inequities in education for students of color, students impacted by poverty, and students with disabilities. These inequities and biases include but are not limited to the following*:
- Black students are often misidentified as having a disability and placed in more restrictive settings, and experience harsher discipline because of the intersectionality of race and special education.
- While overrepresented in special education, Black students are woefully underrepresented in advanced courses.
- Black students represent 16% of elementary school enrollment, but only 9% of Black students are in gifted and talented programs.
- One in four Black boys with disabilities are suspended each year, compared to only one in ten White boys with disabilities.
At NCLD, we believe all students deserve a right to quality education no matter their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
This Black History Month, we encourage you to advocate for policies and practices that will ensure each child is considered an individual with their own unique set of gifts, talents, and circumstances. You can take action and contact your members of Congress to support key issues and/or donate today to help dismantle inequitable systems and recognize the potential of students of color with learning disabilities with your support.
*Learn more about NCLD’s research regarding the Significant Disproportionality in Special Education: Trends Among Black Students here.
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