Eitle, Tamela McNulty
Special Education or Racial Segregation: Understanding Variation in the Representation of Black Students in Educable Mentally Handicapped Programs
Montana State University
Studies the effects of local racial/political-economic structures, school district characteristics and school desegregation politics on the number and proportion of black students in educable mentally handicapped (EMH).
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 575-605
- In most of the districts (>90%) Black students were overrepresented in EMH programs. On average, Blacks were overrepresented by 86%.
- The proportion of Black students enrolled in the district and the proportion of non-Black minority students enrolled were negatively associated with the proportion of Blacks in EMH programs.
- The proportion of Black families living below poverty is positively associated with the Black student EMH program representation ratio.
- The proportion of Black households headed by a college graduate negatively affects Black student EMH representation.
- A federal or state court order to desegregate the school district is also associated with increased Black representation in the EMH program.
- School districts in the South, with a history of de jure segregation, had higher rates of Black student enrollment in EMH programs than non-southern districts.
- Racial differences in educational placements are related to structures of opportunity in school districts and the communities they serve and that the placement process should be the focus of continued study.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Desegregation, Racial Composition
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
US public school districts
Unit of Analysis:
- The study uses merged survey data from three sources: the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) 1990 Elementary and Secondary School and Local Agency Survey, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) 1990-1991 CCD Local Education Agency Universe Surveys and the NCES 1990 Census School District Special Tabulation CD-ROM.
- The sample consists of a subset of the districts selected from the OCR survey----the districts were selected using stratified random sampling.
- This study selects a subset from the sample of school districts based on the racial composition of the district.
- The final sample has 981 school districts.
- DV: Black representation in EMH (educable mentally handicapped) programs. This is measured by the proportion of Black students in EMH, relative to their proportion in the school district.
- IV: School district structural factors (district enrollment, urban/suburban, special education capacity, minority presence), Local Racial and Political-Economic Context (White and Black economic resources (poverty, median income), Black political resources (proportion of Black heads of household that are college graduates)), School desegregation politics (between-school segregation, court order to desegregate, white flight to private schools, and history of de jure segregation).