Equity in IDEA: New Disproportionality Regulations and Supports

The federal Office of Special Education Programs has amended the IDEA regulations relating to significant disproportionality. This disproportionality generally occurs when students of one racial or ethnic group are more likely to receive special education identification, placement in a more restrictive setting, or more discipline compared to all other students, thus denying them access to instruction and the support they need to succeed academically.

The IDEA requires the Department to promote equity by identifying and preventing significant disproportionality. Looking at disproportionality data helps ensure that the right services are getting to the right students in the right way.

New Data for Special Education Profiles

Ohio’s Special Education Profiles currently include data on disproportionality related to identification and discipline of students with disabilities. In 2016, the federal Office of Special Education Programs revised IDEA regulations, clarifying the categories of discipline events that states must review. Currently, profiles include discipline data only on out-of-school suspensions and expulsions of more than 10 cumulative days. The expanded data will include all in-school suspensions, out-of-school-suspensions and expulsions. Other new data will include total disciplinary removals, including in-school and out-of-school suspensions, expulsions and removals by school personnel and hearing officers.

The Department will share a preview of  disproportionality data, for informational purposes only, via the 2017-2018 Special Education Profiles later in the school year. Beginning in 2018-2019, districts will be accountable for significant disproportionalities in the new categories. The delay in implementation allows districts to work with the Office for Exceptional Children and their State Support Teams to examine and improve their systems of support for students with disabilities.

Implementing the New Regulations

To prepare for these changes, the Department will gather stakeholder groups to offer feedback and help design policies, practices, procedures and supports.

As you prepare your final EMIS student data, it is important to confirm the accuracy of discipline data submitted. The Department recommends special education staff work with personnel responsible for reporting discipline events to ensure accuracy of these data: 

  • Reported number of days of discipline;
  • Discipline type;
  • Race of the student; and
  • Disability condition (or lack thereof) in the student detail record.

Other Important Things to Know

During the final student reporting period, the Department will provide new “general issues” reports that identify students who will be included in the disproportionality calculations. This will give districts an opportunity to check their data for accuracy before it becomes final.

Find more information about the new disproportionality regulations here.

Last Modified: 12/5/2017 7:25:06 AM