African-American children are traditionally overrepresented in special education. Now, one group is poised to do something about it.
The National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities is teaming up with federal education officials to train parents across the country to effectively advocate for kids. The goal, they say, is to ensure that students are labeled appropriately by their school districts and receive the services they need.
Statistics show that African-American children account for about 16.6 percent of students enrolled in the nation’s public schools. But they represent 31 percent of students identified as having intellectual disability and 28 percent of those with emotional disturbance, the association found.
The initiative will include a partnership with the U.S. Department of Education’s parent training centers and other groups to help disseminate information specifically to assist parents of African-American children. Those behind the effort say they expect to train 20 master teachers who will then reach 900 parent leaders through in-person trainings and another 240 through online sessions.
“This project will start a movement of parents that are not solely dependent upon the school system for their children’s success but will allow them to discover how to work with schools in order to achieve academic success based on learning style,” said Nancy Tidwell, president of the National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities.