Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Stephen Kotok

Second Advisor

Erin Fahle

Third Advisor

Joan Birringer-Haig


This study examined special education numbers for public school populations of White, Black, and Hispanic students in New York State and factors hypothesized to contribute to identification and subsequent disproportionality of minority students in special education. Data from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CDRC), combined with data from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) for New York state public schools in the academic school year of 2015-2016 are evaluated. Histograms of the percent difference in IDEA status of White and Black/Hispanic students are considered to identify if there is disproportionality in the schools in New York. The implication of the urbanicity of the school (city, suburb, town, and rural) is also considered using Histograms and one-way between-subjects ANOVAs. Correlations of variables thought to influence identification as special education, as well as multiple regression analysis of these characteristics is also examined. These characteristics include the percent of White students in the school population, the percent of students identified as receiving free/reduced lunch, the percent of students identified as Limited English Proficient, and the locations of schools around the state. The overrepresentation of Black and Hispanic students identified as special education in cities was found, even though there was no disproportionality found when looking at New York state schools on average. Factors found to contribute to disproportionality were fewer than expected, with the only finding of significance being the teacher-student ratio. Discussion surrounding the implications of the research focus on identifying root causes of disproportionality in order to make changes to practice and policy across the state.