14% of students receiving special education in the United States are Hispanic
In the counties of Pennsylvania they represent almost 1,500 of students.
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Special education includes a variety of services that can be provided for students with disabilities. Instead of a “one size fits all” approach, it is tailored to meet the needs of each student.
Previously known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) from 1975 to 1990, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a landmark for special education in the United States. As described by U.S.News, the law states that children with cognitive, physical, emotional and medical conditions are entitled to special services, supports, technologies and individualized planning and goals outside the general education curriculum.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2020-2021 school year, the number of students ages 3 to 21 who received special education services under IDEA was 7.2 million. This represents 15% of all public school students in the United States.
Considering race and ethnicity, Hispanics were 14% of the share under IDEA. American Indian/Alaska Native represented the largest share, 19%.
In the 2019-2020 school year, among Hispanic students ages 14 to 21 who served under IDEA and exited school, 12% of them received an alternative certificate — while 74% of them graduated with a regular high school diploma.
In Pennsylvania, in the 2021-2022 academic year, almost 1,500 Hispanic students received special education. Berks county has the highest number of Hispanics receiving special education in PA, with a total of 222, followed by Luzerne with 138 and Philadelphia with a total of 131. Lancaster, Northampton, York and Lehigh counties have an average of 95 to 92 students receiving special education.
Among the 7.2 million students who received special education in the United States, the most common category of disability, 33%, was specific learning disabilities: an umbrella term that can describe many different types of learning issues — including dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. In general, those disorders impact the students’ ability to read, write and other related activities.
Speech or language impairment, 19%, and Autism, 12%, were also common categories.
If you want to learn more about which disabilities fall under IDEA, click here.