Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.

Disabilities by race

There are large differences in disabilities–or at least in disabilities treated in school–between black and white students. I don’t know if this is because students come to school with different disabilities, or if it is because the education system treats black and white students different with respect to disabilities.

I’ve made a chart that shows the relative probability of a black student being treated for a disability compared to a white student. (The underlying data is from the Digest of Education Statistics, 2013.) Areas in which black students are relatively more likely to receive disability services are shown in red and areas in which white students are more likely to receive services are show in blue. Overall, black students are modestly more likely to receive disability services. Black students are shockingly more likely to receive services for “Emotional Disturbance” or “Intellectual Disability.”

Disabilities by race

Any readers know what’s going on here?

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2 Responses to Disabilities by race

  1. Andrew Sabisky says:

    If the mean black American IQ is (best estimate based on a century’s worth of data) around 85, as compared to a mean white American IQ of 100, then if IQ is normally distributed (which it is), you will see a far greater percentage of blacks than whites in the range of IQs 75 or below, at which point we are close to the typical boundary for mild mental retardation. Typically criminals with IQs below 70 cannot be executed in the USA, I believe.

    That parsimoniously explains the greater diagnostic rates for blacks when it comes to “Intellectual disability”. It simply a consequence of the normal distribution of cognitive ability, because there are significant differences in the group means.

    No idea about the “emotional disturbance” bit, though.

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