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The Obama administration wants to correct racial and ethnic disparities in how school districts determine which students to place in special education programs.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education proposed (PDF) standardizing the system, Education Week reports.

Each state currently uses its own method of determining “significant disproportionality” in special education. Federal education officials believe the rule change would likely cause more states to fall under that category, according to Education Week.

That’s significant because the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, requires school districts to set aside 15 percent of their federal funds for special education students.

The site points out that a 2013 Government Accountability Office report (PDF) says just 2 percent of school districts nationwide were identified as having minorities represented disproportionately in special education. “This figure fails to represent the true scope and breadth of significant disparities we currently see in special education,” says the report.

“The data we’ve seen makes it very clear that we, as a country, are not living up to the intent of the law,” said acting Education Secretary John B. King Jr., according to Education Week.

Federal education officials also suspect that minority students with learning disabilities are disproportionately disciplined at schools nationwide.

SOURCE: Education Week | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

SEE ALSO:

6 Black Students Who Were Suspended For Ridiculous Reasons

Spike In Preschool Suspensions Reveals “Troubling Racial Skew”

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