Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Clarice Staff, D.S.W.

Second Advisor

Sharon Patten, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mary Kubiak M.S.W.


Research studies have shown that there is a disproportionate number of minority students being identified as needing special education services. This research study examined special education policy as it has evolved overtime, beginning with the 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act through the 1997 amendments to this Act to determine if special education law has contributed to the over representation of minorities in special education.

This historical policy analysis was performed by utilizing congressional logs between 1974 and 1997 as well as examining copies of the pertinent policies themselves. The study has found that special education policies have adequate goals, but the aspects of implementation including parental involvement may need to be evaluated for their effectiveness. The analysis also found that the current level of funding may not be adequate and may have undesirable consequences on service delivery, assessment procedures and staff training that may be leading causes in the over representation of minorities in special education.


SC 11.MSW.2001.Toomey.EM

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