The relationships between sociodemographic characteristics of Texas school districts and the Texas Education Agency's indicators of disproportionate representation in special education programs
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Despite considerable efforts, the disproportionate representation of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in special education programs remains among the most persistent problems in the field of education. Using data from Texas' public school districts, this study examined the relationships between a set of school districts' sociodemographic variables on the proportion of students identified with LEP and students identified as economically disadvantaged served in special education programs. Results indicate a strong association between the sociodemographic variables examined and the overrepresentation of these two student populations in special education programs. In addition, a logistic regression analysis revealed that including the statewide geographic region where a school district resides as a variable was a significantly better model than examining only sociodemographic characteristics. Findings indicate that knowing a school district's sociodemographic characteristics is important in determining the likelihood of students being identify as needing special education services but it is important to note that the impact of the sociodemographic characteristics differs by statewide geographic region. Recommendations for policy, practice, and research are discussed.