Identifying Racial and Socioeconomic Biases iNew Jersey Special Education Eligibility

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Purpose: This study aimed to determine if eligibility for special education anrelated services (SERS) in New Jersey (NJ) is biased based on a child’s racicultural background or socioeconomic status (SES). Method: A Qualtrics survey was administered to NJ child study team personnincluding speech-language pathologists, school psychologists, learning disabilities teacher-consultants, and school social workers. Participants were presented with four hypothetical case studies, which differed only in racial/culturabackground or SES. Participants were asked to make SERS eligibility recom-mendations about each case study. Results: An aligned rank transform analysis of variance test found a significaneffect of race on SERS eligibility decisions, F(2, 272) = 2.391, p = .09Wilcoxon signed-ranks tests further yielded that Black children had significantly higher levels of SERS ineligibility at the high-SES (z = −2.648, p = .008) and mSES (z = −2.660, p = .008) levels compared to White children. When compariSES levels within race using Wilcoxon signed-ranks tests, White low-SES children had significantly higher levels of ineligibility for SERS compared to White highSES children (z = −2.008, p = .045). These results suggest that Black childrfrom high/mid SES are treated comparably to White children from low SES; thesgroups are more likely to be found ineligible for SERS compared to peers. Conclusions: Both race and SES play a role in SERS eligibility decisions in NStudents who are Black and/or from low-SES households are at risk for facinsignificant biases in schools that influence their educational placements. Supplemental Material: https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.22185820.

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Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools

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