A Fact Sheet on “Advancing Racial Equity in Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education” was developed by the UNC Equity Research Action Coalition and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partnership with the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).
This fact sheet includes information about racial disparities and inequities for young children with a disability and questions for state and local leaders seeking to advance equity for all children with disabilities and their families. In addition, the fact sheet examines the intersection of disability with race and ethnicity, language, poverty level, and place.
The collaborative effort included over 15 researchers, technical assistance providers, and state early intervention and early childhood special education leaders. Dr. Micole Talley, Early Childhood Project Manager at the Georgia State University Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) is one of the leaders who contributed to the fact sheet.
Dr. Talley oversees and coordinates several early childhood projects at CLD. In addition, she supports the development and evaluation of projects and professional development activities designed to improve program implementation, build the capacity of individuals serving young children with disabilities, and foster improved outcomes for those children. Before joining the CLD, Dr. Talley was Georgia’s IDEA 619 Coordinator for Preschool Special Education, with over twenty years of experience serving students in general and special education.
“I hope that this resource will be used as a tool to support intentional actions by leaders to make sustainable systemic changes in early intervention and early childhood special education services that improve outcomes for children, “said Dr. Micole Talley. “The facts highlighted in this resource are supported by strong evidence indicating the immediate need for change. Individuals who serve young children with disabilities and make policies for those people must recognize that early childhood sets the foundation for a person’s entire life.”
Example areas of focus on the fact sheet include:
- Access to early intervention and early childhood special education for eligible children as a civil right provided under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- Part B (ages 3–21) programs serve more Black and Hispanic children compared to other racial groups; however, there are racial differences in the disability categories under which they are deemed eligible.
- Racial disparities occur in the outcomes for individuals with disabilities, and these disparities start early.
- Children and families experience better outcomes when there is a racial/ethnic match with their educators.
- Racial disparities that exist in disciplinary practices negatively impact children’s learning opportunities.
The collaborators on this project would like the fact sheet to be shared broadly through higher education institutions, state agencies, school districts, and professional organizations.
Read the Fact Sheet: The Advancing Racial Equity in Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education