The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has announced that three Maryland school districts will receive about $1 million each to help address the overidentification of students of color who receive special education services. The funds will target overidentification of students of color who are classified as having intellectual and emotional disabilities.

Federal data shows 63% of Maryland districts were identified as significantly disproportionate in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, up from only 7% or 8% in the four previous school years. Nationally, 5% of districts in 2020-21 were identified as being racially disproportionate in special education student identifications, placements and discipline practices.

Other states are also trying to reduce overidentifications through training sessions and technical assistance to districts. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education recently announced it is launching a national technical assistance center to help states improve data collection, analyzing and reporting efforts in this area. 

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