The representation of migrant students in special education in the state of Texas
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Migrant children are considered one of the most at-risk populations in the United States. They confront multiple obstacles of poverty, poor health, mobility, and limited English proficiency (LEP). These factors contribute to the difficulties that migrant children may encounter in the educational system. Once a migrant student is identified as having a disability, he/she faces problems not only because of his/her migratory lifestyle but also because of his/her disability. Little research has been conducted regarding migrant students with disabilities. Many questions remain unanswered. Some of the literature alludes to an underrepresentation of migrant students in special education, but no empirical research exists. The purpose of the study is two-fold. The first is to examine the extent of the migrant student population that is currently identified as having disabilities in the school districts across the state of Texas. The second purpose of the study is to examine the common characteristics of school districts that have a disproportionate representation of migrant students served by special education. Data for the 2000-2001 school year was obtained from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) from their Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) and the Program Analysis System (PAS). There were 223 districts included in the sample. There were 71,656 migrant students in the sample with 9,078 migrant students receiving special education services. Migrant students across the state of Texas were primarily Hispanic and economically disadvantaged. Forty five percent of all migrants were also LEP. Although 12% of the migrant population across the state received special education services during the 2000-2001 school year, further analysis demonstrated that there was a higher percentage of migrant students that received services under the Learning Disability category when compared to all students, excluding migrants. There were also a number of districts that had an overrepresentation of migrant students that received special education services, while others had an underrepresentation of migrant LEP students that received special education services. Overall, this study indicates that there is a disproportionate representation of migrant students that received special education services across the school districts of Texas.
Razo, Nancy Pena (2004). The representation of migrant students in special education in the state of Texas. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from