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A Donald McEachin

Study hunts factors tying blacks to special education

RICHMOND, Va. - A single bad test score can't bounce a child into special education.

Making that switch requires meeting with a committee that includes the child's parents and educators. It may involve calling in a psychologist or a social worker. It means tests and evaluations.

The process almost sounds scientific, but it's not. It can be subjective. And that interests state lawmakers who want to know why black students are over-represented in Virginia's special education classrooms.

Education professor James M. Patton of the College of William and Mary has studied the trend, which, he said, is a national problem. "Subjective observations, subjective thought does...

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