Thirteen percent, or 6.6 million students ages 3-21, are served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Should that number be higher or lower? How has response to intervention (RTI) impacted special education classification? What about English learners? What does ESSA’s guidance on equity mean for students?

Crossing the Line, a 3-part research series, is designed to provoke questions and provide insights to spur discussion about how states and local districts equitably address student needs. Based on survey data from over 3,600 educators as well as publicly-available data, the series provides a starting point for conversation focused on equity issues in serving diverse student populations.

Crossing the Line | Part 1: Perceptions of Classification

Examines the national landscape of special education classification rates and how educators perceive the appropriateness of these rates in their school systems. What insights can we glean from the diverse classification rates that will reveal a deeper understanding of equitable or inequitable practices across state lines?


Crossing the Line | Part 2: Perceptions of Policy and Resources

Takes a closer look at educators’ perceptions of how and why policy and resources contribute to over- and under-classification of students for special education and explores how to identify and address barriers to special education equity.


Crossing the Line | Part 3: Perceptions of District Supports, Services and Professional Development

This report dives into educators’ perceptions of two other contributing factors of over- and under-classification – district supports/services along with teacher professional development. How do these crucial elements relate to each other – and how do they affect a district’s ability to equitably serve students with disabilities?


INFOGRAPHIC: Policy and Resources Linked to Over- and Under-Classification: An Equity Roadmap.

Crossing the Line Equity Roadmap Infographic