Racial disproportionality in special education is an ongoing injustice in schools in the United States. In this article, we investigate the key relationships among education policy, context, and racial disproportionality in special education. We examine this nexus by analyzing one U.S. school district’s response to federal citations for disproportionality in both the over-identification of students of color in special education and over-representation of students of color with disabilities being disciplined. Our findings demonstrate the important role of historical legacies of inequality and the limitations of technical approaches to equity oriented education policies. We end by offering a critical disability education policy approach that accounts for complex sociocultural contexts, attending to disability and its intersections, in an effort to move toward more just and equitable education policies.
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