Education: GAO Report Finds Race, Income Disparities in Pursuing IDEA Remedies

On December 3, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the use of mediation, due process complaints, and state complaints in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Within those states, very high-income school districts were more likely than very low-income school districts to have dispute resolution activity. Additionally, districts that had very low black and Hispanic student populations (less than 10%) were more likely to have dispute resolution activity than districts that had very high black and Hispanic student populations (greater than 90%). However, districts with very high black and Hispanic populations had higher rates of dispute resolution. Stakeholders interviewed for the report cited high cost for attorneys and expert witnesses, among other challenges, as barriers to access to dispute resolution.

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