Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Lolita A. Tabron

Second Advisor

Kristina A. Hesbol

Third Advisor

Alissa Rausch


Critical policy analysis, Culturally and linguistically diverse students, Disproportionality, Over and under-representation, Quantitative methods, Special education


The policies adopted by the Exceptional Children’s Education Act (2016) enabled disproportionality within LEAs by overlooking undocumented classroom removal practices, underestimating the monitoring and reporting criteria, and overlooking non-dominant cultural and linguistic groups within the Colorado community. In this critical policy analysis, I used quantitative methods to analyze and explore the difference between the odds ratio calculation of culturally and linguistically diverse students (CLDS) in special education with a least restrictive environment (LRE) of 40% and greater compared to Colorado’s acceptance of the federal mandate of the minimum requirement of the student LRE of less than 40% and alternate school setting. I explored the efficacy of the Colorado policy that used the minimal flexibility standards (less than 40% or alternate school setting) within the amendment to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2016) as a form of equity for CLDS with dis/abilities in special education. I explored the consequences of data collection of CLDS in each of the special education categories and racial/ethnic groups. I found through this critical policy analysis: 1) disproportionate representation persisted across all CLD groups; 2) overrepresentation persisted across all LRE placement levels; 3) suppressed and missing data prevented some CLDS groups from being monitored and reported from certain dis/ability categories under all LRE definitions; and 4) overrepresentation continued to be an under-monitored and under-reported concern for students reported as English learners with a dis/ability under all LRE definitions. I discovered through the data collection process that data suppression due to low n count to protect student privacy needed to be rethought in order to provide appropriate allocation of funds to students who were taken into account. This critical policy analysis concluded with a discussion of implications of Colorado’s policy that implemented the minimal flexibility standards and suppression of data. I concluded this critical policy analysis with the following three recommendations: 1) the development of policy to address the documentation for removal of all students from the general education classroom; 2) update the monitoring and reporting criteria to capture underrepresentation and suppressed data for students in all special education categories; and 3) update state-level policy to address English Learners identified with a dis/ability in specific special education categories that include an action plan to reduce disproportionality in all LRE definitions.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Arti Sachdeva


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

196 pgs


Special education, Education policy