Boys More Than Twice as Likely as Girls to Receive Special IEP Educational Services; Non-Hispanic Blacks More Likely than Other Children to Repeat Grades 1-3;

Washington, DC  New analyses of three early childhood indicators were released today by Child Trends. The studies were supported by a grant from The Foundation for Child Development. Focusing on children in prekindergarten through third gradethe analyses examined Individualized Education Plans (IEP), repeating a grade, and Head Start.


“These indicators show that African-American and Hispanic children frequently trail their peers by the time they reach 3rd grade.  Many will never catch up,” stated Ruby Takanishi, President of the Foundation for Child Development.  “If we want to narrow this achievement gap, we must make Prekindergarten available to all children and link what children are learning in Prekindergarten to the standards and curriculum of Kindergarten through 3rd Grade.”


Analyses found that boys are more than twice as likely as girls to receive special services through an IEP. In 2003, 9 percent of boys in kindergarten through grade 3 had an IEP compared with 4 percent of girls in the same grades.


IEPs were mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1997 (IDEA) and are specific education plans for students with disabilities.


According to the indicator, Individualized Education Plans, between 2001 and 2003, the percentage of children in kindergarten through third grade receiving special services through an IEP remained relatively constant at 7 percent in 2003. Locate the indicator by clicking the following link:


The trends show that 28 percent of children with special needs were receiving special services through IEPs in 2003. Of those children learning through IEPs, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) had some type of speech or language delay, and about one-third (31 percent) were diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.


The indicator, Repeating a Grade, reflects that among children in grades one through three, non-Hispanic blacks are more likely than other children to have repeated an early primary school grade. In 2003, 10 percent of non-Hispanic black children had repeated a grade, compared with 1 percent of Asian or Pacific Islander children, 4 percent of non-Hispanic white children, and 6 percent of Hispanic children.


Trends in Repeating a Grade state that between 1993 and 1999, the percentage of first through third graders who had repeated a grade of primary school increased slightly from 5 percent to almost 7 percent, before returning to 5 percent in 2003. Patterns for non-Hispanic white children follow these trends. However, patterns for non-Hispanic black children have been less consistent, with the highest reported percentages since 1993 occurring in 2003.


Young children who repeat grades often do so because parents and teachers feel the children do not have age-appropriate academic and/or social skills. Recent research, however, shows that staying back or repeating a grade frequently doesn’t benefit a child academically.


Head Start is the federally funded preschool program that targets low-income families with pre-school children and helps prepare the youngsters for school. In addition to educational services, health, social services, and parental involvement activities are a part of the Head Start program. The recent Head Start Impact Study, which rigorously studied the impact of the program on three- and four-year olds, found these children improved skills in pre-reading, pre-writing, vocabulary, and literacy.


The new DataBank analysis on Head Start addresses the number of children attending Head Start by race/ethnicity, parental education, neighborhood poverty, welfare benefits, state and local estimates, and region of the country. In 2001, non-Hispanic black children ages three to four were more than five times as likely as non-Hispanic white children and about two times as likely as Hispanic children of the same age to be participating in a Head Start program (24 percent compared with 4 percent and 13 percent, respectively. However, it is important to note that Head Start programs target those children of low income families, which accounts for some of the differences.In 2004, 37 percent of black children and 31 percent of Hispanic children under the age six lived in families with incomes below the poverty line, compared with 17 percent of white children.


Information on all three indicators can be located at Child Trends’ DataBank Web site.


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About Child Trends – Child Trends, founded in 1979, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families by conducting research and providing science-based information to the public and decision-makers.


About FCD – The Foundation for Child Development (FCD) is a national private philanthropy in NewYork City dedicated to promoting a new beginning for publicly supported education from pre-kindergarten through third grade. The Foundation promotes the well-being of children, and believes that families, schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government at all levels share complementary responsibilities in the critical task of raising new generations.