OCR asks districts to provide counts of students by five racial/ethnic categories: American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; Hispanic; black, not of Hispanic origin; and white, not of Hispanic origin. These categories are consistent with the federal requirements issued by the Office of Management and budget for reporting race/ethnicity designations. No categories are offered for biracial/bi-ethnic students.
OCR was interested in determining how districts classify biracial/bi-ethnic students on records for their own purposes. The FRSS Survey asked districts whether they classify them as a single race/ethnicity using the five standard federal categories (or using more or fewer categories),6 separately as "biracial/bi-ethnic," or separately as "other." Districts were given the option of specifying another method of classification or of indicating that they do not have any biracial/bi-ethnic students (Table 5). Nearly three-fourths of districts classify their biracial/bi-ethnic students as a single race (73 percent; Figure 8).
Whether districts classify their biracial/bi-ethnic students as a single race/ethnicity was related to enrollment size. Ninety-four percent of large districts classified biracial/bi-ethnic students this way, compared to 82 percent of medium districts, and 69 percent of small districts.
Of the slightly more than one-fourth of districts that did not classify biracial/bi-ethnic students as a single race/ethnicity, about half of these districts did not have any biracial/bi-ethnic students (49 percent), and about one-third wrote in their own method (32 percent). Almost every district that wrote in a response said that they did not classify their students by racial/ethnic breakdowns at all for the district's own records. Approximately one-fifth of the districts that did not classify their biracial/bi-ethnic students as a single race/ethnicity said they classified the students separately as "other" (11 percent)* or as "biracial/bi-ethnic" (8 percent).*
OCR has had a growing concern that the practices of some educational children with institutions inhibit the provision of equal educational opportunities, thus disabilities violating the civil rights statutes. Of particular concern is the appropriate identification by these institutions of homeless children with handicaps who may need special education, and of children with disabilities whose mothers were alcohol dependent or used illegal drugs during pregnancy.
The FRSS survey asked districts whether they could report information on the number of children with disabilities who are homeless (Table 6). More than half the districts (58 percent) said they could report this information (Figure 9). Another 15 percent* indicated that they could do so for some, but not all of the children with disabilities who are homeless. The remaining 27 percent would be unable to report this information.
The likelihood of being able to report information on children with disabilities who are homeless was greater for rural and suburban districts and for small districts (Figure 10). In rural and suburban districts, for example, 62 percent and 54 percent, respectively, could report this information. In urban districts, only 31 percent could do so.
Districts were also asked whether it would be possible for them to identify the disabled children whose mothers were either alcohol dependent or used illegal drugs during pregnancy (Table 6). Five percent* of districts said it would be possible to identify the disabled children whose mothers were alcohol dependent during pregnancy; 19 percent said it would be possible for some, but not all of the students; and 75 percent said it would not be possible (Figure 11).
Four percent* of districts would be able to identify the disabled children whose mothers used illegal drugs during their pregnancy; 18 percent* could identify some, but not all of the students; and 79 percent could not identify any.
There were no statistically significant differences across the various types of districts in terms of their ability to identify students with disabilities whose mothers used illegal drugs during their pregnancy.
6The questionnaire item asked districts whether they classified biracial/bi-ethnic students using the five standard federal categories; however, any response that indicated biracial/bi-ethnic students were classified as a single race/ethnicity was coded as a yes, regardless of the number of categories employed.
*Standard error is greater than 10 percent of the estimate.