Murray State University


In Kentucky, educators serve over 100,000 students who qualify for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Given Kentucky's topography, and the designation of 86 of the Commonwealth's 120 counties as rural, it's essential to understand how the socioeconomic and geographic qualities of the state impact the students being served. Previous research has indicated that nearly a quarter of children in Kentucky live in poverty, with the highest rates existing in rural Eastern Kentucky counties. This statistic, compacted with the knowledge that high-need children in poverty are more likely than their peers to have a disability and less likely to receive early intervention and special education services, indicates that children in rural Kentucky school districts are exceptionally impacted by the quality and availability of the special education programs and related services provided by their local school districts. This project seeks to assess this impact, as well as mitigating factors, through a review of existing literature and structured interviews.



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