Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. Eugenia Toma

Executive Summary

A 2018 report by the Government Accountability Office found that certain groups of students, namely, Black male and female students, Hispanic male and female students and male students with disabilities were overrepresented in Alternative Schools nationwide. Using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) 2017-18 survey, this project aimed to examine Alternative Schools in Kentucky to understand whether trends that existed at the national level also exist in Kentucky. Additionally, this study examined disproportionality in four subtypes of alternative schools across Kentucky: Academic Alternative, Disciplinary Alternative, Both (Academic & Disciplinary), and Juvenile Justice Facilities. Last, using the locale variable from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data (CCD), this project examined whether disparities existed in three locale types in Kentucky: Urban, Suburban, and Rural. Using the composition index method, this study identified that there were trends of disproportionality similar to those seen at the national level. Black males and females, Hispanic males, and males with disabilities were overrepresented at the state level in Kentucky. Examining the subtypes of alternative schools, males were overrepresented in all subtypes. The trends in race and disability status remained, however in some categories such as Juvenile Justice Facilities, the disparities in the categories of race and disability status were dramatic. Geographically, the trends tended to hold, however Kentucky’s urban areas tended to have less disparities compared to suburban and rural communities. Additionally, students with disabilities were underrepresented in alternative schools compared to their counterparts at the state level. This analysis is descriptive and does not analyze causation. It does highlight the need for a standardized definition of alternative schools, as well as further research into these disparities which involve some of Kentucky’s most vulnerable students.



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