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THE SANTA CRUZ CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT IS EXAMINING IT’S DIS-PROPORTIONALLY HIGH RATE OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS IN SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION.  THE DISTRCT WAS ALERTED BY STATE OVER SEERS THAT, 38 PERCENT OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS, ENROLLED IN THE DISTRICT, ARE RECEIVING SPECIAL EDUCATION.  THE STATE AVERAGES, FOR OTHER ETHNICITIES, RANGES FROM 12 TO 15 PERCENT, ARE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION COURSES.  THE HIGH NUMBERS ARE THOUGHT TO BE DUE TO A COMBINATION OF FACTORSPRIMARILY AN OVER SENSITIVITY TO THE NEEDS OF MINORITY STUDENTS, AND THE BELIEF THAT IT IS SAFER TO OVER DIAGNOSE LEARNING DISABILITIES EARLY, THAN IT IS TO COPE WITH DISABILITIES IN OLDER STUDENTS.  THE STATE ALSO WARNED THAT NUMBERS OF LATINO STUDENTS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION IS HIGHER THAN STATE AVERAGES.