The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has recently announced the launch of a new grant opportunity to reduce the overidentification of historically underserved students in special education programs.

The grant will leverage American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Relief Funds (ESSER III) to fund the Reducing Overidentification in Special Education (ROSE) program. Local education agencies (LEAs) will be able to invest in strategies that address and mitigate the learning loss of persistently underperforming students who risk being misidentified with intellectual and/or emotional disabilities, mainly male, African American, English learner, and economically disadvantaged students.

Reducing overidentification in special education is essential for transforming and creating the necessary change to actualize the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future for all Maryland’s children. Applicants for the ROSE program must commit to addressing the substantial overidentification of students based on race, sex, gender, home language, and income status in LEA policies, processes, and practices. To do so, applicants will provide detailed baseline data and clear, feasible, and ambitious success criteria to address disproportionality in identifying students for special education services.

Selected applicants will partner with a single, national leader awarded by MSDE for program implementation. Grant applications open today and are due by 11:59 EST on May 16, 2023.

State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury said, “While special education programs throughout the State admirably advance and elevate students with disabilities, too often historically underserved students are mistakenly diagnosed with an emotional or intellectual disability due to race, sex, ethnicity, home language, or socioeconomic background. To care about special education means to care about being certain of who and for what children become eligible for special education services. Anything less abdicates our responsibility as policymakers, advocates, educators, and humans. Let us hold ourselves accountable for the trajectories on which we place our children.”

The Maryland State Department of Education will host three grant guidance and information sessions this spring. For further information about the ROSE program, including registration links for information sessions, please visit the Maryland State Department of Education website ( Questions can be emailed to:

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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