Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

John Lowdermilk

Second Advisor

Paul Sale

Third Advisor

Ralph Carlson


This dissertation was prepared to determine if a correlation existed between a student’s poverty level and an educational diagnosis of serious emotional disturbance. I hypothesize that students at or under the United States’ definition of poverty are more likely to exhibit signs and symptoms of a serious emotional disturbance and therefore be diagnosed and placed in special education. Both federal data (i.e., poverty levels) and Texas data (i.e., dx of SED) were compared to determine correlation and directionality. TEA combines districts into 20 regions. Special education placement data is publicly available on State databases. Federal poverty levels are available through the Internet by state and then by state counties. County level information was aggregated and then an average was calculated. The results were imported into the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) and a linear regression analysis was run. The results are delineated in this dissertation.


Copyright 2023 Cristina Rangel. All Rights Reserved.