Pub. Date:
Teachers College Press
Why Are So Many Minority Students in Special Education? Understanding Race and Disability in School

Why Are So Many Minority Students in Special Education? Understanding Race and Disability in School


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This powerful book examines the disproportionate placement of Black and Hispanic students in special education. The authors present compelling stories representing the range of experiences that culturally and linguistically diverse students are apt to face in school. They examine the children's experiences, their families' interactions with school personnel, the teachers' and schools' estimation of the children and their families, and the school climate that influences decisions about referrals. Based on the authors' work in a large, culturally diverse school district, the book concludes with recommendations for improving educational practice and teacher training and for policy renewal.

About the Author:
Beth Harry is a professor of special education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Miami, Florida

About the Author:
Janette Klingner is an associate professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807746257
Publisher: Teachers College Press
Publication date: 12/08/2005
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword   Lisa D. Delpit     ix
Preface     xiii
Acknowledgments     xv
Overview: Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education     1
Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education Programs     2
Constructing Disabilities in Schools     8
Race and Disability: Parallel or Converging Discourses?     10
The Paradox of the IDEA     12
A Process Approach to Understanding Ethnic Disproportionality     15
The School District of Hyphenated Identities     18
Organization of the Book     21
Our Premise     22
School Structure: Institutional Bias and Individual Agency     23
School Leadership: Assignment of Principals to Schools     25
Teacher Quality: Hiring and Retaining Good Teachers     26
Discipline Policies     33
Scheduling and Interruptions: "We're the Ones Who Make Them Hyper!"     36
Conclusions     38
Cultural Consonance, Dissonance, and the Nuances of Racism     40
Racism as a Structural Issue     41
Documenting Behavior and Interpreting Racism     45
Perceived Racial Bias in Classroom Arrangements and Referrals     48
Ethnicity in Team Membership, Referrals, andTeaching Styles     49
Crossing the Bias Barriers     53
Conclusions     55
In the Classroom: Opportunity to Learn     56
Contrasting Schools: Inequity in Opportunities to Learn     57
Contrasting Classrooms: Students' Variable Behavior Across Settings     63
Conclusions     67
The Construction of Family Identity: Stereotypes and Cultural Capital     70
School Voices: "It Comes from the Home"     71
Home Voices: "Doing the Best I Can"     77
Stereotypes, Cultural Capital, and "Risk"     85
Conclusions     89
At the Conference Table: The Discourse of Identity Construction     91
The Rational Model     92
Placement Patterns Across Schools     93
The Culture of Referral     95
Guidelines for Referrals     95
The Teacher as Initiator; High and Low Referrers     97
Alternative Strategies     102
"Qualifying" for Special Education: A Rock or a Soft Place?     103
Conclusions     111
Bilingual Issues and the Referral Process     113
The Rational Model     113
Inadequate Assessment     115
Staff Confusion      115
Differentiating Between English-Language Acquisition and Learning Disabilities     117
Variable Referral Rates     118
Parents' Role in the Process     119
Conclusions     121
Constructing Educable Mental Retardation: Cracks and Redundancies     123
"Falling Between the Cracks"     124
Crossing the Border: From Delayed Development to Mental Retardation     125
Conclusions     130
Constructing Learning Disabilities: Redundancies and Discrepancies     132
Dilemmas of Definition and Assessment     133
Crossing the Border: From Low Academic Achievement to Learning Disability     135
Conclusions     144
Constructing Behavior Disorders: From Troubling to Troubled Behavior     146
Matthew     147
Kanita     148
Robert     151
Edith     154
Conclusions     157
Into Special Education: Exile or Solution?     159
Special Education Benefits: Ideal Versus Reality     159
Variable Quality in EH Programs     167
Restrictive Environments     168
Low Rate of Exit from Special Education Programs     171
Conclusions     171
Conclusion      173
Findings and Recommendations     173
In Conclusion: Attending to School-Based Risk     181
References     185
Index     195
About the Authors     207

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