Title Thumbnail

Why Are So Many Minority Students in Special Education?

Understanding Race and Disability in Schools

Beth Harry Janette Klingner

256 pages
Teachers College Press

The second edition of this powerful book examines the disproportionate placement of Black and Hispanic students in special education. The authors present compelling, research-based stories representing the range of experiences faced by culturally and linguistically diverse students who fall in the liminal shadow of perceived disability. 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 to special education. Based on the authors’ 4 years of ethnographic research in a large, culturally diverse school district, the book concludes with recommendations for improving educational practice, teacher training, and policy renewal.

The expanded second edition retains all of the vividly described cases of the original research and brings additional insight to the issue of disproportionality by:

  • Reframing the policy context to address key developments in the placement process, with a particular focus on Response to Intervention.
  • Including a new appendix that describes and reflects on the challenges, strengths, and dilemmas of the research methodology of the study.
  • Updating the figures and literature on disproportionality.
Author Bio

Beth Harry is a professor of special education and chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Miami. She is also the founder of the Immortelle Center for Special Education in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Janette Klingner is a professor at the University of Colorado in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity. She is president elect for the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and a vice-president for the International Academy for Research on Learning Disabilities.