Black Boys Wrongly Placed in Special Education

BlkWhtStudentsdesks

The Atlanta Black Star’s article “Six Reasons Black Boys Without Disability Wind Up in Special Education” gives readers some serious things to think about:

Many Black boys who end up in special education do not have a disability. Rather, they have circumstances that spur behavior patterns that are not compatible with the school environment, according to researcher Ivory Toldson.

There is research evidence that Black males are more likely than other races to have false positive diagnoses [diagnosed with a disability when there is none], due to culturally biased assessments, unique styles of expression and environmental stressors.

The overrepresentation of Black students, especially Black males, is due to biased testing and the cultural misunderstanding of Black people, according to Kimberly Suzette Peterz of Chicago.

While the act of suspending is reserved for the most deviant white male students, suspensions appear to be interwoven into the normal fabric of a Black male’s school experiences.

All of these quotations from the article point to reasons Black boys are over-represented in special education classes. This is part of a duality in CPS, where students who need special education services often don’t get them but some Black boys (and others) are misplaced into special education classes. CTU contract proposals seek to guarantee that special education teachers have the time needed to do their jobs and are not used as substitutes or overburdened with unnecessary paperwork.

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About Carol Caref

Carol Caref taught high school mathematics in CPS for 26 years before coming to work at the Chicago Teachers Union as a researcher. She has been involved in anti-racist, anti-capitalist struggles since her teens.

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