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What’s So Special About Special Ed.? Hard Questions About Identification, Placement, and Results in Special Education. Gloria Ladson-Billings University.

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Presentation on theme: "What’s So Special About Special Ed.? Hard Questions About Identification, Placement, and Results in Special Education. Gloria Ladson-Billings University."— Presentation transcript:

1 What’s So Special About Special Ed.? Hard Questions About Identification, Placement, and Results in Special Education. Gloria Ladson-Billings University of Wisconsin-Madison

2 PL : IDEA Landmark legislation “Least Restrict Environment” Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs)

3 Epistemological Question What does it mean to identify, place, and educate students in special education?

4 Focus on the more arbitrary categories Mild cognitive disabilities Learning disabilities Behavioral disorders Emotional disabilities

5 Racial Inequality in Special Education (Orfield & Losen, 2002) Students of color are often inappropriately labeled as disabled Once labeled as disabled they are disporportionately excluded from the regular classroom They face harsher discipline than peers The effect of unequal treatment more harmful

6 More Harmful Results Means… Twice as many Black students labeled with emotional and/or behavioral disorders drop out of school –Although many problems originate at home school does little to address them –What strategies could improve graduation rates?

7 Economic Data Suggest Median Income YearWhitesOf Color ,00023, ,20025,700

8 Economic Data (continued) Median Wealth (net worth) YearWhitesOf Color ,50018, ,90017,100

9 Incarceration Data 2 million people incarcerated in US Almost ½ of those are African American Almost 1 in 3 African American males is likely to be convicted of a felony In some communities 40% have criminal records

10 Wisconsin’s Dubious Distinction With a Black population of 304,460, we lead the nation in the incarceration of African Americans

11 Is our incarceration rate linked to our graduation rate? Largest Gaps in Black and White Male Graduation Rates StateBlackWhiteDifference WI36%87%51% NE44%87%43% IL40%82%42% MI33%74%41% NY39%75%36% CT51%83%32% WY41%72%31% OR58%89%31% IN43%73%30%

12 Our Will vs. Our Skill Empower yourselves to be advocates Empower yourselves to be active citizens Be the change you want to see

13 Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Focus on Student Learning Focus on Cultural Competence Focus on Socio-Political Consciousness


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