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Forty Acres and a Mule or No More of the Same?: Examining the Education of African American Students From a Cultural-Historical Perspective Stanley C.

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Presentation on theme: "Forty Acres and a Mule or No More of the Same?: Examining the Education of African American Students From a Cultural-Historical Perspective Stanley C."— Presentation transcript:

1 Forty Acres and a Mule or No More of the Same?: Examining the Education of African American Students From a Cultural-Historical Perspective Stanley C. Trent, Ph.D. Deborah Smith, Doctoral Candidate University of Virginia

2 Purpose of Presentation  Identify unacknowledged truths and under- examined issues  Discuss education of African American students from a cultural-historical perspective  Set the stage for remaining presentations in this strand

3 NCLB + IDEIA Amendments: A Winning Combination or More of the Same? NCLB Unlike the goals and outcomes of the past, the major focus of current legislation and innovation has become to accomplish both excellence and equity simultaneously. More specifically, the new mission is to maintain our place as a world leader and at the same time ensure equal access for American students writ large.

4 NCLB + IDEIA Amendments: A Winning Combination or More of the Same? IDEIA, 1997, 2004 One very important amendment carried over from 1997 is "giving increased attention to racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity to prevent inappropriate identification and mislabeling" (Senate Report 1997, p. 5)

5 Lest we forget… NCLB Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) IDEIA Education for All Handicapped Children Act

6 Reflect on this... What you seen wasn ’ t no dust of changes rising, but the dust of sameness settling. (Plump) Elusive, intractable, cloaked in a language of equity and justice?

7 Critical Questions…  Does history show us that we can embrace the notion that all children can learn without qualification and restriction?  Are we willing to transform school districts, schools, and classrooms in ways that will promote dismantling of hierarchies and power structures that have historically precluded sustained educational equity for CLD learners?

8 Unacknowledged Truths  Historically we have found it difficult to meet the needs of CLD learners writ large, no matter what educational reforms and standards have been imposed on school districts and schools.  It is one thing to advocate for equity, it is another thing to transform institutions in ways that will support the actualization and sustainment of equity.

9 Come go with me… Intellectuals ought to study the past not for the pleasure they find in so doing, but to derive lessons from it. -- Cheikh Anta Diop

10 The Power of Deficit Thinking  First half of 19th Century  Morality, citizenship, 3 Rs  Inclusion, equity  Second half of 19th Century  Rational theory from industry  Model of control, efficiency  Profit driven  Poor performance linked to deficits within children, parents, communities  First half of 20th Century  Equity for all  Compulsory school attendance (Freedman, voluntary immigrants)  Standardized tests  Deficit thinking  Placement based on IQ (Deschenes, Cuban, & Tyack, 2001)

11 African American Students  Anti-literacy Laws in Antebellum South  Plessy vs. Ferguson  Jim Crow  Separate but Equal  Desegregation  NCLB, IDEIA  Overrepresentation, Underrepresentation

12 Past is Prologue: Where are we now?

13 Four School Districts in Southern State  Four School Districts with Disproportionate Representation of Students in Special Education by Race  Overrepresentation of African American Students in MMR Programs  Underrepresentation of African American Students in LD Programs  Opposite Scenario for White Students

14 Court Case  School District A & B  African American Student 2 times more likely to be placed in MR class than White Student  School District C  African American Student 4 times more likely to be placed in MR class than White Student  School District D  African American Student 9 times more likely to be placed in MR class than White student

15 Reasons for Overrepresentation  73% of teachers interviewed were unaware that the problem existed.  45 % - Student/familial deficits (e.g., SES, drugs, teen pregnancy, single parent households)  55% - Academic and behavioral difficulties  Special Education Director-- inappropriate criteria used to place students

16 Other Problems Identified  Ineffective Prereferral Process  Instructional Interventions  Treatment fidelity  Adaptations Vs. Compensatory Strategies  Teacher Isolation  Student Monitoring  Parental Involvement  Assessment Process

17 Educating African American Students with & without Exceptionalities Equitably & Effectively Teacher Beliefs/Re-evaluate own Frames of Reference Knowledge of Multiple Theories for Instruction Multicultural Content Home/School/ Community Connections Additional Content (e.g., Life Skills, Social Skills, Motivation) On-going Assessment Understanding Of classroom, school & district cultures Student Characteristics

18 Figure 1. Intended Structure of the Inclusive Education Team’s Activity: A Cultural-historical Perspective Curriculum & Instruction(subject matter content) (other content: METACOGNITIVE-- social skills, organizational skills, test taking strategies) (MULTICULTURL APPROACHES) Integrated Instructional approaches & theories Discourse Reflection Lesson Plans Videotapes, Observations Mediating Artifacts Assessment (multiple modes, ongoing, culturally sensitive, CBM, Non-verbal IQ tests, within group differences vs. emphasis on comparing to White-middle class children) ObjectOutcomes Basic Skills Learning for Understanding Learning for Social Justice Self-Regulation Social Skills Improved Performance on Informal and Standardized Assessments Improved life changes (critical reflection) Subject Rules 1. Commitment to all learners in the activity system, including CLD learners. 2. Agreement to engage in technical, practical, and critical reflection and discourse. 3. Commitment to view contradictions and disruptions as opportunities for growth. 4. On-going assessment of power dynamics Community Inclusive Education Team: Teachers, Administrators, Paraprofessionals, University Faculty, Student Teachers/Interns, CLD Parents, the CLD Community, Organized Religion, State Department of Education, CLD Advocacy Groups Division of Labor Inclusive Education Team Vertical Horizontal Dynamic All three? Inclusive Education Model & CLD Students with and without disabilities CHAT Principles Entire System is Unit of Analysis Historicity vs. Relativism Contradictions & Disruptions Lead to Growth (Expansive Cycles) (Engeström, 1999)


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