Despite the persistence of gross disparities in special education identification rates between Black and White youth nationwide, few studies have addressed the function of discourse and discourse practices in the social construction of high-incidence disabilities. This article reports on a research study that examined the discursive production of “disability” among Black males through interviews with a racially diverse group of teachers who shared their perspectives about student diversity and academic needs in response to four special education referrals (marked as pertaining to Black males). A critical discourse analysis (CDA) of interview transcripts reveals that teachers discursively represent student failure as individual rather than social, and they draw heavily on discourses that primarily locate student difficulty external to schools and classrooms. These findings are discussed in terms of the implications for young Black males.
|Keywords:||Special Education, Urban Youth, High-Incidence Disabilities, Teacher Education, Disproportionality in Special Education|
Assistant Professor of Special Education, Department of Special Education, Early Childhood, and Bilingual Education, Chicago State University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
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