How can schools avoid the special education racism label?

A recent article reveals a continued rage regarding the school racism label associated with special education identification of Black children. Many researchers and activist believe that the flawed identification process is detrimental to our present educational system. Schools can avoid the racism label by identifying cultural behaviors that are not associated with need for special education.

According to the article, Debate Over Whether Black Kids are Being Pushed Into Special Ed Heats Up, a new study indicates that Black children are not receiving the special education services needed for success. Even though Blacks children are 1.4 times more likely to become classified as in need of special education services when compared to White children, schools are less likely to recognize the need for additional services. The author continues to ascertain that racism, low socioeconomic status, and an education system geared to downplay the needs of Black children has lead to an underrepresentation in special education.

What is the representation of Black children in special education?

The overrepresentation of Black students in special education has been documented since 1997. In 1997, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) documented that even though Blacks represented only 16% of elementary and secondary students in the U.S., they constituted 21% of total enrollments in special education, and poor African-American children were 2.3 times more likely to be identified by their teacher as having mental retardation when compared to White students. This same pattern of Black student overrepresentation in special education continued.

According to the 2007 29th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Black students ages 6 through 21 years of age were approximately 1.5 times more likely to receive special education services when compared to other ethnicities in the same age range. Additionally, Black students ages of 6 to 21 were 2.86 times more likely to receive special education services for mental retardation, and 2.28 times more likely to receive services for emotional disturbance when compared to ethnicities of the same age.

On of the major problem areas is the special education overrepresentation in the area of emotional disturbance. According to the IDEA the characteristics of emotionally disturbed children include:

  • An inability to exhibit appropriate behavior under ordinary circumstances
  • An inability to maintain relationships with peers or teachers
  • An inappropriate affect such as depression or anxiety
  • An inappropriate manifestation of physical symptoms or fears in response to school or personal difficulties

The above mentioned characteristics must be manifested over an extended time period and have a negative effect on school performance.

Why would Black students become referred for special education services due to their inability to maintain relationships with teachers?

Black students have difficulty accepting teachers as the primary source of knowledge due to becoming accustomed to sharing information on an equal basis with adults rather than the adult teaching them. Teachers treat Black high school students as though they are incapable decision makers that require their permission to do everything even though the student has had experience caring for younger brothers and sisters, teaching them safety and personal hygiene skills, and taking care of the home. Black students withdraw from the instructional process or become discontented with whatever the teacher does when the teacher hinders student spontaneity and enthusiasm and punishes the student by requiring the student to raise his or her hand in order to be recognized.

Why would Black students become referred for special education services due depression or anxiety?

Racism can make any person exhibit characteristics associate with depression or anxiety. When incorporating students into a marginalized society by slavery, conquest, and colonization, students believe school is detrimental to their identity. Blacks are not willing to perform well in school due to difficulty with crossing cultural lines. Blacks have learned that since slavery that the best way to get ahead is not through merit and talent but through White patronage.

Americans of color adapt to a society that does not value their ethnicity, history, heritage, or language by establishing societal survival strategies. Black parents prepare their children to live in a dual cultural world that involves helping them to develop skills for adult roles such as wage earners and parenthood in addition to negotiating a dominant society that has different cultural values and judges’ people by their skin color or ethnic background. Blacks who live in an urban society and a society that dislikes them for the color of their skin ensure they do not become victims by approaching people with caution, wariness, and a sense of distrust.

Distrust between schools and Blacks results from hostile treatment of Blacks and discrimination in schools. Employment discrimination is the primary source of Black student opposition to schooling. Blacks believe schools ineffectively prepare Black children with the same skills that enable White middle-class persons to attain good jobs and wages. Blacks discourage school success as a cultural goal and respond by developing survival strategies that contribute to school failure as well as conflict with the schools.

Schools can offset many of the special education characteristics associated with emotionally disturbance by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships) and utilizing the Raccelerate Racism Formula.

Related Articles

Should more minority kids be in special ed?

The Debate Over Minority Representation in Special Education

Are There Racial Imbalances In Special Education?

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.

PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

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“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President

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About Classroom Racism Exterminator

Racism is a menace and so we’ve been taught for ages which is the primary need for a diversity expert. However, even in this modern society of today where we see a lot of colored celebrities performing on stage with huge fan followings and of course an Afro-America President for the USA, we are still in a phase where racism exists in all its brutal glory and has been eating away at the society like a plague. Classrooms, are one of the most affected areas where color differences and racism exists to its extremes. Even after decades of progress and a lot of communal efforts at bridging the gaps between colored students, white students and teachers, it is sad to say that the disparities still exist and are just as pronounced today as they were back in the 1950s. Colored students, even in the likes of New York City, are attending under resourced schools or have been significantly isolated and made to be unequal in regular schools. Even if the teachers are well-intentioned, perpetuating the structural racism that has taken deep roots into the fabric of our education system is a tough task and make the need for a diversity expert imperative. Teachers need to recognize the biases that exist within the classroom and also take conscious measures to address them and their own biases of course. James Baldwin once said, “it is your very own responsibility to change this society, if you think of yourself as an educated person.” Dr. Derrick L. Campbell took this quote very effectively and straight to the heart and thus this Classroom Racism Exterminator happened. Classroom Racism Exterminator is an initiative that will teach you about your duty and moral obligation towards eliminating racism from the classrooms. This is where and how you will learn about what you need to do to produce a better society that is free of biases and disparities amongst the blacks and the whites. Because we understand how classroom biases and conversations about racism are difficult and how teachers and students almost avoid the topics altogether, we have put together a range of effective methods and products to help address the problem at hand and talk meaningfully to counter issues related to race and racism in the classroom. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell understands that it takes a lot of courage to talk about race and racism and that racial issues need to be viewed through a very critical lens that can understand and attend to the pertaining aspects of racism in the classroom. And therefore through this website we have made a conscious effort to eliminate racism from the classroom and make the educational system equal and beneficial for all. We know and we understand that there are no words that can actually describe how racism feels. There are cases and everybody tends to deal with it in their own manner. Some might lash out verbally or others might just withdraw into shells. Whatever the case, people don’t talk about it openly and teachers don’t really make a conscious effort at addressing the issue. We don’t really know if our children or if the youth is learning to be educated or become racists in their classroom. Our program is focused on helping children of color and regardless of their race, their full potential. We want every student to be able to recognize and reach their full potential so that they think of themselves as responsible citizens of their country and not regard themselves as worthless human beings. Here you will find motivational books and flash card games, all of which have been designed focusing on eliminating racism completely from our classrooms. The books and the games have been consciously designed keeping in mind the American society and educational system. It is a small effort on our and Dr. Campbell’s part to help this society become a better place to live in. A little about diversity expert Dr. Campbell Dr. Derrick L. Campbell the driving force behind Classroom Racism Exterminator is a dynamic figure and a constant source of motivation for us. He has a Bachelors of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, Math Education, a Masters in Education Administration and also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Dr. Campbell is a well known personality throughout the nation. He has lectured at various events including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference and a lot of local churches. He is a personality well dedicated towards eliminating the plague of racism from our classrooms and helping every child recognize his/her true potential not the color of their skin. He realizes how a child would feel if he/she was made to think they are worthless human beings. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell is compassionate and related to the experiences and therefore this initiative is a constant and continual effort to eliminate racism manifested in us, completely from the classroom and from our society.
This entry was posted in Discrimination, institutional Racism, Race Relations, Race Relations in America, racial discrimination, Racism, Racism in America, Racism in Education, School Discipline, Structural Racism, The Raccelerate Formula and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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