Black Early Childhood Teachers’ Perspectives Regarding Overrepresentation of Black Students in Special Education




Shorter, Raymond D'angelo

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This qualitative study investigated Black early childhood teachers' perspectives regarding overrepresentation of Black early childhood students in special education programs for mild disabilities. In a semi-structured interview with teachers (n=9), participants responded to open-ended questions regarding their perceptions of overrepresentation as well as solutions to eliminate overrepresentation. Several themes emerged: knowledge of self, student evaluations, parent support, and teacher advocacy. The teachers concluded the following: (a) it is important for them to instill positive and healthy racial identity in Black students, (b) evaluators must use culturally competent evaluation methods for evaluating students for special education placement, (c) parents need to be involved in their children's academic progress, and (d) teachers should advocate against special education placement for students who are inappropriately evaluated. In addition, the teachers believed that educators and parents must address issues and challenges facing overrepresentation so they can implement solutions to eliminate overrepresentation. Suggested solutions included (a) involvement of parents, (b) training and resources for parents, (c) teachers communicating and connecting with families, (d) teachers advocating on behalf of students, and (e) creating cultural competent evaluations. Suggestions for future research regarding Black early childhood students in special education programs included further investigation on how overrepresentation is perceived by parents, students, and teachers as well as investigating what solutions should be implemented to eliminate overrepresentation for Black students with mild disabilities.



African American, Early childhood, Special Education