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Q: special education discrimination ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: special education discrimination
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: karalita-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 16 Feb 2004 08:54 PST
Expires: 17 Mar 2004 08:54 PST
Question ID: 307312
I am an educator looking for strong research in the area of special
education discrimination.  I am conducting a study in my school
district and am having trouble finding research to support my research
question:  Are special education students treated fairly by regular
education instructors in the classroom?

Thank You

Kara Hanley

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 16 Feb 2004 09:40 PST
I believe your question is probably too broad in the manner in which it is asked.

"Are special education students treated fairly by regular education
instructors in the classroom?"

In comparision to what? :  gender, age, other students, the law, etc. 

See what I mean? If you rephrase your question and specify a
comparative issue closer to what you are seeking you may have a better
response to your question.

I hope this helps;

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 16 Feb 2004 10:01 PST
As an after thought, I think in most instances special education
students are segregated to special education classes where there are
special education teachers. In what hypothetical teaching environement
are you referring to when you say "...treated fairly by regular
education instructors in the classroom"?


Clarification of Question by karalita-ga on 16 Feb 2004 10:44 PST
I am observing special education students included in a regular
education classoom.  I am closely examining the relationship the
teaher has with special education (disabled) students and regular
education (non-disabled) students.  Specifically I am looking at the
numbers of times each student is called on in the classroom to answer
questions, the amount (length of time) students are allowed to respond
to a question, the number of times each student is chosen to be a
leader in cooperative group activities, and the number of times each
student is prasied by the teacher.  Then, after all my data is
collected I will be conducting a t-test to compare the two groups:
disabled students and non-disabled students.  I need some research (at
least 5 strong studies) to be included on the topic of teacher
favoritism or unfairness in the classroom.

I hope this clears things up.  Thank you for responding.

Subject: Re: special education discrimination
Answered By: majortom-ga on 16 Feb 2004 11:28 PST
There's quite a bit of research out there on classroom inclusion. 
What will be directly relevant to you will depend upon how you
ultimately define "fairness," but here are some resources to get you

An article in the journal _Exceptional Children_ describing a study of
classroom teachers' difficulty teaching special education students:

A plain English article by a UMASS student referencing some recent
studies on the topic:

An extensive article on the state of inclusive classrooms in the US:

A study from the State of Wisconsin finding that special education
children who are ?clustered? in regular ed classrooms received more
attention from teachers:

And some additional resources that may be helpful:

An entire online textbook on inclusive classroom teaching:

Special Education laws:

Article about what works well in inclusive classrooms:

Request for Answer Clarification by karalita-ga on 16 Feb 2004 20:35 PST
Thanks for the resouces.  I do have a question about the study from
the state of Wisconsin.  It starts out with part V.  Is there more to
this study?  I could not find any inforamation about the demographics
or participants from this study and I would like to see the rest if



Clarification of Answer by majortom-ga on 16 Feb 2004 22:10 PST
I am sorry about that.  The rest of the study is at:

and so forth, up to inclus10.doc

I hope that helps.
Subject: Re: special education discrimination
From: wordsmth-ga on 20 Feb 2004 14:56 PST

That's a very interesting topic. I wasn't particularly impressed by
the answer you received--mostly general material about
inclusion--though, admittedly, I did a search on PubMed and didn't
come across much myself.

A tiny bit about myself: I'm a parent of a child with an IEP ("other
health impaired"--AD/HD and OCD) who has been in special education for
several years. I'm also the coordinator for a local chapter of CHADD
(Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder).
So I've seen special education and the special education process.
Having said that...

As you undoubtedly know (but tutuzdad-ga perhaps did not), special
education kids may be taught in a variety of environments. They may
have classes that consist only of special education kids; they may be
in a general education classroom in which there are special education
kids (and often a second, special education teacher), or they may be
in "regular" classrooms with only a general education teacher. This
year my son is in all three situations.

A child's IEP will specify the amount of additional instruction he/she
is to receive. Often this occurs in the classroom with the second
special education teacher....who, to oversimplify, devotes his/her
time to the special ed kids, floating among them, checking their work,
answering their questions, and so forth.

That may introduce a problem in your research since, in such a mixed
setting, the general education teacher may call upon the special
education kid less often, but the special education kid will receive
as much or more attention from the special ed teacher.

Even if you limit it to a general education classroom, with just a
general education teacher, a child's IEP (or even a 504 plan, for
those kids without an IEP) may very well provide for accommodations
that would affect your study. For instance, the length of time a
student is given to answer, or even whether the student is called upon
at all for certain types of problems or questions.

There's another issue, as well. In many school districts, parents have
to fight very hard to get an IEP (or even a 504) for a kid. Especially
in those areas, there may well be kids in the classroom who are not
classified as "special education" (because they lack either an IEP or
a 504) who nevertheless have the same disability as special education
kids. Often, alert teachers will notice such things...a kid with AD/HD
or OCD, or dyslexia, for instance. And the better teachers will
introduce his/her own accommodations, even without an IEP or a 504 in
place. Or, on the other side, a "bad" teacher --as I think your theory
might be--might discriminate against one of these students even if the
student isn't officially classified as "special ed."

So, for your research to be valid, I'd suggest that it would have to
occur in a general classroom with just a general ed teacher (so that
the assistance or attention of a special ed teacher doesn't skew your
findings). Further, be sure to determine (after the fact) whether the
teacher was aware of which students were special ed students. (That's
the core of your study.) Also try to determine whether disparities in
treatment of the kids was inadvertent, or whether it was
intentional...probably in response to the IEP or 504. And try to
determine whether disparities were due to other factors (for instance,
the race of the kid, or sex).

Hope those suggestions help.


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