Disabling Racial Repetition: Can We Fix the “No Child Left Behind” Fix?
Disabling Racial Repetition: Can We Fix the “No Child Left Behind” Fix? is an interdisciplinary Essay engaging law, history, education policy, and social politics to addresses how disability and race are used in institutional and systemic ways to perpetuate social stratification by means of (mis)education. Black males are routinely, disproportionally labeled Intellectually Disabled in public education settings. The statistically significant over-identification is at the crossroads of understanding the current system-wide failings in Education.
This Essay discusses repetitions and reformulations of segregation and integration, tracking and mainstreaming, the imposition of stigma, and disproportionately administered discipline. Comparisons over time and over the categories of race and disability are essential in understanding how and why the overrepresentation of black males in the learning disability categories of Intellectual Disability and Emotional Disturbance persists, constituting a national crisis in education. It has been discussed, analyzed, written about, tweaked, legislated, and litigated. Yet, society habitually returns to the original state of affairs. The acute frustration is that this crisis is not new. It is one that resurfaces, reinvents and repeats itself.
Despite the fact that the realization of universal education would maximize individual potential to the benefit of society, education has become a focus of social competition. Brown both has been the source of promise for educational reform while simultaneously allowing restoration of the original predicament. Case law and legislation have major roles in the maintenance of this ecosystem; the various forms of social bias also are significant in the administration and delivery of education.
The No Child Left Behind Act has intensified mis-education of all children and has deepened the level of inequality in education. This (mis)education is tied to the other prevalent social disproportions for both persons of color as well as individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. We must insist that future reform efforts are more effective in accomplishing meaningful equality in education.
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