A qualitative study of the educational experiences of racial minority students with disabilities in a rural Midwestern district
Whitener, Mark Allan
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Undoubtedly, public schools in the United States have made tremendous progress over the last four decades in providing an equitable education for students with disabilities. Prior to the passage of federal law in 1975, many "handicapped" children were either denied access to schooling altogether, or received inadequate educational services in a segregated setting. Today, over six million students with disabilities attend regular schools alongside their abled peers. However, some minority students with disabilities, including African American, Native American, and Hispanic students, continue to receive segregated, inequitable educational services at rates significantly higher than other groups. This study examines the perceptions minority students with disabilities have about their access to equitable educational services. The framework supporting this study emanates from a critical tradition. A critical perspective uses critique as the primary means to identify the marginalization of nondominant groups. When students are given a voice, they are able to challenge assumptions and stereotypes held by adults, and they become empowered to resist marginalization. For this study, I interviewed four minority students with disabilities, and used the constant comparative method to analyze the participants' perceptions about their educational experiences. Implications from the research stress the need to give minority students with disabilities a greater voice in their educational services. Providing for student voice is the first step in ensuring equitable educational experiences for minority students with disabilities (National Education Association 2007).
Thesis (Ed.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Education and School Psychology