The disproportionate representation of racial minorities in special education, particularly in urban schools, 1 is an enduring educational equity problem in the United States and beyond (Artiles, Kozleski, & Waitoller, 2011). 2 The problem is multilayered and defies linear and univariate explanations. Nevertheless, teacher influences have been recurrently mentioned in this work. We provide in this chapter a critical sociocultural and sociopolitical perspective regarding teacher influences in the racialization of disabilities. We critique how teacher influences have been studied in this literature and broaden the analysis to include considerations of teacher quality, particularly within the context of current education policy and teacher learning. Although teacher quality has been identified as an influence in the educational failure of racial minority students and current teacher evaluation systems are being implemented to improve quality, we argue that narrow definitions of what constitutes a highly qualified or effective teacher disregards the role of structural inequalities, and insufficiently emphasizes teachers’ preparation to engage with learners from diverse backgrounds, including students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, and those students who are at the intersection of multiple labels. This is particularly evident in urban schools, and thus, research on the racialization of disability cannot afford to ignore these forces.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)