A culture of equality?
Douglas E Carothers
Florida Gulf Coast University
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Disproportionate representation, special education, gifted, underrepresentation

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Carothers, D. (2018). A culture of equality?. Journal of Culture and Values in Education, 1(2), 42-57. https://doi.org/10.46303/jcve.01.02.3


Race-based educational segregation has a long history in the United States and continues to exist even though prohibited by law. Recent manifestations of race-based educational discrimination are found in the overrepresentation of black students in special education programs, their subjugation to high rates of exclusionary discipline, and their underrepresentation in gifted programs. This study used the ProQuest Education database and selected search terms to retrieve records of publications and examine trends in professional literature during four decades. Patterns were found in scholarship related to disproportionate representation of black students in special education programs and the use of exclusionary suspension and expulsion with black students as well as the underrepresentation of black students in gifted programs. The most scholarship was found related to gifted programs, in which blacks were underrepresented, and the amount of scholarship progressively decreased as the level of segregation of black students increased from special education placement to suspension and expulsion. Further, the absolute amount of scholarship and the percentage of works published in scholarly journals were inversely related to the number of search terms with negative connotations used, including special education, minority, and poverty. Use of search terms with negative connotations was positively associated with the percentage of scholarship done by students in the form of dissertations and theses. Conclusions note scholarly findings of reduced adult outcomes caused by inequitable access to educational opportunities and encourage additional research into effective provision of culturally responsive teacher preparation and continuing education as alternatives to reliance on zero-tolerance and other policies that increase educational segregation of black students.

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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).  


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