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Georgia’s Separate and Unequal Special-Education System

In the past fifteen years, the number of black families in the country who homeschool their children—often to protect them from being characterized as troublemakers or sent to special-education programs—has more than doubled.   Photograph by LaToya Ruby Frazier for The New Yorker

In the past fifteen years, the number of black families in the country who homeschool their children—often to protect them from being characterized as troublemakers or sent to special-education programs—has more than doubled.

Photograph by LaToya Ruby Frazier for The New Yorker

From “Georgia’s Separate and Unequal Special-Education System”

Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (idea) requires that students with disabilities learn in the “least restrictive environment,” a loose term that may mean different things depending on the race or the class of the student. Nirmala Erevelles, a professor of disability studies at the University of Alabama, told me that, “in general, when it comes to people of color—particularly poor people of color—we choose the most restrictive possibility,” sending students to “the most segregated and punitive spaces in the public-school system.” According to Beth Ferri, a disability scholar at Syracuse University, idea provided a kind of loophole to the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed racial segregation in schools. Now racial segregation continued “under the guise of ‘disability,’ ” she said. “You don’t need to talk about any race anymore. You can just say that the kid is a slow learner, or defiant, or disrespectful.” Ferri said that idea “treated disability as apolitical—a biological fact. It didn’t think about things like racial or cultural bias.”

Please read the full article here.

It is a dark reality where race, poverty, and disability meet. We are saddened by the oppression that families like Seth and Latoya face and pray for God’s justice to reign in segregated systems such as this.

References

(1) https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/01/georgias-separate-and-unequal-special-education-system


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