Restructuring the Participation of African-American Parents in Special Education

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63 Scopus citations


Two traditions have combined to contribute to a form of discourse that is detrimental to the participation of African-American parents in special education procedures: first, a deficit view of African-American families and, second, the deficit view of children's learning difficulties on which P.L. 94–142 is based. These deficit views, together with the focus by many professional educators on legal compliance rather than collaboration, have cast parents in the role of consent-giver in a grossly asymmetrical form of discourse, with power residing mostly with professionals. Four specific parental roles—including parents in assessment, placement, policymaking, and advocacy—would restore the balance of power in parent-professional discourse. Future research should focus on the documentation of egalitarian participation structures for African-American parents and on action-oriented ethnographic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalExceptional children
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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