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Author Smiley, Azure Dee
Title Power, families of color, and special education: A qualitative examination of discourse between families and professionals in an urban setting
book jacket
Descript 161 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 68-03, Section: A, page: 0956
Adviser: Jeffrey A. Anderson
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Indiana University, 2007
The current laws that mandate special education originated through the advocacy of families. Over the years, families have challenged the system to provide free and appropriate public educations for their children. Unfortunately, the system that advocated for families also seems to be creating obstacles for families and service providers as they try to meet the needs of students with disabilities. One such obstacle is the legally mandated language used in paperwork and case conference proceedings. According to these mandates, families are offered an explanation of their legal rights only once during case conference proceedings. Additionally, in opposition to the nine different sections of Indiana Law, Title 511 Article 7 focused on the relationship of schools and families, only one of the nation's current teacher licensing principles addresses this issue. Even though the field of special education devotes much attention to the importance of the empowerment of families, relationships between families and professionals often serve as a source of stress for both parties
The experience of service providers and families of color navigating the special education process are explored to gain a better understanding of the complex dynamics that take place between both groups within case conference meetings while negotiating the legal discourse. This dissertation utilizes a theoretical framework consisting of family systems theory, cultural competencies, and critical theories of power in society. Following qualitative methods, specifically a case study format, conversations with and observations of family members and service providers are analyzed to better understand the role power and empowerment may play in the context of special education. Major themes emerging from data explore questions such as: Have we disempowered families of color from the special education process? What does empowerment mean within the context of the special education process? What do teachers feel empowerment of families may mean within the context of the special education process? What do families feel empowerment may mean for them within the context of special education? Recommendations and implications from this research provide suggestions of best practice for K--12 service providers and teacher educators, as well as, promote various theoretical discussions
School code: 0093
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 68-03A
Subject Education, Special
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Alt Author Indiana University
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