Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Special Education - General Curriculum (Ed.D)



Committee Chair

Dr. Scott Ritchie

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Natasha Thornton

Second Committee Member

Dr. Nihal Khote


This study explores the perspectives of four economically disadvantaged, Black students who have been labeled as learning disabled and placed in the Special Education program. The voices of the students interviewed are used to develop unique, first-hand understandings of the cause of disproportionality among poor, Black children in Special Education with a learning dis/ability. Results from the data collected through individual and group interviews suggest that students do not regard themselves as dis/abled as they find themselves capable of learning and executing non-academic tasks that relate to their lived reality. Therefore, I argue that a historical, and therefore systemic, devaluation of the culture of poor, Black children has led many students to be erroneously viewed and classified as incapable by the American Education System.