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Reading Resistance

Discourses of Exclusion in Desegregation and Inclusion Debates

Beth A. Ferri and David J. Connor

Reading Resistance confronts longstanding exclusionary practices in U.S. public schooling. Beth A. Ferri and David J. Connor trace the interconnected histories of race and disability in the public imagination through their nuanced analysis of editorial pages and other public discourses, including political cartoons and eugenics posters. By uncovering how the concept of disability was used to resegregate students of color after the historic Brown decision, the authors argue that special education has played a role in undermining school desegregation. In its critical, interdisciplinary focus on the interlocking politics of race and disability, Reading Resistance offers important contributions to educational research, theory, and policy.
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Edited by David J. Connor and Beth A. Ferri

This book purposefully connects practice to research, and vice versa, through the use of deeply personal stories in the form of autoethnographic memoirs. In this collection, twenty contributors share selected tales of teaching students with dis/abilities in K-12 settings across the USA, including tentative triumphs, frustrating failures, and a deep desire to understand the dynamics of teaching and learning. The authors also share an early awareness of significant dissonance between academic knowledge taught to them in teacher education programs and their own experiential knowledge in schools. Coming to question established practices within the field of special education in relation to the children they taught, each author grew increasingly critical of deficit-models of disability that emphasized commonplace practices of physical and social exclusion, dysfunction and disorders, repetitive remediation and punitive punishments. The authors describe how their interactions with children and youth, parents, and administrators, in the context of their classrooms and schools, influenced a shift away from the limiting discourse of special education and toward become critical special educators and/or engage with disability studies as a way to reclaim, reframe, and reimagine disability as a natural part of human diversity. Furthermore, the authors document how these early experiences in the everydayness of schooling helped ground them as teachers and later, teacher educators, who galvanized their research trajectories around studying issues of access and equality throughout educational structures and systems, while developing new theoretical models within Disability Studies in Education, aimed to impact practices and policies.