Implementing Positive Behavior Support in Early Childhood Through High School
Edited By Chun Zhang, Carlos McCray and Su-Je Cho
1. Factors Influencing Overrepresentation, Underachievement, and School Failure
Multiple factors influence academic achievement in school, including motivation and prior knowledge of the learner and his or her classmates, parental support, quality of the teaching, and socioeconomic status. Some factors exert direct influence, while others are more indirect. Poverty, for instance, may diminish the extent to which a learner is able to engage in instruction. Further, poverty can influence the perceptions of school personnel, an indirect consequence that has resulted in overrepresentation of special education services (SES) children in special education. Similarly, culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students who are learning English may not recognize words in a textbook—a direct influence on academic achievement—and this may lead to the indirect effect of school personnel concluding that such students are in need of SES. Indeed, CLD students are overrepresented in special education. In an effort to reduce such overrepresentation, this chapter seeks to dispel myths, stereotypes, and erroneous labels (e.g., learning disabled, speech impaired, emotionally disturbed), which have been used to explain, excuse, or ignore the poor school performance of this student population. Further, this chapter provides research-based evidence to explain phenomena such as how some students manage to overcome adversarial circumstances. They succeed with strong support systems, such as effective interventions in academics and behavior support.
Before we begin to dispel the myths, we will consider the magnitude of the problem. Its extent is evident in key findings announced by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement...
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