Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

MS in Special Education




Many students primarily those in the urban school districts are at risk of dropping out or not achieving their true academic potential. The school district used for this study, which is the poorest district of the recognized 5 biggest districts in New York State, has a dropout rate well below the statewide average (T. Harris, personal communication, March 18, 2011). The performance of its schools amounts to a barometer for the success of the city and the region. Who’s to blame? The teachers, the parents, administrators or state and federal officials who generate and promote funding and programs to the 859 districts throughout New York State. This paper will provide an in-depth investigation relating to the relationships teachers and students have that are from diverse cultural backgrounds. More importantly, the impact of these relationships on academic achievement on urban students will be investigated. The research will include the disproportionality of African Americans in special education programs, the subjective labels many children are given by teachers and medical practitioners, and the history of the public educational system regarding African Americans. Resources used for this research will include, professional journal articles, personal communications with teacher, medical practitioners and students, textbooks relating to culturally diverse teaching strategies and statistical data retrieved from reliable internet sources. Though most want personally acknowledge that they are many differences between teacher and student relationship, this continues to play a vital role in the outcome of the academic endeavor of students. As a result, all teachers and students must be aware of their own cultural biases to achieve their fullest academic and pedagogical zenith.

Included in

Education Commons