School Psychology Forum

Encouraging Racial and Social Justice
Volume 10, Issue 3 (Fall 2016)

Editor: Steven R. Shaw

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  • Introduction to the Special Issue: Encouraging Racial and Social Justice Throughout the Pre-K to Graduate School Pipeline

    By Sherrie L. Proctor

    pp. 233–236

    ABSTRACT: Racial and social(in)justice issues continue to exist in U.S. educational institutions. Despite this, school psychology research rarely addresses issues related to racial justice. Further, the emergence of social justice discourse and research is fairly recent in school psychology. The purpose of this special issue is to present conceptual articles and research studies that use racial and social justice frameworks to encourage equity for racially and ethnically diverse students in U.S. educational institutions. The introduction discusses issues relevant to racially and ethnically diverse students in U.S. educational institutions, defines racial and social justice, and briefly details the focus of each article along with how it furthers school psychology practice using racial and social justice frames.

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  • Promoting Equity for Our Nation’s Youngest Students: School Psychologists as Agents of Social Justice in Early Childhood Settings

    By Kizzy Albritton, Karla Anhalt, & Nicole Patton Terry

    pp. 237-250

    ABSTRACT: Achievement and disciplinary inequities between students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds and their White peers have been documented for decades in U.S. public schools. Researchers have documented that some racially and ethnically diverse students enter school with weaker academic skills than their White counterparts. Further, recent reports show inequities in disciplinary sanctions as early as preschool, with Black students experiencing significantly higher rates of suspension than their White peers(U.S. Department of Education, 2014). Several early childhood initiatives have been developed to address these educational disparities. Access to these initiatives, which include high-quality early childhood programs, is often limited for racially and ethnically diverse children. This article reviews preschool achievement and discipline disparities data, the status of early childhood initiatives in the United States, and implications for school psychologists as agents of social justice in early childhood settings.

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  • Bullying Prevention as a Social Justice Issue: Implications With Asian American Elementary School Students

    By Cixin Wang, Weimeng Wang, Lianzhe Zheng, & Kavita Atwal

    pp. 251–264

    ABSTRACT: This study examined Asian American elementary students’ experience with victimization. Data were collected from 313 fourth and fifth graders from an ethnically diverse elementary school in southern California. Most participants self-identified as Asian/Asian American and spoke an Asian language at home. Results indicated that Asian American students did not differ from non–Asian American peers on the frequency of victimization. However, respect for diversity was a significant predictor for victimization for Asian American students, but not for non–Asian American students. Furthermore, a larger percentage of the Asian American students attributed the reasons for their victimization to cultural differences, including language, the model minority myth, physical appearance, and poor performance in sports compared to non–Asian American students. Results suggest that discrimination is a salient factor contributing to Asian American students’ experience with victimization. Implications focus on how school psychologists can be advocates for victims and design school-based bullying prevention programs.

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  • Access and Equity Denied: Key Theories for School Psychologists to Consider When Assessing Black and Hispanic Students for Gifted Education

    By Donna Y. Ford, Brian L. Wright, Ahmad Washington, & Malik S. Henfield

    pp. 265–277

    ABSTRACT: Black and Hispanic students are consistently underrepresented in gifted education. Several factors contribute to their low identification and lack of access to such programs and services. While teacher underreferral is a significant contributing factor, problematic also is testing and assessment, which is often administered by school psychologists. In this article, we touch on testing issues but devote more attention to key theories for school psychologists to consider when assessing, evaluating, collaborating, and making recommendations regarding Black and Hispanic students for gifted education.

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  • The Shield or the Sword? Revisiting the Debate on Racial Disproportionality in Special Education and Implications for School Psychologists

    By Amanda L. Sullivan & Sherrie L. Proctor

    pp. 278–288

    ABSTRACT: Scholars in special education and school psychology are engaged in renewed debate about the disproportionate representation of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in special education following research and commentaries challenging long held assumptions that many students are inappropriately identified with special needs. A brief synthesis of disproportionality scholarship, federal policy, and related research, followed by discussion of the implications for school psychological practice from an orientation toward racial justice, is provided. A more deeply contextualized review of the special education research is offered, recognizing the relations of disproportionality to research on other educational inequities and the questionable effectiveness of both general and special education services for many students. A racial justice perspective is encouraged that reconciles these controversial literatures by emphasizing ecological orientation to understanding development and behavior, challenging the essentializing race and student performance, and focusing on professional efforts to improve preventative general education services and reliable identification of special needs.

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  • Early Warning Signs: Identifying Opportunities to Disrupt Racial Inequities in School Discipline Through Data- Based Decision Making

    By Jamilia J. Blake, Anne Gregory, Marlon James, & Gwen Webb Hasan

    pp. 289–306

    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to demonstrate how school psychologists can proactively address disparities in school suspension through the examination of office discipline referrals(ODR). Results of two studies examining high school ODRs suggest that there is value in school psychologists disaggregating and analyzing ODRs at the school level and at the teacher and student level. Findings indicate that sampled teachers issued ODRs predominantly for missed classes and defiance. High referring teachers issued more ODRs earlier on in the school year than their colleagues and at greater rates for Black and Hispanic students than White students. Implications for school psychologists’ promotion and engagement in culturally responsive service delivery are discussed.

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  • "Why Not Me?" College Enrollment and Persistence of High-Achieving First-Generation Latino College Students

    By Desiree' Vega

    pp. 307–320

    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the college-going experiences of 10 high-achieving first-generation Latino college juniors and seniors at a Hispanic-Serving Institution in the southwest. Despite facing barriers, many firstgeneration Latino students succeed in attending and completing their postsecondary education. Yet, minimal research exists to document these students’ success stories. This study explored participants’ perceptions of their decisions to attend college and motivation to persist in college. Results revealed four main themes: academic rigor, support networks, internal motivation, and responsibility as a first-generation college student. Recommendations for school psychologists working at the secondary level are provided to address inequities in postsecondary attendance among first-generation Latino students.

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  • Racial Microaggressions and School Psychology Students: Who Gets Targeted and How Intern Supervisors Can Facilitate Racial Justice

    By Sherrie L. Proctor, Jennifer Kyle, Cindy Lau, Keren Fefer, & Jessica Fischetti

    pp. 321–336

    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate ethnically and racially diverse school psychology students’ experiences with racial microaggressions in school psychology graduate training. Through a national survey of ethnically and racially diverse school psychology students(N 5 228), the study examined if level of graduate training (i.e., interns versus noninterns) affects diverse ethnic and racial groups and their experience of workplace and school microaggressions. Although the experience of racial microaggressions was not found dependent on level of graduate training, there was a main effect for ethnic and racial group classification and the significant difference in the means of racial microaggressions were between Black and multiethnic participants. Across all groups, Black interns reported experiencing the highest frequency of workplace and school microaggressions. Implications for university- and field-based intern supervisors regarding addressing racial microaggressions are provided.

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  • Commentary: School Psychologists as Advocates for Racial Justice and Social Justice: Some Proposed Steps

    By David Shriberg

    pp. 337–339

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