Dr. Elizabeth Bettini, Assistant Professor in BU Wheelock’s Special Education program, is the co-editor of the August 2019 issue of Remedial & Special Education (Volume 40, Issue 4). This special issue, which was co-edited by New York University’s Dr. Audrey A. Trainor and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Dr. LaRon A. Scott, focuses on racial/ethnic diversity in the special education teacher workforce.
Titled “A Necessary Step in Pursuit of Equity: Developing a Racially/Ethnically Diverse Special Education Teaching Force,” the issue collects recent theorhetical and empirical research addressing equity in the preparation of a racially/ethnically diverse special education teaching force. The issue includes the following articles:
- “Teacher Racial/Ethnic Diversity: Distribution of Special and General Educators of Color Across Schools,” by
Bonnie S. Billingsley, Elizabeth A. Bettini, and Thomas O. Williams
- “Teacher Race and Racial Disparities in Special Education,” by Rachel Elizabeth Fish
- “Same-Race Student–Teacher: Comparing Outcomes for Kindergartners With and Without Disabilities,” by Michael A. Gottfried, J. Jacob Kirksey, and Adam Wright
- “Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Black Male Special Education Teachers,” by LaRon A. Scott and Quentin Alexander
- “Special Education Preservice Teachers, Intersectional Diversity, and the Privileging of Emerging Professional Identities,” by Mildred Boveda and Brittany A. Aronson
- “Diversity Issues and the Special Education Teaching Force: Advancing the Discussion,” Deborah L. Voltz
In their abstract, the co-editors express that the purpose of the special issue is to “open a conversation about equity as it pertains to special education teachers, including both students’ equitable access to special education teachers who share their racial/ethnic and/or cultural background and prospective special educators’ equitable access to the profession.”
The co-editors note that the issue “may introduce more questions than answers,” but point out that such questions “have been circulating across other disciplines of education research for far longer.” They call for special education to be part of this conversation, and express hope that the articles selected for inclusion “begin to set the direction of future research, policy, and practice necessary for substantively improving students’ equitable access to special educators who represent their community, and prospective special educators’ access to the profession of teaching.”
In an important section of their introduction, the co-authors detail their approach to the topic of race in special education. Within their decision to focus on racial/ethnic diversity, and across articles that address PK-12 service delivery, teacher preparation, or retention of racially/ethnically diverse educators, they identify “the pursuit of equitable learning opportunities, for both students and prospective teachers” as a clear goal of the issue’s collected research.:
“Elevating equity as a theme of the special issue allowed us to sharpen authors’ collective focus on diversity and the purpose of recruiting special educators from across racial/ethnic groups. An equity focus expands the discussion to include the intersection of race/ethnicity, disability, gender, and class, as well as the intersection of identity and experience, making it a prominent, unifying theme.”
Remedial and Special Education has published Dr. Bettini frequently over the past few years. The citations below document these publications:
Bettini, E., Benedict, A., Thomas, R., Kimerling, J., Choi, N., & McLeskey, J. (2017). Cultivating a community of effective special educators: Local special education administrators’ roles. Remedial and Special Education, 38, 111-126. (Reported on here.)
Bettini, E., Jones, N. D., Brownell, M. T., Conroy, M., Park, Y., Leite, W., Crockett, J., & Benedict, A. E. (2017). Workload manageability among novice special and general educators: Relationships with emotional exhaustion and career intentions. Remedial and Special Education, 38, 246 – 256.
Mason-Williams, L., Bettini, E., & Gagnon, J. (2017). Access to qualified special educators across elementary neighborhood and exclusionary schools. Remedial and Special Education, 38, 297 – 307. (Reported on here.)
Bettini, E., Wang, J., Cumming, M., Kimerling, J., & Schutz, S.* (2019). Special educators’ experiences of roles and responsibilities in self-contained classes for students with emotional/behavioral disorders. Remedial and Special Education, 40, 177 – 191.
Trainor, A. A., Bettini, E., Scott, L. A. (2019). Introduction to the special issue. A necessary step in pursuit of equity: Developing a racially/ethnically diverse special education teaching force. Remedial and Special Education, 40, 195 – 198.
Billingsley, B., Bettini, E., & Williams, T. O. (2019). Teacher diversity in special and general education: Composition and distribution of teachers of color across schools. Remedial and Special Education, 40, 199-212.