Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)



First Advisor

Susan O'Connor

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Mason Ankeny


The purpose of this qualitative sfudy was to understand the ways in which students of color perceive their schooling. This study focused specifically on the experiences of students of color enrolled in special education and aimed to explore the degree to which these particular students are affected by the dominant ideologies pervasive within the field of education and the influence of larger social, political and economic systems. This case study was conducted with three students who received special education services in a public middle school in a large urban district in the Midwest. Data was gathered through observations, field notes, as well as student interviews. Data was collected with the intent to qualify students' views and experiences in special education. These experiences included, but were not limited to, the ways in which they understood their educational setting and mandatory curriculum, as well how they perceived their placement in special education and the purpose and outcome of their schooling. The results indicated that the student participants internalized the exclusivity and suggested inadequacies inherent in their special education setting and concluded that the prescribed curriculum was oppressive and limiting.


SC 11.MAE.2015.Yarbrough.EO