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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education by Jawanza Kunjufu

Full of good advice about ALL boys and special education

Jawanza Kunjufu
While Jawanza Kunjufu, an author of nearly two dozen books, writes primarily for an African-American audience, Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education is full of good observations about boys in special education in general.

There is a growing concern about the number of boys in special education as compared to girls. Kunjufu joins more established authors such as Christina Hoff Sommers ('The War Against Boys') and Michael Guiran ('Boys and Girls Learn Differently') in pointing out that there is something wrong out there in the world of education as far as boys are concerned.

Kunjufu gives wonderful advice about the questions parents should ask if they are brought in to the school to discuss placing their student into special education. His suggestions include signing nothing until you completely understand it, insisting on seeing what modifications have been done up to this point (unfortunately, some teachers have the reputation of referring every student who does not learn quickly from that teacher's ONE teaching style for special education services) and asking for a different assessment test (it is your right) - scores can vary widely from one test to the next.

His best advice comes in the area of the IEP, or Individualized Education Plan. All special education students must have one and most are vague. He insists on specificity and the book is worth the purchase price just for this chapter alone - both for the prospective special education parent and the special education teacher.

Kunjufu's target audience is African-American, as I've already said. I am not, so some passages were not really aimed at me. I was not comfortable with Kunjufu's seemingly equating inner-city poverty with African-American culture in general. As he points out in the beginning of the book, that this is a stereotype. However, he reinforces that stereotype over and over again. It could be that he is really targeting that segment of the African-American population... Like I said, I don't know.

Regardless of my comfort level with certain passages, this is a must read if your student is being referred for special edcuation services. It is a quick and practical read with a clear table of contents to get you quickly to the IEP and Parent Empowerment sections and room for notes in the back.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on June 20, 2006.

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