School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Beth Ackerman


African American, Black Males, Overrepresentation, Referral, Special Education, Stakeholder


Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Disability and Equity in Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Secondary Education and Teaching | Special Education and Teaching | Teacher Education and Professional Development


The purpose of this causal comparative study is to contribute to the understanding of Critical Race Theory by using a parametric test to compare the independent variable of human characteristics to the dependent variables of Administrative, Cultural, and Environmental/ Hereditary (ACE) factors to develop a picture of parents'/guardians' and educators' attitudes about factors that may explain the overrepresentation of Black males in special education programs. A total of 162 participants completed a self-reporting demographic characteristic survey and the Gresham survey to provide information on the attitudes towards the administrative, cultural, and environmental/hereditary factors that may be correlated with the overrepresentation of Black males in special education, as perceived by each stakeholder group. Participants were drawn from the sample of Black, male, high school students' parents/guardians and educators from 10 high schools within School System A in the metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia area. Parents/guardians included those stakeholders responsible for making legal decisions and supervising students' overall living. Those selected from the educator stakeholder group consisted of tutors, school teachers, and administrators. The results of this study indicated that there are significant differences on the administrative and cultural factors between the gender, age, ethnicity, and type of stakeholder, within the decision process of referring Black males to special education, which may ultimately lead to the overrepresentation of the Black male student in special education programs. The study may have implications for special education, as the insights provided from the data may indicate opportunities for additional training, teacher preparation, or evaluation and placement processes for special education.