When labeling leads to revenue generation



Title When labeling leads to revenue generation: a socio-cultural analysis of the dark side of funding protocols
Author(s) J. Timothy Goddard, Rosemary Y. Foster
Journal Exceptionality Education Canada
Date 2006
Volume 16
Issue 1
Start page 45
End page 69
Abstract In this paper we examine the contention that many schools and school boards use funding generated from testing and coding of students with special needs as a means of augmenting general operating revenues. As a result, students with special needs do not receive the full benefit of the monies received for individualized programs. The article draws upon empirical studies conducted in four Albertan schools. First we describe the climate of accountability that exists in the province, and then we consider both demographic changes and the normalization of coding practices that are happening in Alberta. Following a discussion of social and cultural capital theory, we introduce the four schools, which are drawn from three distinct environments: northern, rural, and urban. We then discuss our findings, focusing especially on unproblematized coding practices and the challenges of special education. We conclude by arguing that educators need to resist the tendency for elements of political and economic capital to dominate those of social and cultural capital, and echo Starratt's (2003) call for the development of a climate of care and responsiveness in schools.

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