Date of Award

Spring 5-2011

Degree Type



The public school educational system in New York City, especially in lower-income neighborhoods, has long been suffering form under funding and budget cuts which lead to important and vital programs being removed or merged, larger classroom sized and general downsizing of schools, including staff. Students of minority groups, Latinos as a focal point of this research, are often misplaced in programs or have certain needs neglected all together. The present study will attempt to demonstrate how this neglect is prevalent using George J. Werdan III, or PS MS 20 as a case study (an elementary school located in the Bronx)––with the focus being placed on the K5 classroom–– and some new "alternatives" that are being practiced. Latino students who are in need of either ESL (English as second language) or special needs services often times do not receive them or the needs are rejected and stigmatized by the parents and/or community. The present study will attempt to demonstrate how kindergarten students who belong in an ESL classroom are misplaced in a a special education classroom because the language and cultural barrier is seen as a learning disability. The present study will also attempt to demonstration how such labels as "special education" are seen as negative and stigmatized in the Latino community through conducted interviews of parents and teachers from PS MS 20. The results indicated that such perceived stigma does indeed exist, thus leading to parents resisting and/or not seeking proper services for their children.