SPECIAL EDUCATION AT THE MARGINS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE: VOICES FROM THE FIELD
By now, one would tend to think that critical pedagogy would be a regular staple in disability studies in building better communities for the disabled. However, nothing can be further from the truth (Pohl, 2013). There seems to be an absent discourse and very little written, when it comes to critical pedagogy/theory and disability (see Blomgren, 1998; Gabel, 2002; Valentine, 2007; Ware, 2002). Furthermore, Valentine (2007) argues that only three percent of the empirical research published in the field of special education “examines findings across racial, ethnic, and social class line” (p. 128).
Susan Gabel (2002) and Nirmala Erevelles (2002) are against such fusion, raising the concern that critical pedagogy has not included the disabled in the discourse of liberating pedagogy, and they criticize radical theorists for not being responsive enough to people with disabilities. However, social justice advocates, such as Michael Apple (2001) and Joe Valentine (2007), argue that market-driven forces are regulating and dominating special education, as the field also becomes part of the general standardized curriculum.
Using narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 1995), this paper explores the tensions, barriers, and realities of special education in developing better communal spaces. Blomgren (1998) proposes that each special educator teacher needs take a deep and honest look inside of himself or herself, exploring his or her original desires for entering the profession. Therefore, this literature review seeks to understand how these experiences could help teachers move toward a better grasp of themselves in the classroom and the community, while challenging the possible boundaries that impeded such spiritual growth.
 Apple, M. W. (2001). Creating profits by creating failures: standards, markets, and inequality in education. Inclusion Education, 5, 103–118.
 Blomgren, R. (1998). Special education and the quest for human dignity. In H. S. Shapiro & D. E. Purpel (Eds.), Critical issues in American education: Transformation in a postmodern world (pp. 241–260). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
 Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1995). Teacher’s professional knowledge landscapes. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
 Erevelles, N. (2002). (Im)material citizens: Cognitive disability, race and the politics of citizenship. Disability, Culture and Education, 1, 5–25.
 Gabel, S. (2002). Some conceptual problems with critical pedagogy. Curriculum Inquiry, 32, 177–201.
 Pohl, B. (2013). The moral debate on special education. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
 Valentine, J. (2007). How can we transgress in the field of disabilities in urban education? In S. R. Steinberg & J. L. Kincheloe (Eds.), 19 urban questions: Teaching in the city (pp. 127–142). New York, NY: Peter Lang.
 Ware, L. (2002). A moral conversation on disability: Risking the personal in educational contexts. Hypatia, 17, 143–172.