As a sociologist of education, I study the racialized and gendered constructions of disability and giftedness, how these processes are shaped by school context, and how they relate to educational inequality. I use multiple methods, including experimental methods, observational data analyses, and interviews, to understand how students are sorted into special and gifted education programs, and how these services ameliorate and exacerbate inequalities. In another line of research, I focus on social capital in schools, examining relations among teachers, families, and administrations, and how these relations are shaped by—and shape—inequality by race/ethnicity, class, gender, and disability. I received my Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, my M.A.T. in Special Education from Western New Mexico University, and my A.B. in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College.
Prior to joining NYU, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Notre Dame's Center for Research on Educational Opportunity. I also taught students with disabilities in northwestern New Mexico for five years.
At NYU, I teach classes to students preparing to become special education teachers, including methods for teaching for racial justice, methods for students with low-incidence disabilities, and using classroom data for reflective practice.
***If you do not have institutional access to my publications, I am happy to provide you with a copy***
- Fish, Rachel. 2022. “Stratified Medicalization of Schooling Difficulties.” Social Science & Medicine.
- Fish, Rachel, David Rangel, Nellie De Arcos, and Olivia Friend. 2023. “Inequality in the Schooling Experiences of Disabled Children and their Families during COVID-19.” Research in Social Sciences and Disability Volume 13: Disability in the Time of Pandemic.
- Geven, Sarah, Øyvind N Wiborg, Rachel Fish, and Herman van de Werfhorst. 2021. “How teachers form educational expectations for students: a comparative factorial survey experiment in three institutional contexts.” Social Science Research 100.
- Fish, Rachel. 2019. "Standing out and Sorting in: Exploring the Role of Racial Composition in Racial Disparities in Special Education." American Educational Research Journal 56, 2573-2608.
- Shifrer, Dara, and Rachel Fish. 2020. "A Multilevel Investigation into Contextual Reliability in the Designation of Cognitive Health Conditions among US Children." Society and Mental Health 10, 180-197.
- Fish, Rachel. 2017. “The racialized construction of exceptionality: Experimental evidence of race/ethnicity effects on teachers’ interventions.” Social Science Research 62, 317-334.