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 and quasi-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.
- 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. Advance Online Publication.
- 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 (published online 2019). "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. 2019. “Teacher Race and Racial Disparities in Special Education.” Remedial and Special Education 40, 213-224.
- Fish, Rachel. 2017. “The racialized construction of exceptionality: Experimental evidence of race/ethnicity effects on teachers’ interventions.” Social Science Research 62, 317-334.
- Bal, Aydin, Jennifer Betters-Bubon, and Rachel Fish. 2019 (published online 2017). "A multilevel analysis of statewide disproportionality in exclusionary discipline and the identification of emotional disturbance." Education and Urban Society 51, 247-268..
- Miller, Hannah, Jessa Valentine, Rachel Fish and Michelle Robinson. 2016. “Is the feeling mutual?: Effects of a family engagement program on parent-teacher relationships in low-income, predominantly Latino schools.”American Journal of Education 123, 37-67.