As a sociologist of education, I study the social construction of disability and giftedness, and how these relate to inequality. In particular, my research examines the role of special and gifted education in stratification by race, gender, socioeconomic status, and linguistic background. 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 how parent-teacher and parent-parent relationships vary by race/ethnicity, and how social capital can support student outcomes. 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 to support diverse student populations, methods for students with low-incidence disabilities, and using classroom data for reflective practice.
- Fish, Rachel. 2019. "Standing out and Sorting in: Exploring the Role of Racial Composition in Racial Disparities in Special Education." American Educational Research Journal. Advance Online Publication.
- Shifrer, Dara, and Rachel Fish. 2019. "A Multilevel Investigation into Contextual Reliability in the Designation of Cognitive Health Conditions among US Children." Society and Mental Health. Advance Online Publication.
- 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. 2017. "A multilevel analysis of statewide disproportionality in exclusionary discipline and the identification of emotional disturbance." Education and Urban Society. Advanced Online Publication.
- 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.