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Rachel Fish

Assistant Professor of Special Education

Teaching and Learning

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.

Selected Publications


Special Education

Learn to develop child-centered educational environments for students of all abilities and gain firsthand teaching experience with diverse student populations.

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