The intersectional gap: how bilingual students in the United States are excluded from inclusion

María Cioè-Peña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


At the onset of nearly every American civil rights movement there are two pivotal messages: the first is the group’s claims of exclusion from the life that the privileged lead and the second is a demand to be included. In all cases the first step in creating sustainable change has been the recognition that society was functioning on a multi-tiered system that grants access to some but not to all. Currently there is a civil rights movement taking place that focuses on the integration of students with diverse ability levels. In the United States this movement is called Inclusion. Unfortunately, the primary focus of inclusion is on the integration of students with disabilities; thus children who represent intersectional identities are often passed over and continually left on the margins of inclusive classrooms, schools and society. This paper will focus on a subgroup of students who are currently being left behind in this movement: bilingual special education students. Due to the fact that separate policies exist to address their linguistic and academic needs bilingual students with disabilities fall into what can be considered an intersectional gap. This paper addresses how this gap came to be as well as offering recommendations for mending it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)906-919
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2017


  • Inclusive education
  • bilingual education
  • bilingual special education
  • exclusion
  • intersectional gap
  • special education


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