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Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education
onstrating significantly poorer skills (Lochman and Dodge, 1994). This inability to appropriately solve problems, coupled with the use of coercive behaviors, makes it extremely difficult for antisocial students to attend, concentrate, and learn the basic academic skills necessary to function in school. These learning skill deficits, which often develop before school entry, cause students to have trouble moving successfully through the curriculum, because they usually need additional time and assistance to help them achieve mastery (Fuchs et al., 1993; Walker et al., 1995; Gleason et al., 1991).
The weight of the evidence reviewed above suggests that in order to have an education system in which non-Asian minority students (and disadvantaged students more generally) are not represented in disproportionately high numbers among those at the low end of the achievement distribution and in disproportionately low numbers at the high end of that distribution, efforts to support the cognitive, social, and emotional development of those children in the years before they arrive at kindergarten are critical. This is not to say that early experience sets a child on an unalterable course. We know, for example, that some schools do far better than others at promoting achievement among high-risk children (discussed in Chapter 5 ). Yet when children are exposed to many risk factors early on, promoting school success will be a much more difficult task for both the child and the school.