Old Hickory, TN – Dr. Carole de Casal has dedicated her life to civil rights in education as an advocate for children who are underrepresented, disenfranchised or treated differently in schools and universities.
“Every one of our children needs support,” says Dr. de Casal. “My job is to prepare school administrators, the community, and parents to understand how to work with these children and how to help their teachers understand what their obligations to those children are.”
Dr. de Casal advocates on behalf of second-language children, disabled children, as well as students who are second-language and disabled.
“You have to meet the needs of the students where they are,” says Dr. de Casal. “You cannot give them a cookie-cutter approach.”
According to Dr. de Casal, educators often struggle to identify these students and direct them toward the right services.
“Because there are no direct federal dollars for a child who is second-language to be served in the public schools, they frequently second-language children into special education and call them "speech impaired" to receive the federal funds to serve them,” explains Dr. de Casal. “That is not just unethical, but wholly illegal. The children are perceived and treated as impaired, when the reality is the better the first language foundations are, the easier it's going to be for them to learn English.”
As a Professor at Tennessee State University, Dr. de Casal teaches graduate students from all over the world to prepare them for what they need to know to ensure the best education for their students and for their community.