Photo of Waitoller, Federico R.

Federico R. Waitoller, PhD

Associate Professor of Special Education

Special Education


Building & Room:

3545 ETMSW


1040 W. Harrison St. (MC 147), Chicago, IL 60607

Office Phone:

(312) 413-2116


Federico R. Waitoller is an associate professor at the department of special education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on urban inclusive education and racial inequities for students with disabilities. His research agenda has two strands: teacher education for inclusive education and market-driven reforms in education.

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Selected Publications

Waitoller, F. R., & Maggin, D. (2018). Can charter schools address racial inequities evidenced in placement patterns in the least restrictive environment? A Longitudinal Study in Chicago Public Schools. Remedial and Special Education. OnlineFirst


Waitoller, F. R., Super, G. (2017).  School choice or the politics of desperation? Black and Latinx parents of students with dis/abilities selecting a charter school in Chicago. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25(55).


Waitoller, F. R., & Thorius, K. K. (2016). Cross-Pollinating Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy with Universal Design for Learning: Toward an inclusive pedagogy that accounts for student dis/ability. Harvard Educational Review,86(3), 366-389.


Artiles, A. J., Kozleski, E. B., & Waitoller, F. R. (Eds.). (2011). Inclusive education: Examining equity in five continents. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Service to Community

Through engaged scholarship, Dr. Waitoller has collaborated with and presented research findings to various stakeholders in the Chicago area, including parent and neighborhood organizations, legal advocate groups for students with disabilities, Chicago Teacher Union, and school district administrators.  He also testified in public hearings before local and national politicians. He is a member of the National Coalition for Latinx with Disabilities.


2011- PhD, Arizona State University, Tempe, Special Education

2007- MEd, University of Washington, Seattle, Special Education

2003- BA, Columbia College, Psychology

Selected Presentations

Bal, A., & Waitoller, F. R. (2018, April). Cultural Historical research on the teaching and learning of students  with  dis/abilities:  A literature  review. Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York City.


Waitoller F. R. (November, 2017).  School choice and the new racial inequities in special education. Annual Meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Los Angeles, CA.


Waitoller, F. R. (2017, June). Neoliberal inclusionism: Steering away Black and Latinx students with dis/abilities from charter schools. Disability Studies in Education Conference, Mineapolis, MN.


Waitoller, F. R. (2017, April). The irony of rigor: Understanding steering away practices in charter schools. Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Antonio, TX.


Waitoller, F. R. (2017, April). Teacher learning as curating: Professional and institutional notions of justice and inclusivity as catalysts for expansive learning. Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Antonio, TX.


Waitoller, F. R., & Thorius, K. K. (2016, April). Responsive to what? Conceptualizations of "Culture" and “Culturally Responsive” in literature on culturally responsive instruction. Annual Meeting of the Council for Exceptional Children, Saint Louis, MO.

Research Currently in Progress

With a grant from the Spencer Foundation, Dr. Waitoller is researching how parents’ of students with disabilities perceptions of urban social landscapes shapes their ability to engage the school choice market. Using a longitudinal, mixed-methods approach that merges geographical analysis and in-depth interviews, the research team will answer 3 questions:  (a) What factors are considered and are persuasive for PSWD as they construct choice sets in urban settings? (c) How are PSWD’s perceptions of such factors influenced by their physical or social location? (d) How are choice sets distributed in and across urban space?