Secondary Educational Administrator Attitudes Toward Educating Students with Disabilities in Inclusion Settings
Type of DegreeDissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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Inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting has been a topic of debate for quite some time. Educational administrators are at the forefront of the debate because their position requires they guide their schools in inclusion practices for students with disabilities. Previous studies (Bailey, 2004; Dyal & Flynt, 1996; Praisner, 2003; Sharma & Chow, 2008) have investigate the attitudes of educational administrators and how those attitudes relate to the opportunities school administrators provide for students with disabilities. Several factors have been shown to relate to the attitudes of educational administrators toward the inclusion of students with disabilities. These factors include perceptions of teacher workload and management, inclusion benefits, level of disability, professional development, resources, and placement. In addition, previous research has shown professional and background characteristics relate to the attitudes of school administrators toward inclusion. These professional and background characteristics are gender, age, years of teaching experience, years of school administrative experience, having a special education qualification, student enrollment size, and level of school (middle school, junior high school, high school, or a combination of middle school and high school). The present study investigated the factors that have been shown to relate to educational administrator attitudes toward inclusion by conducting a survey of Alabama secondary level educational administrators. Results indicate factors that were reported by other researchers in previous studies continue to relate to educational administrator attitudes toward inclusion today. Through open ended survey items, several themes emerged in connection with perceived barriers to inclusion practices. Educational administrators report lack of funding, classroom disruptions, teacher training, achievement gap, and the type of disability as barriers to effective inclusion programs. This study revealed that teacher workload and management, inclusion benefits, level of disability, professional development, resources, and placement relate to school administrator reported attitudes toward inclusion. Professional background characteristics and demographics have also were also shown to relate to the reported attitudes of school administrators. Identifying the factors and professional characteristics that relate to school administrators attitudes could give educational policy makers and educational professionals ideas for creating educational policy and programs for special education students.