Term of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Teri Denlea Melton

Committee Member 1

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 2

Kymberly H. Drawdy

Abstract

Author's abstract: The purpose of this study was to understand both contributors and barriers to use of the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (SB10). Although SB10 was designed to offer parental choice of schools for students with disabilities, it has diminished the capacity of parents to access due process granted through IDEA. Perspectives in this study were provided by parents who chose to rescind their child's participation in the voucher program and parents who continued to access the voucher. Analysis of the lived experiences of parents of students with disabilities in Georgia revealed both similar and diverse experiences, perceptions and concerns regarding educating students with disabilities in private schools. Findings from current and former participants indicated major contributor themes for SB10 enrollment to be academic and demographic factors such as the perception of qualified teachers and smaller class sizes. Former participant findings indicated academic factors such as perceived lack of individual attention, specialized services, and qualified teachers to be primary reasons for rescinding SB10 enrollment. Further, the study sought to understand all parents' knowledge of information sources, types of sources available, and use of sources related to SB10 private schools. Analysis of sources of information regarding private school selection indicated that current participants sought information from internet sources. Former participants sought information from family and friends. Conclusions based upon the research indicated that parents who had continued enrollment remain satisfied with the voucher program. Although current participants reported continued satisfaction with the academic quality in SB10 private schools, only one attributed satisfaction to his or her child's academic progress. However, findings indicated that a significant percentage of SB10 students do not maintain enrollment in the program and the primary reason for rescinding participation to be academic needs. Parents who chose to return to public school and received special education services through IDEA did so based on their belief that the special services and teacher quality provided in the private school were not satisfactory. All participants in this study agreed that the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship should continue to be available even though former participants reported that it did not meet their needs.

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