Term of Award

Summer 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Terry Diamanduros

Committee Member 1

Cordelia Zinskie

Committee Member 2

Barbara Mallory

Committee Member 3

Margaret LaMontagne

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the role of the special education director in implementing policies, procedures, and practices to address disproportionality. Georgia special education directors’ responses to a survey questionnaire and in-depth interviews were utilized to examine and describe the role of special education directors. Sixty special education directors in the state of Georgia rated the existence of various policies, procedures, and practices within their systems then identified their role and level of involvement in these same policies, procedures, and practices. Interviews were also conducted with eight special education directors to provide qualitative data. Georgia special education directors reported moderate levels of existence for policies, procedures, and practices within their systems, but rated most highly the existence of system procedures for nondiscriminatory assessment and decision-making, and fair, nondiscriminatory eligibility when compared to other categories. Low levels of involvement in system policies were reflected in special education directors’ responses when compared to their involvement in procedures and practices at the local level. Georgia special education directors reported moderately high levels of involvement with diversity-focused professional development system practices and procedures for fair and nondiscriminatory assessment and eligibility decision2 making. Overall, Georgia special education directors reported serving a leading role in aspects of their job that require specialized knowledge unique to their field. The legal/compliance role was highlight in regard to development and implementation of system procedures and practices to address disproportionality. Additional findings from the study indicated that special education directors do have an important role to play in addressing disproportionality, but that this role is clearly more administrative and managerial in nature and might best be defined within a limited range of system procedures and practices. The role of Georgia special education directors is not far removed from the traditional role of special education directors as identified in the literature.

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