Term of Award

2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Educational Administration

Committee Chair

T. C. Chan

Committee Member 1

Bryan W. Griffin

Committee Member 2

Paulette Harris

Committee Member 3

Cathy Jording

Abstract

Increased responsibility of principals for all programs, including special education, comes at a time when administrative training provides minimal information on special education programs (Malloy 1996). Even though the trend in Georgia toward more inclusive practices has resulted in a call for major changes in teacher education programs, there have been little changes requiring principals to be competent, knowledgeable, or to take coursework related to special education administration. The purpose of this study was to investigate the level of involvement of Georgia's school principals in special education service delivery in their schools. The dependent variables were three specific categories related to service delivery for students with disabilities: curriculum, personnel, and program/'administrative duties. Comparisons were made between principals' self-perceptions and those of special education teachers to investigate whether there was any difference in the perceptions of the principals' level of involvement between the two groups. This study employed the use of a survey in an attempt to investigate the extent to which Georgia's principals were involved in the delivery of special education services in their schools. A stratified random sample of principals in Georgia along with one special education teacher in the school was selected to participate in this study. Data regarding each participant's gender, number of years of experience, area of certification, and level of education were also gathered. Information concerning the number of students, the geographic location, the percentage of free and reduced lunches, and the number of students receiving special education services in each school was also collected. The analysis of data in this study revealed that principals rated their level of involvement in special education significantly higher than special education teachers. The independent variables collected from principal data revealed that principals were rated as having a higher level of involvement based on gender, education level, and experience. Education level was related to the principals' involvement in the area of personnel while gender was related to the principals' level of involvement in program/administrative duties surrounding special education. Select characteristics of the principals' schools revealed that the number of students in the school, the type of model used for the delivery of special education services, and the percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunch were related to the principals' level of involvement in special education services. The principals' level of involvement in the three areas was not related to knowledge. Several conclusions were made as a result of the findings of this study including: special education teachers and principals differ on the perceptions of the principals' level of involvement in special education service delivery; specific characteristics such as education level and gender are related to principals' perceptions of their level of involvement in special education service delivery; school characteristics such as percentage of free and reduced lunch and the number of students in the school is related to the principals' level of involvement in special education service delivery.

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