Virginia Principals' Characteristics in Virginia School Divisions with high or no Incidences of Special Education Complaints
Newman, Kevin Darnell
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School administrators are responsible for ensuring state and federal special education laws and regulations are being implemented properly. This study examined the amount of training a Virginia school principal receives while attending principal preparation programs as well as professional development offered by their school division on how to handle any legal issues that may arise pertaining to special education. In 1975 Congress enacted the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) and amended in 1997 as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Education for All Handicapped Children Act was introduced in Congress to ensure that students with disabilities were provided the same opportunities as general education students. This legislation was later renamed IDEIA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, in 2004. A web-based survey was used to obtain information from principals in school divisions with high or no incidences of special education complaints. The survey was sent to 12 school divisions with 189 schools and 21 divisions with 189 schools respectively. The data collected from participants was analyzed with JMP software to determine patterns in principal responses based on their employment in divisions with high or no incidences of special education complaints. Statistical analysis included measures of central tendency (mean, median, and mode), frequencies, and percentages of the data collected at the state and regional level, by high or no incidence groups to determine if better prepared, more experienced, more informed principals that have had on-going training are able to administer special education programs effectively and therefore have fewer parent complaints. The results of the study indicated a need for higher education institutions (colleges and universities) to increase course offerings at the principal preparation level in the area of special education. Additionally there is a need for superintendents and division leadership to continue to develop and seek partnerships to deliver relevant ongoing professional development, as well as for principals to explore special education networking opportunities external to the division.
- Doctoral Dissertations