Empirically based components related to students with disabilities in tier I research institutions' educational administration preparation programs

Date
2010-05
Authors
Cusson, Megan Melanie
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Abstract

The passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975 gave the public schools a clear responsibility to appropriately educate students with disabilities. This responsibility emerged from a combination of philosophy, law, policy, and procedures oriented towards the "normalization" of services to persons with disabilities. These services have developed as a general responsibility of the whole system and not as a separate component of the educational enterprise. In order to meet federal mandates, the complementary disciplines of general and special education leadership have had to integrate or link, in order to address the responsibility for the delivery of services to students with disabilities. In doing so, general education administrators have become responsible for the education and success of all students, including those students with disabilities. Yet, many of these administrators have not been prepared or trained to serve special population groups, so their task of educating all students becomes more complex. A literature synthesis suggested 12 components that all educational administrators should be trained in to serve students with disabilities: (a) relationship building and communication; (b) leadership and vision; (c) budget and capital; (d) laws and policies; (e) curriculum and instruction; (f) personnel; (g) evaluation of data, programs, students, and teachers; (h) collaboration and consultation; (i) special education programming; (j) organization; (k) professional development; and (l) advocacy. To determine if such training is occurring in elite institutions, 293 professors at University Council for Educational Administration member institutions completed an online survey. Results indicated that relationship building and communication as well as leadership and vision were being taught at the highest percentages. The components of budget and capital, advocacy, and special education programming were incorporated the least. Interestingly, the results showed that the component being required learning in the institution's program or the professor believing the component to be essential for future administrators had little impact on whether it was taught. The major factors in professors regularly teaching a component was their expertise in the area and whether it was part of their research agenda.

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