The purpose of this study was (a) to identify the knowledge of special education law among administrators within a SELPA in California and (b) to identify the training needs of administrators; 65 administrators participated in this quantitative study, yielding a response rate of 84%. A survey created on the six principles of IDEA was used with administrators (principals and assistant principals) who serve approximately 42,000 students at 50 public schools. Analysis of data revealed that Hypothesis 1, which projected that 51% or more administrators would perceive their knowledge of special education law as average or better, was supported. Hypothesis 2, which predicted that 51% or more administrators would not be able to attain the 70% criterion of basic knowledge on the survey of knowledge of special education law, was supported by the findings of the study. Hypothesis 3, which anticipated a positive gap between perceived and actual knowledge of special education law for administrators, was supported. Hypothesis 4, which predicted a positive relationship between administrators' education level, position, years of experience as an administrator, and their actual knowledge of special education law, had partial support. A positive significant correlation was found between participants' current position and their total knowledge of special education law. Hypothesis 5, which anticipated a positive gap between the administrators' training needs and their actual assessed knowledge of special education law, was supported. Training areas of IDEA principles that require expanded emphasis include LRE, procedural safeguards, FAPE, evaluation, and parental participation. The results of this study will guide administrators to proactively and eagerly embrace the need to expand their knowledge, experiences, and professional acuity in special education. As for future research, effective communication and collaboration between administrators and parents should be studied in light of its impact on litigation. Additionally, a similar study, using the same survey, should be conducted with district superintendents and the results studied in light of their respective special education programs. Lastly, the field may benefit from a Delphi study utilizing a panel of experts to study and support the need for administrative training in special education.
|Advisor:||Cote, Myrna R.|
|Commitee:||Enomoto, Alan, Ryder, Marilou|
|Department:||Marybelle and S. Paul Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration, Special education|
|Keywords:||Administration, Idea, Laws, Leadership, Professional development needs, Special education|
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