Virtual education is expanding exponentially across the country while steeped in controversy. This dissertation analyzes parent and teacher perspectives on how four Idaho virtual schools educate students with disabilities. Two research questions examine parent roles in developing valid IEPs and providing special education services aligned to IDEA regulations. Two additional research questions inquire about strategies used by special education teachers to carry out a valid IEP process and provide appropriate special education services aligned to IDEA regulations. While the literature on virtual or special education is plentiful, information about students with disabilities in virtual schools is less prevalent. Most literature reviewed indicates a need for more research to help all educational stakeholders better understand how virtual schools can effectively serve students with disabilities while meeting IDEA regulations. The researcher chose to perform a qualitative study to capture an understanding of the phenomenon in the natural setting. The data was collected from semi-structured interviews with nine special education teachers and eight parents, researcher observations of eight IEP meetings, and document analysis of eight IEPs. The results of the study reported IEPs and special education services complied with IDEA guidelines although some areas presented challenges. Increased parent involvement was noted throughout the study and appreciated by all research participants. Lack of parental involvement was trying for students with disabilities and teachers in a virtual school, frequently leading to failing grades, truancy, and frustration. The data from this study reported both strengths and challenges faced by students, parents, and teachers working with students with disabilities in a virtual setting. Although this study provided several applications for current practice, areas for additional research are numerous. Moving forward, these students deserve all educational stakeholders working together collaboratively to meet their needs.
|Commitee:||Cook, Cyndi, Moore, Rich|
|School:||Northwest Nazarene University|
|School Location:||United States -- Idaho|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Special education, Educational technology|
|Keywords:||Online learning, Special education, Virtual education|
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