Title

Attitudes of School Personnel In South Mississippi Toward Inclusion of Students With Disabilities

Date of Award

1995

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

First Advisor

James A. Siders

Advisor Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Abstract

Educational reform has brought many changes to the field of education and particularly to special education. Inclusion, as with all new ideas and movements, has stirred controversy in the professional community, intensifying the debate over integrated programming and most appropriate means for delivering special education services. As service delivery changes, school personnel must consider attitudes as an integral factor in the change process. Positive attitudes enable educators to embrace human differences, appreciate diverse student characteristics, and develop more appropriate services and outcomes for all. Ultimately, school personnel at the local level will decide the fate of inclusion. The purpose of the present study was to assess the current attitudes of school personnel (special education/service providers, regular education teachers, and administrators) toward inclusion. The participants were asked to indicate their level of agreement with 38 statements about inclusion. The results of statistical analyses indicate that educators' attitudes toward a specific innovation such as inclusion are intricately related to a number of variables. Three factors (Theoretical Benefits and Challenges, Traditional Barriers and Challenges, and Collaboration and Teaming) emerged as salient variables in the Attitude Toward Inclusion Instrument used in the present study. The variables of level and type of certification, self-perceived level of expertise in inclusion, current instructional position, and amount of training in inclusion were found to be functional predictors of positive attitudes toward inclusion.