Date of Award

Fall 12-2008

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Research

Committee Chair

Kyna Shelley

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

Frances Karnes

Committee Member 2 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 3

Rose Jones

Committee Member 3 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 4

David Daves

Committee Member 4 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education


This correlational study was designed to determine the relationship between the principals' knowledge of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and their implementation of special education services, as well as to determine if there was a relationship between principals' knowledge of IDEA and their beliefs and practices; experience, training, and demographic characteristics. The respondents, principals in New Orleans area schools, were divided into three groups: charter, city/district, and state operated. Their knowledge of IDEA was measured using a survey instrument developed by Wakeman (2005) and Copenhagen (2005). It also included a small section on specific characteristics of the principals assigned to New Orleans schools. Of the groups, 52% were not principals in schools in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina and the majority of the principals had 1 to 5 years experience. The ANOVA results indicated there was significant difference in knowledge of IDEA between the type school districts. The Pearson correlation calculated on beliefs and practices of the principals, when measured against their knowledge of IDEA, showed beliefs had a weak correlation that was not significant. However, the results indicated their self-reported practices had a significant relationship to their knowledge of IDEA. The correlation between belief and practice was also significant. The regression model showed no significant relationship to training, personal experience or school demographics as predictors of knowledge of IDEA.