Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Reginald Leon Green

Committee Member

Jerrie L Scott

Committee Member

Janet S Robertson

Committee Member

Larry McNeal


Public laws mandating access to free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment have been in place for decades. Yet, many students with disabilities are still educated in segregated environments that fail to provide them with quality learning opportunities and supports. Inclusive practices have been implemented in many schools. However, the extent to which these practices meet the intent of the law depends on characteristics of the school leader. The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes and perceptions of school leaders in a Southeast United States public school district relative to inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting. A self-reporting survey instrument entitled the Principals and Inclusion Survey was used to collect data from 138 school principals and assistant principals. Variables selected for study included demographic factors, training and experience, attitudes toward inclusion, and perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities. Descriptive statistics, Pearson Correlations, and multiple regression were utilized to analyze the data and to answer six research questions posed by the researcher. Results from the analyses revealed that school leaders were limited in their training and experience relative to special education and inclusive practices and that their attitudes were slightly negative. While school leaders supported more inclusive placements for students with moderate disabilities, they perceived less inclusive placements were more appropriate for students with severe and profound disabilities. Results revealed a negative correlation between the training and experience and attitudes of school leaders. Results also revealed that the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities could be predicted from knowing the approximate number of students with IEPs that are included in regular education classrooms for at least 75% of their school day. Results strongly emphasize the need for quality training and experience for pre-service and practicing school leaders. Results of this study may assist school districts and university principal preparation programs in determining the type and the extent of coursework, professional development training, and practicum experiences required for pre-service and practicing school leaders to manage the daily special education challenges they face in their schools.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.