Date of Award

8-1992

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Arthur Smith

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of teachers toward special education students and toward integrating them into regular classrooms.

The subjects involved were 269 teachers from an upstate New York suburban school district. Of those 269 subjects, 247 were regular education teachers and 22 were special education teachers. They were from nine different schools within the district (5 elementary, 2 middle schools, and 2 high schools).

There were two different surveys used in this study, one for regular education teachers and one for special education teachers. They were asked to fill out the survey anonymously and choose the response (from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree") that best reflects their feeling about the statement. A space for teacher comments was also provided.

The findings reveal that 63% of the regular classroom teachers and 77% of the special education teachers believe that special education students do benefit from being in a regular classroom. However, regular classroom teachers are concerned with class size, inadequate teacher training, increased demands on the classroom teacher, lack of time, and the lack of in-class support. They fear their classrooms will becoming a "dumping ground" for all special education students, and they suspect that the movement toward educational integration is really a cost-cutting measure designed to eventually eliminate special education teachers and therefore their support system. Many fears, resentments, concerns, and frustrations impact upon the attitudes of classroom teachers.

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