Date of Award

4-2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

Abstract

The question this research explores is: Do general and special education teacher biases and the socioeconomic status (through knowledge of free and reduced lunches) of students with mild disabilities affect the placement in intermediate special education programs? This study will attempt to more closely examine the relationship between students who receive free or reduced lunches and their placement in special education programs. The major benefit of this study is that the findings will hopefully create awareness and reduce any harmful biases. One urban district, one suburban district, and one rural district were examined by looking at District Report Cards. In addition, anonymous questionnaires were distributed to elementary general and special educators. Research showed that a significant, positive discrepancy exists between the number of certifications a teacher has and whether or not they feel that the socioeconomic status of a student plays a role in their placement in special education programs, the number of certifications a teacher has and whether or not they feel that students who come from lower socioeconomic families tend to have more difficulties in school, and the number of special education students a teacher works with in one day, and the number of those students who receive free or reduced lunches.

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