Educating the Learning Disabled: Federal Regulation and the Process of Implementation
This thesis addresses several questions in relation to the implementation and interpretation of the federal policy for educating the learning disabled, The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). The central research question is how federal legislation comes down to the district and schools and how it is reflected in the classroom through different mainstreaming/inclusion programs. These issues were investigated through a case study of the implementation of federal regulations for learning disabled students in Cleveland School District. Data was collected through interviews with the district supervisor for learning disabilities as well as principals, teachers and students in two schools within learning disabled programs. Classroom observations were used to see how the policy was reflected in the classroom. Findings showed that there are several discrepancies in the implementation of the law and that a lack of district and state guidance on how to implement policy allows for a variety of different structures to evolve at the school level. Lack of support for the teachers also has an impact on the effectiveness of implementation and the academic success that many LD students can experience in the regular classroom. Suggestions for future research includes carrying out a study on a much larger scale to see how abundant these situations are and what factors affect implementation across districts and states. More significance can also be placed on what needs exists at the school level for successful implementation and how these can be incorporated into policy initiatives.
© Copyright 1997 Kelly A. James