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ERIC Number: ED513417
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 321
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-1616-3
A Case Study of the Effects of the Gaskin Case on Seven School Districts in Southeastern Pennsylvania
Bell, Suzanne H.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Widener University
This qualitative study investigated the impact of the Gaskin v. Pennsylvania Department of Education Court Settlement Agreement on school districts in Southeast Pennsylvania. This class action suit was brought on behalf of students with physical, behavioral and developmental delays, their parents and eleven national organizations. The lawsuit alleged that disabled students were denied the right to a free and appropriate education in a regular classroom and that Pennsylvania's schools failed to offer a continuum of services needed to assist special needs students to function in a regular school environment. This case has had a far-reaching impact on school districts, schools and classrooms. It has had an impact on the way students are instructed, in the services they are provided and in the placements where they are assigned. This research study discovered common factors concerning the belief systems and the policies and practices that special education and pupil services directors and supervisors have employed to meet the mandates of the Gaskin Case. The information gained through this study can be shared with district and school leaders to assist them in reviewing, revising and implementing some of the successful common practices found throughout other school districts in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The information gained through ninety-minute interviews with eight special education and pupil services directors or supervisors in seven school districts and one county intermediate unit provided a wealth of comprehensive information that would not be easily acquired through other research methods. The school district participants were chosen because their districts had successfully met the least restrictive environment levels that were mandated by the state. The intermediate unit director was chosen to give a more global perspective on the actions of all the school districts in a county in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The literature review included a brief history of the Gaskin Settlement, least restrictive environment, professional development, supplemental aids and services, progress monitoring, welcoming of all students and the participants' input on factors that have contributed to the inclusion of students with special needs into the least restrictive environment. Demographic information was also included to gain a clearer perspective of the districts involved in the research in order to compare and contrast their data with other districts involved in the study. Further research could include interviews with other district stakeholders to gain their perspectives of the effects of the Gaskin Settlement in the districts. Results gleaned from this study indicate that those districts that had successfully met the mandates of the Gaskin Settlement had many factors in common. Many of the districts had begun the inclusion process before the settlement. Most of the districts had the financial support from their school boards to provide students with supports and services for special needs students. In addition, the administrators in these districts had developed an inclusive vision which included staff development and training, the parents were strong advocates for inclusion and the teachers and students had developed a strong feeling of acceptance of special needs students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania