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ERIC Number: ED528152
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 139
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1245-7350-2
Teaching All of God's Children: Attitudes of Catholic School Principals towards Children with Disabilities
Huppe, Maureen A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Kansas
Nationally, a significant number of children with disabilities attend Catholic schools across the country. The National Center for Educational Statistics shows that during the 2001-2002 school year, 2.2% of students attending parochial, private and diocesan schools were placed into special education programs (U.S., 2001). Although Catholic schools are not mandated to accept students with disabilities, the acceptance by the Catholic Church of these students is consistent with Church teachings. The purpose of this study was to advance the knowledge and understanding of the extent to which Catholic schools in Kansas include students with disabilities, the provisions provided for these students, the type of students served in each of the disability categories, and the attitudes of the principals toward inclusion of students with disabilities in their schools. Additionally, the study examined the influence of principals' attitudes on the principals' placement recommendations and services provided. A survey was used to collect information from 115 Kansas Catholic elementary and high schools. Responses were received from 71 of the 115 schools (67%). The survey was divided into six sections which included: school demographics, services provided, principals' characteristics, experiences, placement recommendations and attitudes towards inclusion of students with disabilities in general and specifically in Catholic schools. Analyses of the data were obtained by running descriptive statistics and ANOVAs. The results of the study revealed that 97.2% of the Catholic schools in Kansas enroll students with disabilities in their schools. Surprisingly, 55% of the Catholic schools reported having 1-3 certified special education teachers on their staff. Catholic schools in Kansas serve students in each of the disability categories. Enrolling students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (including Down Syndrome) resulted in a mixed response from principals with 33.8% having currently or previously enrolled these students to 47.7% never enrolled but would if asked to 18.5% stated they would not enroll students with this disability. The principals in the study were more reluctant to enroll students in the disability categories of blindness/visually impaired, multiple disabilities, and especially traumatic brain injured/neurological impairments with 41.5% stating they would not enroll students in this category. The local education agency plays an integral part in providing services for students enrolled in Catholic schools. 94.3% of the principals reported that they receive services from the LEA for the students with disabilities enrolled in their schools. 61% provide services in the general education classroom from a teacher assistant and 45% of the schools provide supplemental services such as: speech, physical therapy, and occupational therapy within their schools. The principals' attitudes were measured using two different scales, one looking at the overall general attitudes towards inclusion and the other more specifically attitudes toward inclusion in Catholic schools. Overall, the principals in the study reported a positive attitude toward inclusion of students with disabilities with a mean attitude score of 2.84. When asked the question of how they felt about the inclusion of students with disabilities in Catholic schools, the response was even more positive with a mean attitude score of 4.27. Of the responding schools 86% of the principals stated that students with disabilities should not be placed in public schools but should remain enrolled in the Catholic schools. The study also revealed that the more severe the disability and the more aggressive the student the less likely principals are to include these students in the regular Catholic school classroom. Recommendations for further research and implications for Catholic schools are included. [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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kansas