The utilization of mild disabilities special education teachers in elementary schools
The purpose of this exploratory study was to compare the perceptions of principals, special education administrators, and mild disabilities special education teachers about how special education teachers are used within the elementary school setting across Indiana. Surveys including two open-ended questions were sent to participants. Statistical analysis indicated there were significant differences among participants for the constructs of support, time/scheduling, and professional development issues facing mild disabilities special education teachers. Further factor analysis showed significant differences among participants for specific survey items from the roles, support, time/scheduling, and professional development data sets. Qualitative analysis revealed participants noted the following as barriers: time/scheduling, caseload, and building level expectations. Results also indicated mild disabilities special education teachers were used as: an interventionist, a team member, or a consultant. Mild disabilities special education teachers have an expanded role and there may be barriers to using them effectively. Recommendations include consideration of professional development opportunities for collaboration between general education and special education teachers, further investigation of special education teacher roles and responsibilities, and discussion of time and scheduling issues.