|Keywords:||Education; English as a second language; Special education;|
|Full text PDF:||http://digital.library.temple.edu/u?/p245801coll10,370702|
Educational Leadership Ed.D. Abstract This qualitative study investigated the reasons why educators initiate referrals of ELLs for special education services in a sample of three educational organizations near a major city in a mid-Atlantic state. This study addressed how and why educator perception influenced the referral process and identification of English language learners into special education programs. The intent of the study examined how perceptions of regular education teachers, special education teachers, teachers of English as a second language, speech and language therapists, school psychologists, and principals influence the referral of ELLs for special education programs based on the commonly shared knowledge. Students receiving special education services have gone through a referral, assessment, and placement process. The special education process is initiated once a student is experiencing considerable difficulties in the general education programs despite a variety of implemented interventions. For English language learners (ELLs), low English proficiency, gaps in educational experience and cultural differences influence the referral process. The reality is teachers have a tremendous impact on who is referred for special education services and who is not referred. I employed a systematic, sequential approach while collecting data for this case study. A combination of interviews and observations provided a foundation for the collection of data. Interview participants from each district included regular education teachers, special education teachers, teachers of English as a second language, speech and language therapists, school psychologists, and principals. Board meeting observations, as well as artifact reviews, including Board policy and Administrative Regulations, were completed. The constant comparative method served as the primary mode of analysis for this case study. Brisk (1998) states that good teachers of ELLs embrace their roles as language teachers and cultural facilitators. In a 2002 National Center for Education Statistics report, it was stated 42% of teachers indicated they had ELLs in their classrooms, but only 12.5 % of the teachers received more than eight hours of professional development specifically related to ELLs. Schools have often provided support for ELLs through special education or speech and language services, relying on the common sense premise that special education support is better than no support at all (Walker, Shafter, & Iiams, 2004). The potential impact of this study may be considerable. Accountability derived from a district’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is significant. The increased presence of ELLs in our schools has the potential to create a subgroup impacting AYP. Often times, the creation of an ELL subgroup for AYP leads to the creation of a low socioeconomic subgroup for AYP. The inappropriate special education referral and resulting placement yields an increase in the special education AYP subgroup. Schools must be held accountable to educate… Advisors/Committee Members: Gross, Steven J;, Swavely, Jill, Shapiro, Joan, DuCette, Joseph;.