Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel U. Levine


This study investigates the perceptions of principals, and regular and special education teachers working in public elementary schools in Nebraska relative to the inclusion of students with learning disabilities in regular education classrooms. An Inclusion Perceptions Survey, developed for this research, was mailed to 50 principals, 75 special educators, and 546 regular educators, a randomly selected sample representing approximately 5% of the Nebraska populations of these professional groups. The overall response rate was 47%, yielding 318 surveys for analysis. Results demonstrated statistically significant differences in the perceptions of principals and regular educators and of special educators and regular educators with regard to the effectiveness of and supports for current inclusive practices, and, to a lesser degree, for ideal practices. Principals and special educators tended to be more positive about both the effectiveness of inclusion and the supports and resources provided to the regular teacher with learning disabled students included in his/her classroom. There were also statistically significant differences in the perceptions of respondents from rural vs. urban settings, those with dual or special education vs. regular education endorsements, and those with over 20 years of teaching experience vs. those with less than 8 years. The 70 survey items were subjected to factor analyses which yielded two factors for variables dealing with current inclusion practices and two for variables dealing with ideal practices. Multiple analysis of variance procedures demonstrated that the signficant differences in subpopulations of demographic variables which emerged for survey items were also present for factors. Differences by assignment followed a pattern of correlations with factors similar to its pattern for survey items. Recommendations for cultivating more harmonious perceptions of inclusion among principals, and regular and special educators include the establishment of participatory decision-making, ongoing staff development, and a system of accountability for outcomes for students with learning disabilities.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 1998 Linda S. Wanzenried.

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