Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Thomas P. Lombardi.


The national reform agenda charges schools to address the needs of all students. Unlike prior movements these reform goals have influenced the broader context of education's activities to embrace the principle and practices invested in the Individual with Disabilities Education Act. In response states have developed policies that promote inclusive education. Yet despite these initiatives, students with disabilities continue to receive limited attention in the school reform literature. The purpose of this study was to examine how these contexts of reform serve special education's interests.;Using a multiple case design this study examined the relationship between the school's inclusion level and their site based management participatory characteristics. Four case sites were participants: two had a high percentage of student receiving special education services and two had a low percentage as determined by state records. The study used four data collection strategies at each site: observation, content integration plan analysis, teacher survey, and teacher interview. A pattern-matching analysis developed four case study profiles by examining the embedded units within each case. The study then treated each case as units of analysis to inform a larger case. This pattern-matching examination determined if a predicted pattern was produced (i.e., whether schools with higher perceived participatory role in decision making achieve a different level of inclusive practices then that of schools with lower perceived participatory role in decision making).;The impetus for change was largely attributed to how the larger system initially redefined the teachers' positions within the organization. Faculty senates in schools with higher levels of integration made different types of decisions than that of faculty senates in schools with lower levels of integration. They had fewer faculty senate committees, spent a majority of their meeting time in discussion with the principal, and engaged in decision making regarding teacher related concerns. Faculty senates in schools with lower levels of integration had more faculty senate committees, spent their meeting time discussing teacher driven proposals, and engaged in decision making regarding student related concerns.