Dissertation

Teachers' attitudes, capacity, and preparation in implementing laws promoting equity for students with 504 plans

504 plans are legally mandated accommodations for students with qualifying disabilities in public schools. This mixed methods study examines teachers' experiences and perceptions of implementing Section 504 plans in one California school district, called Redbud. This research addresses concerns related to the aims of the inclusion mandate as promised under Section 504. In particular, it focuses on concern for students with a Section 504 plan who are educated in a general education (GE) classroom by teachers without Special Education (SPED) credentials. While inclusion is the optimal goal in our public school classrooms, this study explores how GE teachers work with limited training, resources, funding, and support despite growing numbers of students with disabilities. Thus, this dissertation studies GE teachers' perceptions and experiences with Section 504 plan implementation, exploring their attitudes, capacity, and preparation. Teachers surveyed in Redbud convey their levels of comfort in teaching students who have a 504 plan as well as their perception of parents who utilize 504 services. Data reveals that about a third of the teachers feel that 504 plans are unnecessarily provided while almost half of the teachers indicate that 504 plans are not provided for all of the students who need them. Disability Studies in Education and Lipsky's SLB are used as theoretical models.

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