Perceptions of special education training as viewed by northwest Missouri high school principals and Missouri university leaders
The purpose of this qualitative research project was to examine the perceptions of Northwest Missouri principals and university leaders from across the state of special education training that is received during principal preparatory graduate programs. A review of relevant literature gives background on the history of special education in the United States, the role of principals in special education, and a brief history on principal preparatory programs. Perceptions of principals regarding their own training revealed a lack of adequate preparation for leading in the area of special education. The researcher used a semi-structured interviews and focus group with principals in Northwest Missouri as well as on online survey for various university leaders. The interviews, focus group, and published courses of study from the universities produced data where three major themes evolved. The three themes included: (a) The Organization of Special Education in a Building or District, (b) The Principal’s Role in Special Education, and (c) Training of Principals Regarding Special Education. Kotter’s Change Theory was used to indicate a sense of urgency to make changes in how aspiring principals are trained regarding special education.