Teacher perceptions about the importance of parental involvement for included students with learning disabilities in New York metropolitan area Orthodox yeshivas and day schools
Grossman, Goldie Eichorn
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The population of students attending Jewish day schools includes an increasing number of students with exceptional needs. How Jewish schools meet the needs of these students is an important question. Inclusive education is a service model predicated on legal and philosophical mores as well as pedagogical and psychological findings. The quality of inclusion is contingent on multiple factors. In Jewish day schools specifically, where inclusion is most accurately understood as any and all practices featuring a child with special needs placed in a general education classroom, the role of parental involvement in supporting included students with learning disabilities is theoretically significant.;This study explored parental involvement across Epstein's six dimensions: parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating with the community (Epstein & Jansorn, 2004). Two hundred thirty two teachers in twenty-two Jewish day schools completed surveys in which they prioritized the importance of practices indicating these forms of parental involvement. The data evaluated the hypothesis that teachers recognize and value parental involvement for included students with learning disabilities in general education classrooms in Jewish day schools. It also investigated the perceived relative importance of different types of parental involvement. Finally, the data indicated correlations between demographic information and survey responses.;The survey as a whole had an acceptable reliability score of .76 (Nunnaly, 1978), but reliability measures for each of the six types of parental involvement were found to vary greatly. Because of the relatively weak reliability scores, further analyses using these six subscales were not included. Factor analyses of teachers' responses provided strong support for a two factor model, school and community involvement (SCI) and involvement with the child and the child's learning (CLI). Teachers ranked involvement with the child and child's learning as the more important form of parental involvement, and involvement with the school and community as the less important form of parental involvement. Variations in teachers' responses approached significance based on gender and certification status. Teachers' responses varied based on years of teaching experience, subject area taught, and special education training, but not based on percentage of students with LD in their classes.