Differentiated concerns of principals regarding mainstream programs for learning -disabled youngsters in yeshivot and day schools
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In the public sector, the provision of mainstream special education programs is mandated by law. Only a small percentage of yeshivot and day schools have full programs for learning disabled youngsters. In Yeshivot without services, children who remain in school often become stigmatized by failure resulting in serious secondary problems. Children who are forced to leave the yeshivot are separated from their siblings and peers and ostracized by the community. Thus, they may become lost to Jewish life in general.;This study sheds light on major barriers to the creation of special education programs. It is predicated on the accepted notion of the principal as the primary leader of an educational institution and on his concerns, knowledge and influence as the key factors in promoting change in schools. As the focus of this doctoral research, principals were viewed both as part of the problem and, more importantly, as a major factor in creating solutions.;Using a mainstreaming questionnaire, this study investigates the concerns of principals about learning disabled youngsters in schools with special programs and the concerns of principals in schools without special programs. What emerges are significant differences in overall concerns about having a mainstream program, when comparing principals in schools that provide full services with principals of schools that provide no services.;In light of the differences demonstrated by the findings of this study, a specific pattern of issues seems to play a role in the principals, decision regarding the provision of services. Based upon these findings, discussions and negotiations with schools to provide and/or expand their services for learning disabled children should be developed via a systematic approach, recognizing and dealing with these concerns. The ultimate purpose of this research is to provide information about how to encourage and facilitate the process of establishing mainstream special education programs for learning disabled youngsters in schools without such programs.