Foundations of Special Education Leadership

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This work focuses on the foundations of special education and details the history of the field. The work describes how special education became law and how it has impacted education in today’s academic world. It describes the placement of students, the rights of parents, the writing of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and the process of learning and how it takes place. This work also describes in detail the laws that govern special education and how these laws impact teachers, parents, administrators, and students who receive services. The book describes the types of services available to students with special needs.

This book describes in detail the laws that regulate special education and how these laws came to be. It provides the reader with an understanding of the influence parents had in the development of these laws and it gives a careful review of what these laws mean to today’s educational leader. This book would be an important starting point for anyone who is unfamiliar with the governance of special education and the implications for running a school.

This work describes and defines educational leadership as it relates to special education. It discusses the characteristics of good leaders in the field while enumerating on school quality. It provides an overview of how special education is governed and how different constituencies are responsible for ensuring that federal law is followed. From the school principal to the director of special education, this book includes the steps that are necessary for quality leadership in the field.

Additionally, the book traces some historical aspects of leadership and relates these aspects to modern educational thought. The theory of effective leadership is covered as are current trends and characteristics that make effective leaders. It also discusses those characteristics that make for effective leadership in special education. The work includes a discussion of how modern educational leaders can be successful when working with a diverse population of students.


“Dr. Barry Birnbaum addresses the important area of special education leadership in his new written work. This book tackles a significant area of study, which is pertinent to all educators. In his fourth book, Dr. Birnbaum continues to focus on special education with a concentration on historical and legal aspects of the field. Infused in this discussion is the dimension of leadership as it relates to the field of special education ... This book is grounded in research articles dealing with various facets of leadership in special education. Foci include historical and legal aspects of special education and leadership. Furthermore, the book includes characteristics of a strong leader, challenges that leaders face, and the roles of the players involved in school systems.” – (from the Preface) Professor Effie Papoutsis Kritikos, Northeastern Illinois University

“Special education law and practices are rapidly changing, and leaders need to know what those changes mean for their schools. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are creating the need for every school leader, especially special education leaders, to understand the foundation of good instruction and sound special education policy. This book is designed to provide that information ... If you are an educational leader who has ever felt off course, confused or disheartened with special education, then this book is for you. If you are an aspiring school leader, you will find this book a handy reference of the history of special education policy and the evolution of educational leadership with regards to special needs children ...” – Dr. Geraldine Giglio, Educational Consultant, Illinois

“Dr. Barry Birnbaum approaches the field of special education from a proactive leadership perspective. He brings real-world knowledge to the basics of the field as well as professional praxis. In his many years of special education experience, Dr. Birnbaum has amassed a wealth of information that he brings to prospective special educators who will find themselves in positions of leadership ... In this era of increased accountability and mandates from No Child Left Behind, this book is a ‘must read’ for anyone considering assuming a role in special education leadership. Additionally, this book should be considered for supplemental reading in undergraduate and graduate courses in special education and leadership.” – Professor Norman Dale Norris, Nicholls State University

Table of Contents

1. Foundations and History of Special Education
2. The Law and Special Education
3. Administration of Special Education
4. Testing and Assessment
5. The Process of Placement
6. Organizational and Educational Leadership in Special Education
7. Changing Special Education
8. Perspectives on Educational Leadership
9. Creating Effective Teachers for Special Education

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