CHARACTERISTICS OF PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOLS FOR STUDENTS WITH EMOTIONAL DISABILITIES AND PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR PUBLIC SCHOOL CASE MANAGERS
Wright, Anthony Dwayne
McLaughlin, Margaret J
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Placement of students with disabilities in private special-education schools remains costly and controversial. This is particularly concerning, given the lack of research on the characteristics and quality of these restrictive settings. The purpose of this study was to identify the academic and vocational course offerings and behavioral supports provided in private special-education schools the serve high school students with emotional disabilities (ED). Second, the research examined the perceptions of the quality of services in these setting from the perspectives of public school case managers. Using a mixed-method design to collect data, 9 administrative heads of private special-education schools were surveyed, and 7 public school case managers were interviewed. Results indicated that (a) private special-education schools offer the basic academic core courses needed to meet graduation requirements, (b) vocational options for students enrolled in these schools are quite limited, (c) these schools provide a variety of behavioral interventions and supports, and (d) case managers are concerned with the lack of academic rigor and inconsistent programming at these schools but applauded the notion that students with ED are exiting with a high school diploma. Findings from this study may have policy implications for improving and developing programming options for high school students with ED.