Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name


Education and Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Olivia Boggs



A study of the literature revealed that ·one of the challenges of urban education is the nurturing and reeducating of parents and school administrators dealing with handicapped students as was mandated by the legislature, which was passed by the United States Congress and signed into effect by Gerald Ford ·on November 19, 1975. This is called Public Law 94-142, which ensured "free and appropriate" education for. all handicapped students and their: parents in our; educational system, but limits itself to the rights of the administrator. As it stands, parents, guardians, surrogates, parent advocates and school administrators are abreast of some of the facets of the law, but they are technically unaware of all their rights, the services provided, and the places and individuals they can go to to be counselled and inserviced when necessary. This lack of ·understanding of Public Law 94-142 brings about conflict between parents and school administrators.

Many parents who do not feel very ·knowledgeable about the law and its provisions seek assistance from parent advocacy groups who have been primarily assigned the duty of protecting the student and the parent pertaining to any educational translation of the law by school administrators. This has placed ·an obstacle between the administrator and the parent who may feel secure, but also the parent who feels threatened or insecure has as their spokesman a parent advocate. In many instances it has been proven that this ultimately leads to conflict on the part of the parent and the school administrator.

This study had several issues that needed to be addressed to investigate whether or not discrepancies exist in the perceptions of parents as it pertained to their: knowledge of Public Law 94-142; to determine if discrepancies existed in the perceptions of the school administrators' (principals) perceptions of their knowledge of Public Law 94-142, and to determine if there is conflict between the perceptions of parents and school administrators as it was relative to Public Law 94-142, and was this conflict knowledged based.

Research Design and Procedural Steps

A questionnaire was developed by the investigator and administered to two randomly selected samples: three hundred (300) parents ·and sixty (60) school administrators from elementary, middle ·and high schools throughout the three administrative areas (Area I, II, III). There were a total of one hundred (100) parents from elementary through high school for each area, and twenty (20) school administrators from elementary through high school for each area.

The questionnaire consisted of four parts: Part I requested personal data from both the parent and school administrator, such as the area residing ·in sex, age, marital status, race, ~number of children, education, income, home and job; Part II solicited general information questions that were the same for both the parent and the school administrator which dealt with the ·knowledge of Public Law 94-142; the assessment process; length of time for requiring assistance from the Program for Exceptional Children of the Atlanta Public School; Part· III selected responses from the parent as to their perceptions of the school administrators' knowledge of the law and their:willingness to assist the parent where necessary; Part IV selected responses from the administrator as to the perceptions of the parent as it related to the educational process and the effect it had on the Program for Exceptional Children.

The respondents recorded their individual responses on the questionnaire based on their knowledge of the law, if they felt there was conflict between the parent and the school administrator, and if parent groups would be significant in aiding the parent and the administrator to be of benefit in serving handicapped students, and resolving any conflict which may be present between the parent and administrator. Results The 233 parents who responded were predominately black females between the ages of 30-49 years of age, married, employed with a high school education or more, earning $14,000 or more, and lived in homes where they are renting.


In order for there to be any kind of adhesion between the parent and administrator as it pertained to the education of children with a specific handicap, the pretty painted picture done by the administrator must be more realistic and to the point. There must be communication between the parent and administrator; and as close of a "oneness" that can be obtained, because we must realize we are dealing with "precious gems" children, children who are not just handicapped, but, most important, "human beings."

This communication can be established by having inservices and meetings for, both the administrator: and the parent, then instead of two meetings scheduled at an appropriate time for both, schedule several meetings which include both the parent and the administrators. At this point, the knowledge that both the parent and school administrator; have under: Public Law 94-142 will then be·come an asset not a liability.

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