Attitudes of K-12 School Administrators Toward Speech-Language Programs In Public Schools

Carmen L. Jones


This study examined K-12 school administrators' attitudes toward speech language pathology services in public schools. Elementary, middle, and secondary school based administrators, employed in 63 school districts throughout Florida, were solicited to participate in the study in a letter of invitation generated by a web-based design program, Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) Community. Administrators volunteering in the study were given an assurance of confidentiality and fair treatment concerning their participation. A survey instrument, the Scale of Educators 'Attitudes toward Speech Pathology (SEASP) consisting of 10 demographic items and 34 positive and negative statements about speech and language programs in schools was used to gather data. Participants were asked to provide their reactions along a favorable/unfavorable continuum to the survey. The results obtained from this study duplicated measurements used by previous researchers and examined the mean scores and standard deviations of item responses. Analyses of "between group" and "within group" differences examined attitudes among variables relative to professional levels, building size, and additional certification areas and were conducted using one-way and two-way ANOV As. Descriptive statistics were included to provide a profile of the participant population - means, frequencies and consensus of responses. Overall, among administrative participants, there existed minimal differences in attitudes toward speech-language pathology programs in public schools. This was true at elementary, middle and secondary levels, and included (as a secondary group) those "other personnel" who might, at times, supervise speech-language pathology professionals. Thus, school administrators generally agreed in their attitudes toward speech language pathology programs. The means of responses measuring attitudes in predetermined categories yielded results that demonstrated a consensus of agreement in the areas of (a) the impact services on student success, (b) program quality, and (c) the role of the speech-language pathologist, respectively. Results yielded no statistically significant differences in respondents' attitudes toward speech-language pathologists among school administrators employed at building sites having small and non-small populations, and among school administrators having, or not having, additional certification in exceptional student education. Because speech-language pathologists are evaluated by school administrators and other non-field personnel, suggestions are provided concerning the use of performance appraisals, ways to enhance the quality and delivery of school services, and enhancing university programs in communication sciences and disorders, to include components in supervision