Are Leaders Influenced by Advocates in the Special Education Eligibility Decision?


  • Erin B Kirkland Loudoun County Public Schools
  • Scott C Bauer George Mason University



special education, school leadership, decision-making, disabilities, power


The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of private practitioner and educational advocate opinions on instructional leaders’ decision-making thought processes when making a recommendation for special education eligibility. School-based administrators (N = 56) with varying years of experience as a special education administrator participated in this study. Using data from a series of vignettes and from structured interviews, results indicated that private practitioners and educational advocates significantly influence administrators’ recommendations for special education eligibility.

Author Biographies

Erin B Kirkland, Loudoun County Public Schools

Erin B Kirkland (PhD, George Mason University) is an Eligibility Coordinator with the Loudoun County (VA) Public Schools.

Scott C Bauer, George Mason University

Scott C Bauer (PhD, Cornell University) is Professor and Director of the Education Leadership Division in the College of Education & Human Development, George Mason University.




How to Cite

Kirkland, E. B., & Bauer, S. C. (2016). Are Leaders Influenced by Advocates in the Special Education Eligibility Decision?. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 11(2).