Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dawn Hunter, PhD

Second Advisor

Don Cardinal, PhD

Third Advisor

Geraldine McNenny, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Audri Sandoval Gomez, PhD


Federal law calls for students with disabilities to be educated in the least restrictive environment possible. However, this still allows for students with disabilities to be placed in a range of educational settings, from the general education classroom to a separate school. The number of students with disabilities that are included to the maximum extent possible in the general education classroom varies by state. This study focused on the role of teacher training as defined by state drive teacher education standards. The purposeful outlier sample was selected by identifying the 12 states with the highest levels of inclusion of students with disabilities within a general education classroom across select disability categories. The level of inclusion was based on the percentages of students with disabilities in three educational settings: 80% or more of the day in general education, less than 40% of the day in general education and separate school across a ten-year period. The teacher education standards for these states were obtained and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) was used to analyze the standards for evidence both of best practices in regards to implementing inclusion, as well as how disability was described by these states. Evidence of many of the best practices were found in these states' standards, and disability was often included in standards about teaching practices, learning environments and diversity. However, it was also found that disability (and teaching practices) were often described in vague, non-specific terms, which may lead to the impression that disability is not included or important. These results are helpful in shaping the direction of the writing of standards in the future to better include and acknowledge disability in them.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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