Effect of an inservice on the teachers' knowledge of general school law, Section 504, and the Meta Consent Decree

Rebecca E Koch, Florida International University


It is generally assumed by educators that inservice training will make a significant difference in teacher knowledge of topics related to education. This investigation addressed that assumption by examining the effects of various factors, e.g., amount and timing of inservice training, upon teacher knowledge of educational law. Of special interest was teacher knowledge of the law as it pertained to ethnic and other characteristics of students in urban school settings. This study was deliberately designed to determine which factors should be later investigated in a more deterministic form, e.g., an experimental design. The investigation built upon that of Ogletree (1985), Osborne (1996) and others who focused on the importance of teacher development as a method to enhance professional abilities. The main question addressed in this study was, "How knowledgeable are teachers of school law, especially with regard to general school law, the Meta Consent Decree and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973." The study participants (N = 302) were from the Dade County School System, the fourth largest in the U.S. The survey design (approved by the System), specified participants from all levels and types of schools and geographic representations. A survey instrument was created, pilot tested, revised and approved for use by the district official representatives. After administration of the instrument, the resultant data was treated by several appropriate tests, e.g., multivariate analysis of variance (ANOVA). Several findings emerged from the analysis of the data: in general, teachers did not have sufficient knowledge of school law; factors, such as amount and level of education, and status and position were positively correlated with increased knowledge; factors such as years of experience, gender, race and ethnicity were not correlated with higher levels of knowledge. The most significant, however, was that when teachers had participated in several inservice training experiences, typically workshops, and, when combined with other factors noted above, their knowledge of school law was significantly higher. Specific recommendations for future studies were made.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Law|School administration

Recommended Citation

Koch, Rebecca E, "Effect of an inservice on the teachers' knowledge of general school law, Section 504, and the Meta Consent Decree" (1997). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9816377.