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Jewish Leaders’ Access to IDEA Funds for Parentally Placed Private School Children: A Basic Qualitative Study Open Access

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This qualitative study was designed to gain insight on Jewish leaders’ conceptualizations and access to IDEA funding for their parentally placed private school children when Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is not at issue.  Additionally, this study explored the various ways Jewish leaders aid and advocate for these students.  The current literature on parentally placed private school children with disabilities and IDEA funding is limited (Taylor, 2005). Therefore, this study sought to bridge this gap and inform policy makers, practitioners, and parents on the complexities of this topic. The methodology consisted of in-depth interviews and document collection and analysis. Participants were selected through a snowball sampling technique and were Jewish leaders from Jewish Day Schools in the Mid-Atlantic region: Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia.  Their roles included principals, division heads, heads of school, and learning specialists.  In-depth interviews were conducted with each participant over a span of two and a half months. Then these interviews were carefully read, transcribed, and coded using both In Vivo and descriptive codes.  Six rich themes emerged through coding and document analysis.  Documents collected were both private and public documents and were coded in a similar manner.  The themes that emerged are as follows; Leader, Parent, and Educator Knowledge, A Jewish Day School’s Internal Process, Building Relationships with Stakeholders, Utilizing Internal and External Resources, The Belief of Inequity, and Mission and Advocacy. The themes were tied back to the conceptual framework and answered the research questions that guided the study. Methods of validity included triangulation and member checks. Maxwell’s (2013) research design ensured that there was consistent reflection and interaction between the goals, conceptual framework, methods, validity, and research questions of the study. In conclusion, the findings of this research hope to heighten awareness to Jewish educators, schools, and communities.

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