Principals Must Be Knowledgeable About Special Education

  • Posted on: 4 September 2013
  • By: Tina McCoy


This book should be required reading for any school administrator new to your school system.  It provides a very basic overview of special education in the context of the responsibilities of a school principal or assistant principal.  While many have learned these concepts during their professional training, this book serves as a refresher and provides common language and understanding of essential ideas necessary for effective leadership related to special education.

What Every Principal Needs to Know About Special Education,
by Margaret McLaughlin, underscores the fact that special education is the business of every administrator and
 teacher.  Armed with the solid information and consistent understanding of terms contained in this book, any administrator will be able to speak intelligently about special education and advocate appropriately and reasonably for students as needed. This build credibility and helps school systems avoid errors that may adversely impact students. The book establishes much-needed common ground between school administrators and other special education professionals.

 Caveat: This book is too basic for special education administrators.  Also, the reading of the book should be accompanied by some discussion at the local level.  Minor differences in state law or requirements (especially related to assessment) may impact interpretation and understanding of the text.