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Attitudes of general education teachers in grades one through six toward inclusion in New Providence, Bahamas

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Stacy Stubbs
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to determine the attitudes of primary public school teachers (1-6) toward inclusive education in New Providence, Bahamas. General education teachers are the principal facilitators of inclusion and research shows that they have a negative attitude toward inclusion. This quantitative descriptive study examined the attitudes of 234 general education teachers in public primary schools in New Providence, Bahamas. Respondents completed a brief demographic questionnaire and The Opinions Relative to the Integration of Students with Disabilities (ORI) developed by Antonak and Larrivee (1995) which examined general education teachers' attitudes toward the concept of inclusion, their perceived ability to teach in inclusive settings and the management of and outcomes for children with disabilities in general education. The results revealed that general education teachers have a positive attitude towards the benefits of inclusion, a negative attitude toward their ability to teach children with special needs in their general education classrooms and a negative attitude toward the concept of inclusion. General education teachers were not positive or negative toward the management of inclusive classrooms. Three demographic factors affecting positive attitudes toward inclusion were training for teaching on inclusive classrooms, higher level of education, and experience teaching children with special needs.

vi Table of Contents

Dedication .............................................................................................................. iii

Acknowledgments.................................................................................................. iv

Abstract of Dissertation ...........................................................................................v

List of Figures ........................................................................................................ ix

List of Tables ...........................................................................................................x

Chapter I – Introduction ...........................................................................................1

Statement of the Problem .........................................................................................2

Purpose of the Study ................................................................................................6

Research Questions ..................................................................................................6

Significance of the Study .........................................................................................7

Theoretical Framework ............................................................................................7

Methodology ............................................................................................................7

Limitations ...............................................................................................................8

Delimitations ............................................................................................................8

Assumptions .............................................................................................................8

Definition of Terms..................................................................................................9

Chapter II - Literature Review ...............................................................................11

Organization of the Literature Review ..................................................................11

Attitudes .................................................................................................................12

Theoretical Framework ..........................................................................................14

Measuring Teachers’ Attitudes ..............................................................................17

Instruments .............................................................................................................17

vii Definition of Inclusion ...........................................................................................20

Factors of Successful Inclusion .............................................................................23

Factors Affecting Teachers’ Attitude Toward Inclusion .......................................25

Inclusion in the United States ................................................................................42

Proponents and Opponents of Inclusion ................................................................46

Proponents of Inclusion .........................................................................................46

Research Supporting Inclusion ..............................................................................47

Opponents of Inclusion ..........................................................................................50

Research in Opposition of Inclusion ......................................................................50

Inclusion in the Bahamas .......................................................................................53

The Status of Inclusion in the Bahamas .................................................................58

Study on Teacher’ Attitude Toward Inclusion.......................................................59

Research on Teachers Attitude ..............................................................................62

Perceived Ability to Teach Children with Disabilities ..........................................71

Managing Inclusive Classrooms ............................................................................76

Outcomes for Students with Special Needs ...........................................................78

Chapter III – Methodology ....................................................................................83

Research Questions ................................................................................................83

Research Procedures ..............................................................................................84

Research Design.....................................................................................................84

Study Participants ..................................................................................................84

Measurement of Research Variables .....................................................................85

Instrumentation ......................................................................................................85

viii

Data Collection ......................................................................................................92

Data Analysis .........................................................................................................93

Chapter IV: Results ................................................................................................97

Research Questions ................................................................................................97

Description of Demographic Variables .................................................................98

Descriptive Statistics for Research Question One ...............................................103

Descriptive Statistics for Research Question Two...............................................108

Chapter V: Interpretations, Conclusions and Recommendations ........................113

Overview of the Study .........................................................................................113

Purpose of the Study ............................................................................................115

Major Findings .....................................................................................................115

Interpretation of Results .......................................................................................116

Research Question One ........................................................................................116

Research Question Two .......................................................................................120

General Conclusion ..............................................................................................122

Recommendations for the Bahamas Ministry of Education ................................126

Recommendations for the Department of Special Education ..............................128

Recommendations for Future Research ...............................................................129

References ............................................................................................................132

Appendices ...........................................................................................................140

ix List of Figures

Figure 1 – Total ORI Score ..................................................................................104

Figure 2 – Factor One- Benefits of Integration ....................................................105

Figure 3 – Factor Two- Integrated Classroom Management ...............................106

Figure 4 – Factor Three – Perceived Teaching Ability........................................107

Figure 5 – Factor Four – Special Versus General Education...............................108

x List of Tables

Table 1 – Legislation Impacting Special Education in the Bahamas..............................57

Table 2 – Description of Research Variable and Survey Items on the ORI ...................89

Table 3 – Relationship Between Factors on ORI and Research Questions ....................90

Table 4 – Descriptive Statistics for Gender ....................................................................99

Table 5 – Descriptive Statistics for Age .......................................................................100

Table 6 – Descriptive Statistics for Level of Education ...............................................101

Table 7 – Descriptive Statistics for Number of Years of Teaching Experience ...........102

Table 8 – Descriptive Statistics for Experience Teaching Children with Special Needs .......................................................................................................................................103

Table 9 – Descriptive Statistics for Training for Teaching Children with Special Needs .......................................................................................................................................103

Table 10 – Descriptive Statistics for Total ORI and Factor Scores ..............................109

Table 11 – Correlation Statistics ...................................................................................112

1 Chapter I: Introduction

In the earliest years of Bahamian history education was spasmodic and controlled by philanthropic groups and private individuals (Peggs, 1947). It was not until the early 18 th century that education was transformed and spearheaded by the church in the Bahamas with the mission of propagating the gospel. However, it was the Methodist missionaries who were considered to be pioneers of Bahamian public education; in the 1800s they established a Board of Education, local commissioners and a training school for teachers (Craton, 1986). Through the years the Bahamian educational system continued to evolve. The first attempts to provide special services to individuals with special needs is found in the Education Act of 1962 Subsections 24 to 30 (Education Act, 1962) and subsequently in 1972 with the creation of the White Paper on Education. This latter document was the government’s statement of basic policies for the development of education in the nation prior to independence in 1973 (White Paper on Education, 1973). It delineates the government’s commitment to keep under active review the needs of individuals requiring special education and promises of programs of assistance and training. Subsequent legislation governing special education programs include the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education, 1994, and the Education Act of 1996. As a signee of UNESCO’s Salamanca Statement, the Bahamas is obligated to serve all children with special needs and accommodate them in the regular education classroom in spite of their disability type or severity. The 92 governments and 25 international organizations present at the World Conference on Special Needs in Salamanca, Spain advocated for a restructuring of the general education

2 classroom to permit children with special needs to be educated with children without disabilities in their neighborhood schools. The report stated, We call upon all governments and urge them to: give the highest policy and budgetary priority to improve their education systems to enable them to include all children regardless of individual differences or difficulties, adopt as a matter of law or policy the principle of inclusive education, enrolling all children in regular schools, unless there are compelling reasons for doing otherwise (The UNESCO Salamanca Statement, 1994, p. ix). Despite the creation of the Act and its amendments and official legal documents supporting assistance for children with special needs, institutionalization and segregation continue to be common practices within the society. Advocacy groups in the Bahamas have been dauntless in their efforts to gain more support and assistance for children with special needs. Still the majority of students with special needs do not receive appropriate educational experiences with many of them isolated in separate educational facilities, never interacting with or engaging in academic communities with their typically developing peers. Statement of the Problem Recently in the Bahamas, a change in the political climate altered the educational landscape as newly elected authorities redirected the focus of educators and stakeholders alike to the plight of students with special needs and the quality of service they received. The government made a new commitment to revitalize special education by promoting school cultures where all children with special needs would be afforded opportunities to

3 maximize their potential for academic achievement and independent living. In 2002, the Minister of Education articulated his plans to improve the educational system, including instruction and services for children with special needs: The time has come for an educational system that equips the special child to live with dignity and pride as a human being in the Bahamas, realizing [their] full potential as human beings. The gifted child, the autistic child, the child who is blind, who is deaf, who is mentally challenged, who is unable to speak or walk…has a purpose in the advancement of this nation. It is therefore a moral and development imperative that we all be empowered to live out our purpose according to our potential (Poitier, p.2, 2003).

Minister Sears further explained that the essential elements of empowerment are labeling, training and education. These factors are incorporated into national plans which include determining how to provide the right services, settings and personnel for all children with disabilities (Poitier, 2003). Consequently, in 2003, Prime Minister Perry Christie launched the National Commission on Special Education with a mandate to evaluate the demand and requirements for providing special education and related services (Gardiner-Farquharson, Bain, & Cooper, 2003). Members of the Commission included parents, individuals with special needs, teachers, administrators, policy makers, health professionals and other resource persons. Not long after the establishment of the Commission, a designated group of the Commission traveled the length and breath of the Bahamas, organizing and conducting more than 150 meetings. Additionally, evaluations were conducted in several areas including organizational structures, human resources, programs, curricula and legislative reforms (Gardiner-Farquharson et al., 2003). Findings of a research study organized by the Commission revealed that out of a sample of 21,173 school-age children, 5,396 required special education and related

4 services. These results from this investigation could possibly place the Bahamas on the “at risk level” as a nation (Gardiner-Farquharson et al., 2003). Some of the recommendations of the Commission included expansion of human and financial resources, implementation of early intervention services, parent services, proper accommodations for students with disabilities, development of special education curricula, professional development activities, parental involvement activities, a national assistive technology initiative and an adequate management and monitoring framework for delivering special education. The general consensus among committee members of the Commission was that children with special needs were too often forgotten and neglected in the Bahamas (Gardiner-Farquharson et al., 2003). In an attempt to answer the clarion call to justly serve all children with special needs, the government formally instituted inclusion. It gained momentum when the Director of Education, Cecil Thompson, addressing the Third Annual Autism Awareness Special Assembly, announced that no longer would any institutions be allowed to prohibit the entrance of students with special needs to their facilities, particularly the public schools. Inclusion, he explained, was a gateway to establishing communities that celebrated acceptance, respect and empowerment for individuals with and without disabilities (Major, 2004). Moreover, he added that inclusion had the potential to affirm the worth of children with special needs and the power to assist teachers and children without special needs develop a deeper appreciation for individual differences and create ways of interacting positively with individuals who are ‘different’ (Major, 2004). Education is the primary engine that fuels, powers and drives our national development. Education is also the primary engine that sustains our national regional and international status. In other words, education is the threshold from which this nation thrives and every child, inclusive of autistic children, is a unique

5 being and should be afforded basic right to the best educational opportunities provided by the government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas (Major, 2004, p.A4).

There is no universal definition of inclusion (Feiler & Gibson, 1999; Yell, 1998) but it is generally understood to be a ‘merger’ of special and regular education in which students with special needs are educated alongside students without special needs in the general education classroom (Yell, 1998). This philosophy supports an acceptance of all students which results in the makeup of the school reflecting the makeup of society (Snyder, 2001). Hence, gravitation towards inclusion necessitates a restructuring of the general education classroom and community settings, changes in curriculum and instruction, and changes in teachers’ roles and the ways in which teachers are prepared to teach children to successfully accommodate all children with disabilities (Stayton & McCollum, 2002). However, Waldron, McLeskey and Pacchiano (1999) assert that the most significant criticism of the inclusion movement is that advocates have supported major changes to the general education classroom without the input of general education teachers. According to research, general educators have a negative attitude toward inclusion (Hammond & Ingalls, 2003; Waldron et al., 1999). “It seems axiomatic that if inclusion programs are to be successfully developed and implemented, teachers who will deliver practices that are adopted as part of these programs must be supportive of inclusion” (Waldron et al., 1999). As facilitators of inclusion attitudes of general educators are important factors in determining whether inclusion succeeds or fails (Avramidis, Bayliss & Burden, 2000; Burke & Sutherland, 2004; Dupoux, Wolman & Estrada, 2005; Leyser & Tappendorf, 2001; Moberg & Savolainen, 2003). Therefore, it is

6 important that administrations and governments assess general education teachers’ attitudes to ensure that the transition of children with disabilities into the general education classroom becomes a successful venture. The Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of general education teachers in grades one through six toward inclusion in New Providence, Bahamas. Research Questions 1) What are the attitudes of general education teachers in grades one through six toward inclusion in New Providence, Bahamas with regard to: (a) the concept on inclusion (b) their perceived ability to teach children with special needs in the general eduction classroom (c) the management of children with special needs in the general education classroom (d) the outcomes for children with special needs in the general education classroom. 2.) How are general education teachers’ overall attitude toward inclusion and their attitude toward specific aspects of inclusion related to: (a) gender (b) age (c) level of education (d.) number of years of teaching experience (e) experience teaching in inclusive classrooms (f) training in teaching children with special needs in the general education classroom.

7 Significance of the Study No studies have been found that have examined the attitudes of general education teachers in grades one through six toward inclusion in New Providence, Bahamas. Therefore, this dissertation research provided valuable information about general education teachers’ attitudes towards the concept of inclusion, their perception of their skills and knowledge necessary to teach and manage children with special needs, and their attitudes toward the benefits for children with special needs in the general education classroom. Successful inclusive programs are largely dependent upon the attitudes of general education teachers towards inclusion (Waldron et al, 1999), and, if children with special needs are to be successfully integrated into the general education classroom, the attitudes of general education teachers must be addressed (Kavale & Forness, 2000). Theoretical Framework Fazio (1986) proposed an attitude-to-behavior theory which supports the view that there is a one-to-one relationship between an individual’s attitude and their behavior. Essentially, attitudes can influence a person’s behavior. Variables such as the individual’s vested interest in the behavioral issue and personality factors such as their self-image influence the correlation between attitude and behavior. The range within which this relationship can occur is zero to very strong. Prior to behaving in a specific manner, a person examines the attitude object and decides on the meaning it has for them. Methodology This quantitative descriptive study which examined the attitudes of general education teachers in grades one through six toward inclusion in New Providence, Bahamas incorporated the use the Opinions Relative to the Integration of Students with

8 Disabilities (ORI) developed by Richard Antonak and Barbara Larrivee (1995). The instrument uses a Likert scale response mode consisting of 25 statements with six possible responses ranging from (-3) I disagree very much to (+3) I agree very much. A higher score on the questionnaire indicates a more positive attitude toward inclusion. Additionally, demographic questions were used to determine if attitudes vary by age, teaching experience, gender, teacher qualification, and experience teaching in inclusive classrooms. Limitations There were several limitations to the study: 1.) The study was conducted with primary general education teachers in New Providence, the capital island, and excluded primary general education teachers in other islands of the Bahamas. 2.) The study was conducted with general education primary school teachers and excluded secondary education teachers and private school teachers. Delimitations The following were delimitations to the study: 1.) The participants involved in the study focused only on teachers on New Providence, Bahamas. Assumptions 1.) It was assumed that all participants answered all survey questions honestly and to the best of their ability. 2.) It was assumed that all participants understood the concept of inclusion.

9 Definitions special education – special education refers to the specifically designed instructional services for students whose level of functioning deviates from the norm. The services may include adapted materials, alternative curriculum, access to a special education teacher and individualized instruction (National Commission on Special Education, 2003)

related services – transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech pathology, audiology, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation and social work services and medical and counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling) (National Commission on Special Education, 2003)

inclusion – all schools accommodating all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions; this includes disabled and gifted children, street and working children, children from remote or nomadic populations, children from linguistic, ethnic or cultural minorities and children from other disadvantaged or marginalized areas or groups (The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action, 1994)

least restrictive environment – a legal term in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) referring to the fact that children with disabilities are educated in a normal environment as possible (IDEA 2004)

10 Summary of Chapter One The history of special education in the Bahamas began with the work of philanthropic groups and private individuals who provided service to children with special needs. Over the years as the educational system improved, the Bahamas Government made a commitment to provide special education and related services for students with special needs. The Bahamas is obligated to ensure that children with special educational needs are educated in general education classes and provided with necessary support services. In 2002, the Ministry of Education mandated that no child be denied entry into general education classes in public educational facilities. As a result inclusion gained momentum. Research findings that teachers have a negative attitude towards inclusion drive this study assessing attitudes of primary school teachers in grades one through six toward inclusion in New Providence, Bahamas. Positive attitudes toward inclusion are critical to the successful inclusion of children with special needs into the general education classroom.

11 Chapter II: Literature Review The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of general education teachers in grades one through six toward inclusion in New Providence, Bahamas. These are the teachers who have students with special needs in their classes or will be assigned to teach students with special needs in their general education classrooms. Organization of the Literature Review In order to understand this dissertation research the literature is reviewed related to the definition of attitude and the theoretical framework of the relationship between attitude and behavior which guides this study. This was followed by a discussion on the various instruments used to measure teachers’ attitude, a definition of inclusion, factors affecting teachers’ attitudes. Next, because the United States is a leader of inclusion, research pertaining to teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion in the U.S. was discussed before moving to inclusion in the Bahamas. To gain an understanding of teacher attitudes, the discussion next focused on the research on teacher’s attitudes toward the concept of inclusion, perceived ability to teach children with special needs and outcomes for children with special needs. Finally, potential factors affecting teachers’ attitudes toward inclusion, was discussed. Search engines used to locate studies relevant to this research include Academic Search Premier, PsychINFO, and Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC). Keywords used to search for research articles include teacher attitudes, inclusive education, inclusion, special education, general education classroom and integration.

12 Attitudes Social psychologists have always had a keen interest in the study of attitude (Eagly, 1993). An attitude has the capacity to control one’s thoughts and perceptions, and can potentially become the lens through which reality is interpreted eventually influencing a person’s behavior (Pallas, 2001). Attitudinal theorists have not agreed upon a universal definition of attitude, therefore, several definitions appear in the literature (Fazio, 1986). Eagly (1993) explained that an attitude is a tendency or state internal to an individual while Thurston (1928) postulated that an attitude is the sum total of a person’s feelings, prejudice, biases, threats and conviction about a topic. Moreover, Fazio (1986) submitted that an attitude is an association or mental connection between an object and an evaluation. It is in this latter definition that the evaluative component of attitude has been identified and has been cited as a common thread running through definitions of attitude (Eagly, 1993; Fazio, 1986; Saucier, 2000). Substantial gains have been made in gleaning more information about the nature of this evaluative characteristic of attitudes (Wilson, Lindsey & Schooler, 2000). Eagly (1992) explained that developing an attitude is preempted by an evaluative process in which an individual examines and appraises an attitude object and decides whether to take a negative or positive stance toward the attitude object. An attitude object is anything that a person discriminates; examples include acts of behavior, particular tasks, people or concepts (e.g. inclusion) (Eagly, 1992). More often than not, people gravitate toward either a favorable or unfavorable outlook toward the object of examination rather than go back and forth between having a negative or positive attitude toward the attitude object (Wilson et al., 2000). Inevitably, the formation of a particular attitude prompts people to act in a certain way because

13 attitudes perform an approach-avoidance function (Wilson et al., 2000). That is individuals tend to support and implement ideas toward which their attitude is favorable and turn away from those ideas toward which their attitude is unfavorable. Essentially, attitudes guide behavior. Contrary to the view that attitudes cause behavior is the belief that intention and not attitude is the direct cause of behavior. Fishbein and Ajzen (1980) contend that an individual’s decision to act in a certain way toward an attitude object is the result of the impact of intention on attitudes. Their theory of reasoned action further explains that before initiating action an individual considers their personal view along with the views of others to determine whether to act in a particular way. This means that if a person is of the opinion that acting positive toward an attitude object will result in benefits and if others perceive that it is beneficial for that person to respond positively toward the attitude object then a positive stance is taken by the individual toward the attitude object. The successor to the Ajzen theory of reasoned action is the theory of planned behavior devised by Ajzen (1991). It maintained the view that an individual’s intention influenced or caused behavior and upheld the belief that behavior can be planned. Moreover, in planning one’s behavior a person ponders on the consequences of the behavior, factors that propel or hinder the behavior, and the expectation of others. An important variable in the attitude-behavior relationship is an individual’s view of how easy or difficult it is to carry out the behavior. In opposition to the above mentioned theories is the theory of dual attitudes developed by Wilson et al., (2000). They are of the opinion that a person can have more than one attitude toward an attitude object. They explained that a new attitude does not

14 simply replace an old attitude rather a new attitude overpowers an old attitude. Both attitudes exist simultaneously. Some researchers believe that attitudes are unidimensional (Wilson et al., 2000). However, Kavale and Forness (2000) explained that attitudes toward the integration of individuals with special needs have historically been multidimensional. According to Antonak and Larrivee (1995) attitudes toward individuals with disabilities are multidimensional and complicated. The stance taken in this research is that teachers’ attitude toward inclusion is multidimensional. Investigating various aspects or features of teachers’ attitude can ultimately provide a deeper and more meaningful interpretation of their attitude toward inclusion. This eventually would result in the planning and facilitation of appropriate activities geared towards assisting teachers to the maximum extent possible in their endeavor to provide successful experiences for children with special needs included in their general education classrooms. Antonak and Larrivee (1995) designed the Opinions Relative to the Integration of Individuals with Disabilities (ORI) to examine the complex, multidimensional attitudes of teachers. These include attitude toward the concept of inclusion, attitude toward teachers’ perceived ability to teach children with special needs in their general education classroom, attitude toward management of inclusive classrooms, and attitude toward outcomes or benefits for children with special needs included in their classroom. The ORI is the instrument used in this research study. Theoretical Framework The foundation of this study of understanding teachers’ attitude toward inclusion is the theoretical framework conceptualized by Fazio (1986) who described an attitude as

15 an association or mental connection between an object and an evaluation. It is an interpretation of attitude into behavior, and it provides the frame of reference for interpreting and elucidating Bahamian general education teachers’ perceptions of their attitudes toward the concept of inclusion, their perceived ability to teach children with disabilities, management of inclusive classrooms, outcomes for children with special needs (four factors of the ORI), and overall attitude toward inclusion. Like many other theorists Fazio (1986) supported the view of attitudes having an evaluative component. He believed that the meaning that an attitude object has for a person is ultimately reflected in their subsequent behavior. He explained that social stimuli can have many meanings and the process of applying personal meaning to the stimuli results in a definition of the attitude object. Factors such as an individual’s knowledge structures, affect, values and expectations are variables that influence one’s personal interpretation. Fazio (1986) explained in the theoretical model of the attitude to behavior relationship that there is a process that must occur prior to observing behavioral responses to attitude objects. Firstly, the attitude must be accessed. This occurs through the observation of the attitude object. Secondly, the activation of the attitude results in selective perception. This means that teachers whose attitudes have been activated that have positive attitudes toward inclusion will focus on the positive characteristics of inclusion. On the other hand, teachers whose attitudes have been accessed that have negative attitudes towards inclusion will focus on the negative characteristics of inclusion. Thirdly, the immediate perception, which is biased by the selective perception, infiltrates the individual’s definition of the attitude object revealing that previously held

16 thoughts toward the attitude object significantly impact the way in which a person develops their definition of the attitude object. Fourthly, the definition that the object has for a person is clarified and impacts the direction of behavior. “Approach behaviors are prompted by a definition of the event that consists primarily of positive perceptions of the attitude object in the immediate situation. Likewise avoidance behaviors are prompted by a negative definition of the event” (Fazio, 213). Moreover, Fazio (1986) explained that norms can have a major influence on how a person defines an event. Fifthly, the individual decides to behave in a particular manner. This theory explains that the activation of general education teachers’ attitude toward inclusion will expose their selective and immediate perceptions of inclusion, and ultimately their potential attitude toward inclusion in the Bahamas because according to the theory attitudes do impact behavior. For those teachers who have a definition of inclusion that includes a negative viewpoint will not be supportive of inclusion. On the other hand, teachers who have positive thoughts about inclusion will be supportive of inclusion. As the theory states, individuals will avoid those objects toward which their attitude is negative and approach those toward which their attitude is positive. Application of the above theory indicates that the attitudes of general education teachers in the Bahamas toward inclusion have the potential to ultimately impact the education of children with special needs in the general education classroom via the behavior of general education teachers. “Professional attitude may well act to facilitate or constrain the implementation of policies which may be radical or controversial, for the success of innovative and challenging programmes must surely depend upon the cooperation and commitment of those directly involved” (Avramidis, Bayliss & Burden,

Full document contains 168 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine the attitudes of primary public school teachers (1-6) toward inclusive education in New Providence, Bahamas. General education teachers are the principal facilitators of inclusion and research shows that they have a negative attitude toward inclusion. This quantitative descriptive study examined the attitudes of 234 general education teachers in public primary schools in New Providence, Bahamas. Respondents completed a brief demographic questionnaire and The Opinions Relative to the Integration of Students with Disabilities (ORI) developed by Antonak and Larrivee (1995) which examined general education teachers' attitudes toward the concept of inclusion, their perceived ability to teach in inclusive settings and the management of and outcomes for children with disabilities in general education. The results revealed that general education teachers have a positive attitude towards the benefits of inclusion, a negative attitude toward their ability to teach children with special needs in their general education classrooms and a negative attitude toward the concept of inclusion. General education teachers were not positive or negative toward the management of inclusive classrooms. Three demographic factors affecting positive attitudes toward inclusion were training for teaching on inclusive classrooms, higher level of education, and experience teaching children with special needs.