IES Director’s Remarks on Advancing Special Education Research

The Condition of Education is an annual report mandated by congress to monitor educational progress across the nation. It indicates a slew of challenges special education is facing, including: 15% of PK-12 public school students in 2020-2021 receiving specialized instruction through IEPs, a struggle in hiring teachers, in particular for special education classrooms, lower academic achievement for students with disabilities when compared to achievement of their peers without disabilities, and large high school proficiency gaps as illustrated in NAEP science, reading, and math assessment scores. The concerns surrounding special education students extends to postsecondary education, where the percentage of students is even higher than public PK-12. Mark Schneider, the director of IES, has recently shared the critical need to improve special education through research efforts and speaks to the research endeavors of IES to investigate strategies that work for students with disabilities and in what conditions.