Does Special Education Improve Student Outcomes?

Approximately 14 percent of American public school students receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Relatively few studies, however, have examined the academic impacts of special education on students with learning disabilities.

A new study coauthored by Syracuse University Professor Amy Ellen Schwartz attempts to fill that gap, offering evidence from America’s largest public school district in New York City.

Schwartz discusses her team’s findings – including new evidence on student outcomes, special education classification and impacts for various student groups – and some potential national implications for special education policy, practice and future research.