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Issue Background

Special Education Research

The developmental, academic, and lifelong success of the nation's seven million children and youth with exceptionalities relies on innovative research and development. Educators and parents alike depend on the availability of evidence-based strategies to support early intervention and special educational needs of children with exceptionalities.

Since its inception in 2004, the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) within the U.S. Department of Education - Institute for Education Sciences has supported over 260 research projects in 37 states totaling over $440 million, thereby providing the special education community with a better understanding of how children with exceptionalities learn, the effectiveness of strategies and interventions, and how to assess their knowledge and skills.

CEC advocates for increasing the federal investment in special education research and development so that professionals who work on behalf of children and youth with exceptionalities have the tools needed to be successful.

CEC Research Initiatives

Investing in Special Education Research: NCSER Funded Grants By State, 2005-2015

CEC and the Friends of IES Advocate for More NCSER Funding

CEC Releases Recommendations for the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) Reauthorization

CEC has released its recommendations for the Education Sciences Reform Act Reauthorization which focus on four areas: (1) strengthening the National Center for Special Education Research; (2) Providing relevant research to bridge the research-to-practice gap; (3)Explicitly recognizing special/gifted education throughout the structure of the Institute for Education Sciences; (4) Supporting the Vitality of IES by Fostering Strong, Consistent Leadership. 

Congress Moves Forward in Rewriting Education Research Legislation; Prioritizes Special Education & Includes Key CEC Recommendations

On May 8, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Strengthening Education Through Research Act, legislation that updates the Education Sciences Reform Act.  While  SETRA includes many CEC priorities and prioritizes special education funding, the investment is not nearly enough to adequately address the nation’s special education research needs. Read CEC’s SETRA Statement.