Data/Research: Special Education

Have a special education question? There are numerous helpful websites that provide quick answers, from understanding the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan to figuring out what “RTI” means.

Background Information for Reporters

The U.S. Department of Education maintains several datasets relevant to special education, which are ripe for analysis:

The U.S. Department of Education also posts an annual report to Congress on the implementation of IDEA, which can be found here. Additionally, the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) supports the Center for Parent Information and Resources, which offers helpful tools, such as this data webinar.

Reporters should also become familiar with online databases maintained by the states and local districts they cover. If a national database includes data aggregated from a state or local level, that means those entities maintain such data. Therefore, even if it is not posted publicly, reporters may obtain the data under a public records request from a state education department or local district.

Here are several other helpful resources:

Updated May 2021.