Special education stats are mystifying, but this handy infographic lays out the facts in an easy-to-grasp manner. Prepare to be surprised by the numbers!

Special education is a much discussed–or as my father used to say, “cussed and discussed”– topic of conversation for parents raising kids with special needs. During my teaching years, I assumed everyone had the same understanding of what special education was, how students qualified for assistance, what individualized education plans (IEPs) are, and how annual reviews work.

Special Education by the Numbers

But when I left education in 2003 after 25 years, I realized not everyone had access to education’s inside track. Since then, I’ve tried to explain special education teaching and law to curious parents, without great success. So I was very pleased to receive an email from the University of California’s USC’s Rossier Masters of Teaching Online. They wrote with information about their updated graphic, Special Education by the Numbers: A Look into Today’s Schools.

The infographic provides a highly readable overview of the special needs served by special education services in the public schools, as well as the numbers of students served. 13% of the public school population is served by special education, which translates into 6.6 million students between the ages of 3 and 21. That’s a staggering number by any measure, and potent proof that parents must advocate on behalf of their children lest they be lost in the system.

Pass the Information Along!

The number quoted above is just one of many provided in the chart. You can study it in depth at Special Education by the Numbers: A Look into Today’s Schools and pass the information along to anyone you think should know. And, if you know a special education teacher, para-professional or anyone working with your child who deserves positive recognition, give that person a shout out in the comment box below.

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