Every kid has the fundamental right to an education, and special education children need special attention to ensure they have equal access to that education. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of the number of students enrolled in special education per state, as this data may aid communities and schools in better planning and resource allocation for giving these students the assistance they require. It is possible to ensure that these students receive the education they deserve by being aware of their particular needs and the level of support required.
Understanding the salary for special education teachers can provide insights into the resources allocated for these professionals. We’ll examine the number of special education students in each state in the US in more detail in this blog. To better comprehend the present situation of special education in the nation, let’s dive in and investigate the statistics.
Information on the Number of Special Education Students by State
The number of special education students by state varies significantly, but the following general data in special education statistics 2021:
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimates that 7 million children in the United States between the ages of 6 and 21 received special education services for the 2019–2020 academic year. This amounts to almost 14% of all students in this age group enrolled in public schools.
State-by-state, the proportion of students in special education varies from just over 1% in Utah to over 19% in Mississippi. While some states with the lowest percentages of special education students are Utah, Idaho, and Montana, others with the highest rates include Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico.
It’s crucial to remember that the number of students enrolled in special education might change depending on various variables, including state policies, student demographics, and other aspects. Additionally, because some students with disabilities may not be identified as needing special education services, the percentage of students getting special education services may not accurately reflect the number of students with disabilities.
What is the Maximum Percentage of Special Education Students Placed in an Inclusive Classroom?
The number of special education students by state and school district may have a different maximum number of special education students allowed in an inclusive classroom. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) generally encourages placing students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment, which calls for placing them as much as feasible in general education classrooms. The team in charge of the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) should decide what placement is best for each student based on their unique requirements.
The IEP team, which consists of the parents or guardians, teachers, and other pertinent school personnel, identifies each student’s unique requirements and offers suggestions for the best possible placement. For some students, the IEP team may decide that an inclusive classroom setting is best, whereas, for others, a special education classroom or additional special education services may be more suitable.
Noting that inclusive classrooms foster social contact and offer a safe learning environment for all students, research has demonstrated that they can be advantageous for both children with and without impairments. However, the IEP team should decide whether to enroll students in an inclusive classroom based on their unique requirements.
The best states for special education in 2022 have not come out yet, but here are the top 5 states for special education, by WalletHub’s “2021 Best and Worst States for Children with Disabilities” report: Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Jersey, and New Hampshire.
While the top 5 worst states for special education, according to the same report, are: Mississippi, Alabama, Nevada, Louisiana, and West Virginia.
Additional Information on the Distribution of Children in Special Education by State
Here are some further analyses of the distribution of children in special education by state:
- Variations in the Special Education Population: Each has a different proportion of special education students by state. The percentage of children aged 6 to 21 who got special education services in the 2019–2020 school year varied from 7.5% in Utah to 17.5% in Louisiana, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Variations in state policy, student demography, and other causes might bring on these discrepancies.
- Identification Rates: States can also differ significantly in the proportion of students who are identified as needing special education services. The percentage of students aged 6 to 21 who were classified as having a disability during the 2019–2020 academic year varied from 7.4% in Hawaii to 16.4% in Mississippi, according to NCES. These variances can have complicated causes, including various state laws and practices and cultural and linguistic aspects.
- The most prevalent categories of disabilities among children in special education differ by state as well. The percentage of students with learning disabilities in 2021 is not yet available. According to NCES, particular learning disability, which accounted for 34.9% of all students receiving special education services, was the most prevalent disability category in the 2019–2020 academic year. In Mississippi, 47.5% of students were in this group, compared to 20.5% in Hawaii. Speech or language impairment, intellectual incapacity, and emotional instability are typical categories of disabilities.
- Despite differences in the number of children enrolled in special education by state, all states struggle to provide students with disabilities with high-quality services. These difficulties include the lack of skilled teachers and service providers, financial restrictions, and legal and regulatory requirements. Many states have put laws and initiatives in place to enhance the caliber of special education services and results for students with disabilities to address these issues.
The distribution of students enrolled in special education by state can shed light on the requirements and difficulties each state’s special education system must address. Policymakers, educators, and families can collaborate to create successful ways to assist the education and development of students with disabilities by being aware of these variations.
Special Education Statistics
Understanding the present situation of special education in the United States requires having access to special education statistics. These data include important information about the number of students with disabilities in the nation, the most prevalent forms of disabilities, and the resources allocated to help these students. The following are some significant areas that special education data can illuminate:
- Prevalence of Disabilities: Data on special education students’ disabilities can give schools and communities information they can use to plan better and allocate resources for supporting these children. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 7 million students, or 14% of the total public school enrolment, aged 3 to 21 in the 2019–2020 school year received special education services. Specific learning challenges, speech or language impairments, and other health issues were the most prevalent disability among these students.
- Graduation Rates: Information about the graduation rates of students with disabilities can also be gleaned from special education statistics. According to the Department of Education, the U.S. states that the graduation rate for students with disabilities in their four-year adjusted cohort during the 2018–19 academic year was 67.1%, lower than the overall graduation rate of 85.8%. The need for ongoing assistance and resources to guarantee that all students with disabilities obtain a quality education and have the chance to graduate from high school is brought to light by this.
- Resources and Funding: Information about special education statistics might shed light on the funds and resources allotted to assist children with disabilities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average per-student cost of special education was $19,550 in the 2018–2019 school year, compared to $12,756 for standard education. Additionally, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provided $13.2 billion in federal funds for special education during the 2020 fiscal year. However, many supporters contend that this money still isn’t enough to cover the requirements of disabled students and their families.
In general, statistics on special education are a useful resource for comprehending the present situation of special education in the United States, including the prevalence of disabilities, graduation rates, funding, and resources. Schools and communities may better help children with disabilities and guarantee a quality education by evaluating and interpreting this data.
What is the Current Special Education Teacher’s Statistics?
Special education teachers play a crucial role in the educational system by ensuring disabled students get the assistance required to succeed. Following are some significant figures about special education teachers:
- Employment: As of May 2020, around 439,300 special education instructors were working in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 80% of these educators are employed by public schools, with the remaining 20% employed by private or other educational institutions.
- Demand for Special Education Teachers: There will likely be a high demand for special education teachers in the upcoming years. Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 3% increase in employment for special education instructors, which is about average for all occupations.
- Despite the demand for these professionals, special education teacher shortages exist in many schools and districts nationwide. This can be because there aren’t enough eligible applicants or because there aren’t enough money or other resources to support special education programs. In the 2017–2018 school year, 49 states and the District of Columbia reported a shortage of special education teachers, according to research by the Learning Policy Institute.
- Salaries: Depending on criteria including geography, educational attainment, and years of experience, special education instructors’ typical yearly salaries can vary. As of May 2020, the median yearly pay for special education instructors in the US was $63,660, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, depending on the aforementioned conditions, this can range from about $42,000 to over $100,000.
- Retention Rates: Given the difficulty and demands of the work, retention rates for special education instructors might be problematic. According to a National Council on Teacher Quality report, the average retention rate for special education instructors in the United States was 78% in the 2015–2016 academic year. The average retention rate for all teachers was 81%, which is a little lower.
Overall, special education instructors are essential to the educational system, and data on their employment, demand, pay, and retention rates offer important insights into the state of this profession today. Understanding these numbers will help schools and districts work to assist special education instructors better and make sure they have the supplies they need to give students with disabilities a top-notch education.
Jennifer Hanson is a dedicated and seasoned writer specializing in the field of special education. With a passion for advocating for the rights and needs of children with diverse learning abilities, Jennifer uses her pen to educate, inspire, and empower both educators and parents alike.
We hope you enjoyed today’s discussion of the Number of Special Education Students by State. Have a great day!