Special Education Enrollment Trends Upward
The number of students receiving special education in the nation’s public schools is on the rise, according to a new federal report.
There were 6.7 million kids with disabilities in classrooms across the country during the 2015-2016 school year, accounting for 13.2 percent of all students. That’s up from 6.6 million the year prior.
The figures, which come from an annual report issued by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, cover children ages 3 to 21 receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
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Of those in special education, slightly more than a third had specific learning disabilities while 20 percent had speech or language impairments and 14 percent were classified as having other health impairments, according to the government report.
Meanwhile, 9 percent of students with disabilities had autism, 6 percent had developmental delay and 6 percent had intellectual disability.
Among school-age children with disabilities, the report found that 63 percent spent at least 80 percent of their day in general education classrooms, up from fewer than half in 2000.
Special education enrollment has been trending upward since the 2011-2012 school year when the number of students with disabilities was at 6.4 million, though this population has steadily accounted for about 13 percent of the nation’s public school students during that time.