Special Education Research

SpecEd Research 1

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 $749 million in research projects, 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

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.

View the National Profile on Special Education Research and Development.

State Profiles on Special Education Research and Development 

 Arizona  Maryland  Oregon
 California  Massachusetts  Pennsylvania
 Colorado  Michigan  South Carolina
 Connecticut  Minnesota  Tennessee
 Delaware  Mississippi  Texas
 Florida  Missouri  Utah
 Hawaii  Nevada  Washington
 Illinois  New Jersey
 Washington, D.C.
 Iowa  New York
 Kansas  North Carolina
 Kentucky  Ohio  

Special Education Research Funding Updates 

Research and Development


Supporting Special Education Research and Development




CEC Issue Brief: Special Education Research Funding
The Issue Brief provides a background of federal support for special education research and CEC’s recommendations for Congressional action.

Hundreds from Special Education Research Community Call on Congress & Administration to Reverse Funding Cut
Over 260 individuals from the special education research community have issued an open letter to Congress and the Obama Administration urging for a restoration of funding for the National Center for Special Education Research, which was cut by 30% in 2011.

CEC Briefing on Capitol Hill Raises Awareness about Special Education Research 

CEC hosted a briefing for Congressional staff about the importance of investing in special education research. Titled, Driving Innovation, Improving Outcomes: Special Education Research Raises Expectations for Individuals with Disabilities, the briefing featured Dr. Margaret McLaughlin, CEC President; Dr. George Sugai, University of Connecticut, Dr. Erik Carter, Vanderbilt University; and Hannah Ehrli, 2012 CEC Clarissa Hug Teacher of the Year.

Dr. George Sugai Recaps the Briefing.

Dr. Erik Carter Recaps the Briefing.