State of the Special Education Profession

The State of the Special Education Profession survey was commissioned by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Pioneers Division and supported by CEC.

The results of this survey provide a current snapshot of the state of the profession and serve as a data-driven foundation for CEC leadership activities in public policy, professional development, and development of standards. Download the slides from the Office of Special Education Programs Briefing here.

Download the full State of the Special Education Profession Survey Report.

Four thematic areas emerged in the survey results:

  • Use of the Individualized Education Program (IEP).
  • Survey respondents’ feelings of competence.
  • The importance of family engagement.
  • The need for systems-support for delivering special education.

A fifth area explored what respondents report they need to be successful with their students. Within these areas, respondents identified strengths in their profession as well as areas of concern.

For example, most respondents use the IEP frequently to guide instruction and to modify curriculum. Most respondents rate themselves as very competent in many recommended instructional and assessment practices. Most also indicated that family engagement is critical and adequate time and resources to partner with families is essential.

Respondents also value collaboration with general education and related service professionals and expressed concerns about levels of systems-support for deep and meaningful collaboration. Ultimately, respondents ranked the most important factors for their success in teaching students with exceptionalities. The top three factors included:

  • Adequate resources to meet IEP requirements.
  • Smaller class size/caseloads.
  • Administrators who support the IEP process.

You can download the full State of the Special Education Survey Report here. CEC Members can watch a webinar hosted by the authors of the Report in the CEC All-Member Forum.

Special thanks to the authors and co-chairs of the State of the Profession Workgroup, Drs. Susan A. Fowler, Mary Ruth B. Coleman, and William K. Bogdan for their leadership and dedication to this important work.