Trying to evaluate the effectiveness of the special-education programs offered in individual public school districts, in private schools and in regional and county specialized schools is virtually impossible without access to better data about costs and longitudinal studies that allow districts to track progress of individual students and categories of students.
You can't fix something you don't understand, as one special-education advocate put it.
Sadly, there is no good cost data and no good data on outcomes. It has been a decade since the state took an in-depth look at special education. It's time for another study — one that will enable educators, parents and public officials to better determine which approaches work best and in what settings, and which programs are most cost-effective.