Amsterdam School of Economics, University of Amsterdam, TIER, Valckenierstraat 65-67, 1018 XE, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This article elaborates whether the presence of special needs students in regular schools affect the academic achievement of their classmates. The researcher examines this question in the context of primary and secondary education in the Nether- lands, where the per student budget for special needs students in regular schools is roughly twice the amount of the regular student budget. The researcher uses three independent identification approaches: student fixed effects models, school fixed effects models, and neighborhood variation. For both education levels and all three identification approaches, the estimates indicate that special needs students do not have a statistically significant effect on the academic achievement of their classmates. The estimates are precise enough to rule out even modest effects.
The effort to integrate students with special needs with normal students in regular school can be a breakthrough in education field. It teaches equality among the students. Conducting such innovation is not easy. The teacher and the school facility should accommodate the learning needs.