It’s been nearly 40 years since Congress pledged to individuals with disabilities, their families and educators that the federal government would fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
But, Congress has yet to reach this goal.
Now, some members of Congress are trying to correct this course and have introduced legislation that would fully fund IDEA by 2025.
This week, Congressmen Van Hollen (D-MD), McKinley (R-WV), Walz (D-MN), Gibson (R-NY), Huffman (D-CA) and Reichert (R-WA) introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act (H.R. 4136), CEC-endorsed legislation. Full funding will be reached when the Federal government pays 40% of the extra cost of educating students with disabilities, today that investment is 15.3%. (Check out the Congressional press release which features a quote from Robin Brewer, CEC President!)
As budget cuts continue to negatively impact our schools and students, this is a critical time to have Congress prioritize spending on IDEA. Just a few months ago, special educators shared with CEC the deep impact budget cuts were having on schools and students; with 83% reporting that budget cuts have impacted the delivery of special education services.
CEC has been a staunch advocate for increasing the federal investment in all IDEA programs. Just last year, CEC – along with many in the education and disability communities – succeeded in recouping much of the $600 million that was cut from special education due to sequestration.
However, the federal investment for all of IDEA’s programs – early intervention, preschool, school-aged, and support programs – remains inadequate to address the comprehensive needs of children and youth with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who work on their behalf. That’s why we need you to join CEC’s effort to urge Congress to make IDEA funding a priority!