A release from Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD):
Today U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act, which would put Congress on a fiscally-responsible path to fully fund Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on a mandatory basis.
“When our children have access to a first-rate, quality education not only do they succeed, but our economy and our entire country succeed. Congress had the right intentions when it passed Title I and IDEA, but we have fallen short on the promises in the law to fully fund these critical programs. It’s time we kept our promises to kids today and to future generations. The Keep Our PACT Act will make sure we do just that,” said Senator Van Hollen.
Title I, which gives assistance to America’s highest-need schools, is a critical tool to ensure that every child, no matter the zip code, has access to a quality education. However, it has been deeply underfunded, shortchanging our most vulnerable students living in poverty. According to the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, the Title I formula was underfunded by $347 billion from 2005-2017. Maryland alone was shortchanged by $4.7 billion.
Similarly, IDEA calls on the federal government to fund 40 percent of the cost of special education, but Congress has never fully funded the law. Currently, IDEA state grants are funded at just 14.7 percent. In the state of Maryland, IDEA was underfunded by $316 million in 2017 alone and by nearly $3.5 billion between 2005 and 2017.
The Keep Our PACT Act would create a 10-year mandatory glide path to fully fund both Title I and IDEA, ensuring that education is a priority in the federal budget. It is supported by the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, and AASA, the School Superintendents Association.