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Friday, February 5, 2021

Full Funding of IDEA

In The Politics of Autism, I write about special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education ActFull funding might happen during the 117th Congress.

A Wednesday release from Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nevada):
Today, U.S. Representative Susie Lee (NV-03) introduced the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act, which would put Congress on a fiscally responsible path to meet its obligation to fully fund Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on a mandatory basis over the next 10 years. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate last week.
... 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 Nevada, IDEA was underfunded by $1.9 billion between 2005 and 2017.

“Before coming to Congress, I had the privilege of helping our most at-risk students get the support they need to be able to succeed in school and graduate. It is no secret that children living in poverty and those with special needs require additional resources. Fully funding IDEA and Title I will provide Clark County School District with those resources and will ensure a strong public education for all students, regardless of background. This is a critical time to pass this legislation, given the additional stress placed on these students by the pandemic. I applaud Senator Van Hollen for reintroducing this critical legislation in the Senate, and I am proud to reintroduce the Keep Our PACT Act in the House,” said Representative Lee.

In addition to Senator Van Hollen, in the Senate this legislation is supported by Senators U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley, Jack Reed, Ed Markey, Ben Cardin, Tina Smith, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown, Dick Durbin, Cory Booker, Chris Murphy, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Ray Luján, Jon Tester, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Jacky Rosen, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Tammy Duckworth.

In addition to Representative Lee, in the House the bill is supported by Representatives Joyce Beatty, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Salud Carbajal, Sean Casten, Angie Craig, Peter DeFazio, Mark DeSaulnier, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Ruben Gallego, Raúl Grijalva, Alcee Hastings, Jahana Hayes, Jim Himes, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Steven Horsford, Sheila Jackson Lee, Hank Johnson, Derek Kilmer, Barbara Lee, Alan Lowenthal, Stephen Lynch, Gwen Moore, Jerrold Nadler, Grace Napolitano, Ilhan Omar, Frank Pallone, Jr., Jimmy Panetta, Donald Payne, Jr., Katie Porter, Michael San Nicolas, John Sarbanes, Albio Sires, Adam Smith, Haley Stevens, Marilyn Strickland, Dina Titus, Rashida Tlaib, David Trone, Juan Vargas, and Nydia Velázquez.

“Regardless of their zip code, every child deserves a first-rate education. Congress made a historic commitment when it passed Title I and IDEA, but to hold up our end of the bargain, we must fully fund these critical programs to support students in lower-income neighborhoods and students with disabilities. Now more than ever – as inequities in our education system widen due to the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s time to get this done. I am committed to working alongside the Biden Administration and with the new Democratic majority in Congress to prioritize this issue and to finally fulfill our promise to children, parents, and educators in Maryland and across the country. This is a critical investment in our future, and it cannot wait,” said Senator Van Hollen.

Endorsing Organizations:
National Education Association
American Federation of Teachers
Alliance to Reclaim our Schools
Journey for Justice Alliance
National School Boards Association
National Parent Teacher Association
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
Council for Exceptional Children
The Arc
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Urban League
The School Superintendent Association (AASA)
Council of Great City Schools
Spina Bifida Association
National Association of School Psychologists
The Brain Injury Association
National Disability Rights Network
American Physical Therapy Association
The American Council of the Blind
National Down Syndrome Congress
Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE)
Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf
SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN)
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA)
Cure SMA
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
The American Psychological Association