Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of Congressional Representatives introduced the EDUCATE Act, a bill that provides a ten-year glide path to fully fund IDEA. This is a top priority for AASA, and you will recall that we were active in the successful Dear Colleague letter that was a catalyst for this bill.
Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), David McKinley (R-WV), Tim Walz (D-MN), Chris Gibson (R-NY), and David Reichert (R-WA) introduced the EDUCATE Act (HR 4136).
We look forward to a similar effort in the Senate. In the meantime, here's the text of the official press release, which includes a quote from AASA Executive Director, Daniel Domenech:
Washington, DC – Today Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), David McKinley (R-WV), Tim Walz (D-MN), Chris Gibson (R-NY), and David Reichert (R-WA) introduced the bipartisan IDEA Full Funding Act. In 1975, Congress took the critical step of passing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), guaranteeing that every child with disabilities would have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. At that time, the federal government committed to pay 40 percent of the average per pupil expenditure for special education. However, that pledge has never been met, and current funding is at just 15.3 percent. The IDEA Full Funding Act would require regular increases in IDEA spending to finally meet our commitment to America’s children and schools.
“We are proud to introduce the IDEA Full Funding Act today to ensure that the federal government pays its fair share of the costs of educating students with disabilities. For too long, Congress has failed to meet its commitment to our students and teachers, straining local resources as school districts work to meet the needs of special education,” they said. “This legislation will guarantee funding increases for IDEA to ensure that our schools have the resources to provide a first-class education for every child.”
“It has been nearly 40 years since Congress pledged to help states and local schools fund the cost of educating our country’s students with disabilities. Sadly, Congress has never come close to fulfilling that worthy goal. We are proud to support the bipartisan leadership shown today with the introduction of the IDEA Full Funding Act, which would provide our students with the resources they need to succeed. We thank Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), David McKinley (R-WV), Tim Walz (D-MN), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Dave Reichert (R-WA) for their leadership in support of students with disabilities,” said Mary Kusler, Director of Government Relations, National Education Association
“The Council for Exceptional Children commends Congressmen Van Hollen, McKinley, Walz, Gibson, Huffman and Reichert for their support of our nation’s 6 million students with disabilities and the professionals who work on their behalf,” said Robin D. Brewer, president of the Council. “The IDEA Full Funding Act will fulfill a promise made to students, their families, and educators nearly four decades ago to fully invest in special education services that are critical to a student’s academic success and a lifetime of opportunities.”
“Full funding of IDEA is a top legislative priority for AASA. We strongly support the EDUCATE Act and applaud Representatives Van Hollen, Huffman, Walz, Gibson, McKinley, and Reichert for their leadership on this issue,” said Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director for AASA: The School Superintendents Association. “Fully funding IDEA is one of the surest ways to improve educational opportunities for all students, meeting the needs of students with disabilities and providing increased opportunity for all students by freeing up local dollars currently committed to covering the federal IDEA shortfall.”