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National PTA Applauds Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Special Education Funding

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Heidi May Wilson, Media Relations Manager

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Feb. 3, 2015) Last week, a bill calling for full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was introduced in the House. IDEA, which was signed into law in 1975, provides grants to states to support students with special needs.

“At the time of the passage of IDEA, the federal government committed to providing schools 40% of the excess cost of educating children with special needs. This commitment, however, has never been met and current funding for special education is at 16.1%,” said Otha Thornton, president of National PTA. “Full funding of IDEA is a key public policy priority of National PTA. The association applauds Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), David McKinley (R-WV), Tim Walz (D-MN), Chris Gibson (R-NY), and Dave Reichert (R-WA) for their bipartisan leadership and for introducing the IDEA Full Funding Act to ensure children with special needs have access to education and services that will enable them to reach their full potential.”

The IDEA Full Funding Act would require Congress to gradually increase appropriations for IDEA grants and meet its responsibility to support America’s schools and children.

National PTA has long believed that every child—regardless of his or her economic status, gender, religion, prior academic achievement, disability or behavioral history—has the right of access to a high quality education. The association also believes that greater financial support is essential for schools to be able to provide a quality education to children with special needs. Achievement gaps are widening due to a lack of increased investment in IDEA. In addition to fully funding IDEA, National PTA advocates for improvements to the law that prioritize family engagement, ensure children receive quality instruction from teachers and support personnel, and require transition planning services for special education students and their families beginning no later than the age of 14.

National PTA remains committed to working with Congress to increase funding for special education to ensure that all students graduate ready for college and the workforce and that the rights of children with special needs and their families are fully protected.

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth.