We Advocate To
Incorporate PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships as a model for family engagement in special education programs
Ensure students with special needs are college and career-ready by receiving quality instruction and support from teachers, school counselors and other specialized school support personnel that have completed the state licensure or certification process
Engage parents and families in the development and implementation of their child’s individualized education program (IEP) and 504 plan
Require schools to use positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) as an alternative to exclusionary school discipline practices such as in and out-of-school suspensions
Increase funding for Parent Training and Information (PTI) Centers to teach families of children with different abilities how to support and advocate for their child
1 in 16 students have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for learning disabilities 
Only 18 states set the same long-term goals for students with disabilities as their non-disabled peers, which can negatively impact students with disabilities and ultimately widen the achievement gap between student subgroups 
Only 10 states have detailed descriptions in their state education plan of interventions to support students with disabilities 
Congress has committed to provide 40% of the cost to educate children with disabilities under IDEA, however federal funding has only covered 16% of that cost 
PTI Centers touched almost one million parents, students with disabilities, and professionals through trainings, one on one support and online resources 
 Horowitz, S. H., Rawe, J., & Whittaker, M. C. (2017). The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5. New York: National Center for Learning Disabilities.
 National Center for Learning Disabilities. (2018). Assessing ESSA: Missed Opportunities for Students with Disabilities. New York, NY.
 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). (2017). Medicaid Helps Schools Help Children. Washington, DC.
 A Year in the Life: Parent Centers in Action. (2018). Newark, NJ.
Voice From the Field
For years, Yvonne Johnson had grown increasingly concerned about the levels of funding the state of Delaware
provided for special education students. Early diagnoses for children with special needs, specifically for learning
disabilities, had risen steadily over the years, and while the state provided extra special education funding to local
school districts for students in fourth through 12th grade, it did not provide additional funding for students in
Kindergarten through third grade.
Yvonne decided to take action by working with local legislators to draft a bill to increase special education funding
for these students. She worked with Delaware PTA to create an advocacy campaign to increase support for the bill,
developing social media posts, writing letters, drafting action alerts and providing information to local PTAs about
the need to support Delaware’s youngest learners.
In spring 2018, Yvonne and other Delaware PTA advocates hosted a rally on the steps of the state capitol and invited
legislative leaders to join them to show their support. As a result of Yvonne and other advocates’ actions, the
Delaware state legislature voted to include more funding for special education support services for students
in Kindergarten through third grade in the state budget.