On September 15, U.S. Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Todd Russell Platts (R-PA) and Tim Walz (D-MN) introduced the Everyone Deserves UnConditional Access to Education (EDUCATE) Act (H.R.3578). This legislation would fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Congress passed the IDEA in 1975 with a pledge to fund 40 percent of its costs but has consistently fallen short of that goal: the fiscal year 2009 federal budget only covered about 17.5 percent. While the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included a temporary infusion of funding for special education, the EDUCATE Act would make sure that schools and states have a regular, reliable source of IDEA funding so they can plan appropriately to meet the needs of diverse students.
"This legislation will guarantee funding increases for IDEA every year and ensure that our schools have the resources they need to provide a first-class education to every special needs child," said Van Hollen.
"A reform of the IDEA funding process is long overdue," said Platts. "If the federal government paid its fair share of the costs of the special education mandate, not only would special needs students benefit, but it would free up resources for school districts, giving them additional resources to address local educational needs without raising taxes."