Letter Representatives Van Hollen, Platts, and Walz in Support of their IDEA Full Funding Bill
September 14, 2009
Dear Representatives Van Hollen, Platts, and Walz:
On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to thank you for your leadership in introducing the Everyone Deserves Unconditional Access to Education (EDUCATE) Act. We are pleased to offer our support for this important legislation, which would make funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandatory and fully fund IDEA in six years.
As you know, for too long, Congress has failed to live up to its commitment to fund 40 percent of the cost of educating students with disabilities. Outside of the historic infusion of funds included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal government has never come close to meeting its commitment, not even reaching 20 percent in three decades. This continued underfunding — in combination with current state fiscal crises — forces school districts to either raise taxes or dip into general education budgets to make up for the shortfall, thereby cutting other critical services.
Your bill recognizes that schools and the students they serve cannot afford to wait any longer for the relief they so desperately need. We look forward to continuing to work with you on this important issue. We will also continue to work to identify offsets to help cover the cost of shifting new IDEA funding to the mandatory side.
Thank you again for your leadership on this critical matter.
Director of Government Relations
Manager of Federal Advocacy