On March 26, the IDEA Full Funding Act (S.866 and H.R. 1878) was introduced in Congress. More than 130 federal representatives have co-sponsored the legislation.

This bipartisan legislation would establish a 10-year plan towards fully funding the federal share of investments in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The current federal share is less than 15 percent, even though Congress originally promised to fund 40 percent of the cost of educating students with disabilities in 1975.

The NJSBA, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and other education groups have expressed strong support for the IDEA Full Funding Act and urge swift passage of this legislation along with the commensurate appropriations.

“This legislation will establish a clear path towards fully achieving the federal share of resources needed to address the unique needs of almost seven million students with disabilities,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, executive director and CEO of the National School Boards Association. “Full funding and modernization of IDEA is one of NSBA’s top priorities to help ensure our country’s students with disabilities receive the access and supports they need to succeed as productive, contributing, engaging members of society.”

The NJSBA believes that the federal IDEA should be fully funded at its authorized threshold of 40 percent of the cost of special education.

Through the “It’s Time for a Great IDEA!” advocacy campaign, NSBA is highlighting the critical need for the federal government to fulfill a long overdue promise to provide equal access to public education for all children in the United States. This grassroots effort is guided by these five principles:

  1. High expectations and accountability, not bureaucratic procedures, deliver positive outcomes for students with disabilities.
  2. Effectively serving students with disabilities and their families is a shared financial responsibility.
  3. Positive engagement and collaboration with families helps students with disabilities.
  4. The success of students with disabilities depends on access to effective teachers and other special education professionals.
  5. Expanded supports directed at the youngest students with disabilities will place more learners on an earlier path toward academic life and success.