Action Center

Invest in Brighter Futures: Full Funding for Students with Disabilities
Our public schools rely on critical federal funding to support students with disabilities, students living in low-income communities, English language learners, and other systemically marginalized students. The bedrock law that is supposed to fund special education, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), has never been fully funded by the federal government in its 40+ years in existence.

IDEA serves more than seven million students from birth through high school graduation (or age 21). The number of students with disabilities served under IDEA has increased by 25 percent in the past two decades. The federal government has never upheld its promise to provide states and districts with 40% of the extra cost of special education. States and districts are forced to make hard choices about education funding in order to ensure students with disabilities receive an appropriate education.

At the same time, the majority of all students with disabilities spend most of their time (more than 80% of the day) in general education classrooms. And they come from diverse backgrounds, including those impacted by poverty and families where English is not the first language. Schools across the country serve these students with funds appropriated under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Title I, among the other title programs, provides important and necessary funding for these students.


What Can Be Done to Invest in the Future?

Congress can invest in students with disabilities by reaching full funding for IDEA over a 10-year period. Congress can also support our most marginalized students by increasing funding for specific programs under ESSA. We urge you to contact your Members of Congress today to tell them: Invest in us! Put IDEA on a glidepath to FULL funding and increase funding for other important education programs.

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