Wyden co-sponsors legislation to fully fund special education

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today announced he is co-sponsoring a bill that would finally ensure Congress’ commitment to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), decades-old legislation to ensure every child with a disability has access to educational opportunity.

Wyden said the IDEA Full Funding Act introduced by Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., would fix Congress’ failure to provide funding promised by the historic IDEA when it first passed in 1975.

“After more than four decades, it’s long past time Congress came through on the commitment to fully fund this essential program for students with disabilities,” Wyden said. “All children deserve the opportunity to get a top-notch education that takes into account their needs and abilities.”

Under the 1975 IDEA legislation, the federal government committed to pay 40 percent of the average per pupil expenditure for special education. However, that pledge has never been met, and current funding is at just 15.7 percent. The IDEA Full Funding Act would require regular increases in IDEA spending to finally meet our commitment to America’s children and schools.

In addition to Wyden, also co-sponsoring the bill are Senators Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Bob Casey, D-Pa., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.

A letter of support from over 20 education groups is here. The full text of the legislation is here. And a web version of this release is here.