Appropriations season is upon us. Every year, the President of the United States submits a proposal to Congress which describes how the President would like Congress to allocate money to the federal government. This proposal outlines how funds should be spent and represents the Administration’s policy priorities for the next year. The Appropriation Committees in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate then decide how to appropriate the funds to the respective departments within the federal government.
NCLD has been exceptionally busy this appropriation season. During this time, many advocacy groups interact with Congress to influence how they allocate money. NCLD has submitted written testimony, brought in influencers to meet with Members of Congress and hosted a briefing with over 60 cosponsoring organizations asking for full funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Our asks are simple, increase funding for programs that support students with disabilities. We are specifically asking for an increase for the following programs:
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
More than 40 years ago, Congress made a promise to our nation’s children that it would fund 40% of the extra cost to educate children with disabilities. To this day, the funding level has never reached even half of that month, consistently hovering around only 16% of the excess cost over the last few years. As a result, we are asking the Labor Health & Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee to appropriate $14 billion to IDEA funding to help students realize their goal and fund priorities on the local level.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
Because the majority of children with learning and attention issues spend most of their time in general education classes, the quality of our schools and their general education programs matter greatly, even to students with disabilities
- $2.295 billion for Title II-A in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to support teacher professional development, a $200 million increase above the FY18 enacted level.
- $1.6 billion for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants in ESSA, a $500 million increase above the FY18 enacted level.
National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)
NCLD calls on Congress to increase its investment in NCSER within the Institute of Education Sciences. Funding was NCSER was significantly decreased in recent years and we ask for $58.2 million for a $2.2 million dollar increase above the FY18 enacted level.
Next Steps in the Process
The Senate Appropriations Committee will consider the Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education funding bill soon. Students with learning and attention issues are depending on us to make sure they have the resources they need to level the playing field and be successful. We cannot do this alone, we need your help to amplify our voice. Take action now to let your Members of Congress know that you support the funding for special education, and they should, too.