Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education took the first step toward passing the appropriations bill for major education programs in the United States.

The legislation would increase funding for special education programs operating under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by $1 billion and increases funds for other critical programs under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) such as:

+$1.0 billion for schools with low-income students (Title I of ESSA);
+$500 million to support teacher training and professional development programs (Title II of ESSA); and
+$150 million to support educating the whole child (Title IV, Part E of ESSA)

NCLD supports this piece of legislation because it will invest necessary funding in our education system to support students, educators, and parents. In a statement, Lindsay Jones, President and CEO of NCLD, said “The bill being passed out of the subcommittee represents a renewed investment that would offer an opportunity to continue building an education system that prepares its students to compete in the global market of the 21st century, provides states and districts with the flexibility to improve and expand access to critical programs, and effectively creates long-term solutions that address the needs our students face.

However, this major piece of legislation has only cleared the first hurdle of a long hurdle race. The tallest obstacle facing education advocates is that Congress will need to agree to “raise the caps” on non-defense discretionary funding. The full House Appropriations Committee will also need to agree on this legislation, followed by the entire U.S. House of Representatives—and then the bill goes to the Senate.  

NCLD will be watching later this week to see if the full House Appropriations Committee moves the legislation to the next stage with the same necessary federal funds. While Congress has taken an important first step, NCLD hopes this Congress will prioritize the needs of students, families, and educators in the federal budget.

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