Senator Menendez Introduces Bill to Fully Fund Special Education On A National Level

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez introduced a bill which would, if passed, eensure Congress fulfills its commitment to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

In 1975, Congress passed IDEA to ensure that every child with a disability has access to educational opportunity. But since its passage, Congress has failed to provide the funding it promised.

Under IDEA, 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 less than 13 percent.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the IDEA shortfall in the 2021-2022 school year nationwide was $23.92 billion.

The IDEA Full Funding Act, which is co-sponsored by Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen, would require regular, mandatory increases in IDEA spending to finally meet our obligation to America’s children and schools.

It is also cosponsored by more than 20 Senators and over 60 House members.

“A good quality education is about opening the doors of opportunity for every child, including those with disabilities,” Menendez said in a statement.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bicameral legislation to ensure students with disabilities have access to high-quality, well-funded special education regardless of their zip code. This bill will help level the playing field for students and Congress should work towards its swift passage,” he added.

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