Hello there and Happy Tuesday! If you are new here, welcome! If you are not, welcome back!
On Tuesdays, I do a “Tuesday To-Do List” post where I list action items for you to do. These are legislative alerts, contacting legislators–all having to do with special education and disabilities. This week, we talk about an old friend…fully funding IDEA 1975.
Now, if you’re not new here, you know that I have written about fully funding IDEA 1975 many times and have in fact included it on other Tuesday To-Do Lists in the past. But recent events have given this issue new momentum and interest so we better hop on board. Individually we may not be able to do much, but with other advocacy groups paying attention and calling out…maybe we can make a difference.
Right now it’s “appropriations season.” Exciting, no? But seriously, the President hopes to have his new budget unveiled by March 4, so now is the time to contact the White House and your legislators to let them know what is important to you–what issue do you want to see get more funding in the coming year? In last year’s budget, special education funding remained flat. But like everything else, costs increased and probably number of students needing services increased, though I don’t have any hard data handy. The point is, flat funding is not acceptable.
Last week, the National Council on Disabilities wrote a letter to both President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. A brief quote:
While public school doors are open to students with every type of disability in the United States, inadequate financial resources make it difficult for dedicated teachers to meet their needs. Students with disabilities are the least likely of all subgroups to earn high school diplomas. In fact, the vast majority of American students with disabilities leave high school without a high school diploma. Because of new federal laws that deny access to federal financial aid to students without a regular high school diploma, this generation of young people with disabilities has limited access to the education and training needed to become financially independent.
So if the National Council on Disabilities is pushing for this, it’s time for us to voice our concerns as well. Yes, there were other measures taken earlier this year to give special education a $500 million boost. But $500 million is so far from what we need…there are 500 districts in PA alone, who knows how many in the other 49 states. It won’t go far enough.
Now is the time to get on the phone, get on your Twitter, send an email. Let your legislators know that this is important to you. Call or email your Senators. First, find your Senator. Then, just a simple email (there’s usually a contact form on all of their websites) or a simple phone call (a staffer will ask you your name, your zip code and what issues are important to you). You can also call the White House.
If you wish to tweet your concerns, you can.
[Tweet “Our kids need full funding of #IDEA1975 in the new budget #disabilities #SpEd @BarackObama @ArneDuncan @NatCounDis http://wp.me/p1wrth-2OH “]
There is our assignment for this week–contact your legislators and tell them that full funding of IDEA is important to you and include a personal story as to why. I’m even going to include a photo of my son.