Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) announces the introduction of Senate Joint Resolution 4 (SJR 4) which urges the 117th Congress to fulfill its obligation to our special education community by fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), legislation passed by Congress in 1975 to ensure students with disabilities receive the academic support needed to succeed.
“Eight out of ten Californians are concerned their kids have fallen behind during the pandemic and students with special needs are even more vulnerable to learning loss. The federal government’s continued failure to honor its promise to those with special needs is unjustifiable in a normal year, and in light of the pandemic’s impact, it should be addressed immediately,” said Wilk. “Congress must find a way to fully fund IDEA, to help ensure our most vulnerable students have the funding they desperately need and were promised decades ago.”
IDEA guaranteed that the federal government would pay 40 percent of all special education costs. The federal government has failed to keep this promise, and since 1988 has funded on average just under 14 percent of its obligation, making it harder for school districts to provide critical services to pupils with disabilities.
In California, IDEA serves approximately 800,000 students. SJR 4 reminds Congress that IDEA was a guarantee, not an empty promise to be cast aside once passed.
“Congress has an obligation to make good on its promise and ensure the federal government pays 40 percent of the average cost to educate a child with disabilities,” said Wilk. “2021 is the year to get this done. These students deserve, and were promised, nothing less.”