Last week, Socorro AFT members met with U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso), and she agreed to sign on to and cosponsor the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) Full Funding Act.
IDEA, originally passed in 1975, was intended to provide children who have cognitive and physical disabilities with the same educational opportunities that are available to students who do not have disabilities. However, the act has always been ineffective because the federal government has never fully funded the initiative. The federal government is currently fulfilling less than 40% of what they originally pledged to fund when the bill was passed. The IDEA Full Funding Act would compel the federal government to fulfill their entire pledge.
If the IDEA Full Funding Act were passed, Texas would be able to spend on average $3,494 more each year per student with disabilities. With these funds, Texas could compensate SPED teachers more for their important work and hire more SPED teachers and teacher aides to alleviate the stress that SPED teachers are under due to staffing shortages.
The National School Superintendents Association (AASA) recently published data and talking points on their website for advocates to use in support of the IDEA Full Funding Act. On their website, you can also look up how much more your local school district would be owed if IDEA is fully funded.
As of July 15, 130 members of the U.S. House and 30 members of the U.S. Senate have cosponsored the IDEA Full Funding Act. In addition to Rep. Escobar, four other Representatives from the Texas delegation (Colin Allred, Sylvia Garcia, Lizzie Fletcher, and Joaquin Castro) have signed onto the bill as cosponsors. Please send a digital letter to your Senators and Congressperson asking them to cosponsor the IDEA Full Funding Act.