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Last Updated: 11/20/2017
 

 Article of Interest - Special Ed Legislation

The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Urges Swift Passage of Special Education Legislation, Despite Lack of Mandatory Full Funding
from AASA, April 8, 2003

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Arlington, VA – April 8, 2003 – With the House Education and Workforce Committee scheduled to vote Wednesday, April 9, on a bill to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), AASA Executive Director Paul Houston called on committee members to pass the legislation and urged quick consideration of the measure by the full House. While school administrators were disappointed that the legislation does not contain mandatory full funding for special education, AASA’s top legislative priority, Houston said that AASA enthusiastically supports H.R. 1350 because the bill’s policy improvements “practically mirror AASA’s recommendations for improved special education opportunities in public school districts.”
 
The Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act, or H.R. 1350, offers several AASA-supported reforms, such as offering school districts more flexibility to increase and improve early intervention strategies, ensuring that teachers receive on-going training to identify and address the needs of children with disabilities, reducing burdensome paperwork requirements on educators, and refocusing the law on providing a high quality education for children with special needs vs. compliance with complex federal regulations.
 
“H.R. 1350 offers the best special education policy revisions we’ve seen in decades,” Houston said. “AASA is urging full House support for this bill. Delays could derail the delivery of important legislative gains for children with special needs and the school districts that provide their educational opportunities.”
 
While the bill does not offer mandatory full funding, Houston acknowledged that the legislation authorizes increased funding over seven years, beginning at $10.5 billion for fiscal year 2004. Houston credited the relentless advocacy of school administrators for this legislative accomplishment.
 
“Since the original passage of IDEA in 1975, school administrators have fully embraced the goal of providing an equal educational opportunity for children with disabilities, but they did so with the promise that the federal government would provide up to 40 percent of the cost of educating children with disabilities,” Houston said. “Yet for nearly three decades, Congress has reneged on that promise while mandating school districts provide special education services, regardless of the rising costs.”
 
Houston said that AASA members are determined that the federal government pay its fair share of providing special education services. “It’s quite clear this funding increase is direct result of school administrators’ intense, ongoing drive for mandatory full funding,” he said. “While we support the positive policy changes this bill offers school districts, we will not stop short of our goal of mandatory full funding.”
 
American Association of School Administrators (AASA), founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 14,000 educational leaders across America and in many other countries. AASA's mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children
 
Contact: Barbara Knisely
703-875-0723
bknisely@aasa.org
 

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