Students with disabilities

The 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees a “free and appropriate education” to all American children with disabilities regardless of their physical or mental disability. IDEA’s goal is to prepare children with disabilities for further education, employment and independent living. Before this legislation, more than a million of these children were unable or prohibited from receiving an education. Now, 7.1 million eligible students ages 3–21 with disabilities are covered by IDEA, which has an annual budget of $13.6 billion. Advocates claim that as result of this law many people, rather than being housed in institutions at taxpayer expense, are now enrolled in college and participating in our workforce. However, estimates of the number of American children eligible for coverage under IDEA range from 15 million to three times this number.

Advocates say state and local budget cuts are limiting IDEA’s services to only the most seriously disabled, leaving many millions of needy and qualified children without help. They claim states and local school districts are failing to identify and enroll many eligible students in IDEA. Nor are these administrators forthcoming in giving parents of children with disabilities information on the services that IDEA could provide for their children. Advocates say parents are in the best position to advocate for their child and that they should know their rights, keep records and get written evaluations of their children whenever examined. Advocates say the government needs to be more proactive in their oversight of this program and ensure all students with disabilities receive the assistance they need and fulfil their academic and personal potential.

Proposed Legislation: Reintroduction of H.R.511 - TEAM-Empowerment Act of 2013
Prospective Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY)

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Poll Opening Date
May 22, 2023
Poll Closing Date
May 28, 2023

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