Good News! Today, July 31, 2019, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) introduced the Funding Early Childhood is the Right IDEA Act (H.R. 4107), a bipartisan bill designed to restore full funding for early intervention and preschool special education services under IDEA.
The number of children requiring the services these programs provide has been increasing at a faster rate than the funding the programs are receiving. “Early childhood interventions are crucial for a child’s development, and every child, regardless of disability status, should have an equal opportunity to obtain high quality early childhood services,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “These programs deserve increased federal funds to prove that Congress is dedicated to promoting inclusive, appropriate, and quality education for infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and supporting the schools that do this important work.”
“I’ve long advocated for fully funding IDEA programs for schools and this bill gets us closer to achieving that goal,” said Congressman Davis. “The needs of this program have increased over the years and it’s vitally important that we invest in early childhood learning through IDEA. After speaking with several groups from Illinois, including the Illinois Education Association (IEA), over the past several months, I’m excited to announce this bipartisan solution with my colleague Congressman DeSaulnier. I look forward to continuing to support IDEA programs and the students they serve.”
Peggy Kemp, Executive Director of DEC, expressed her thanks to both members stating, “The Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) applauds Representatives DeSaulnier and Davis for leading the way toward fully funding the important early childhood programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by introducing “Funding Early Childhood is the Right IDEA”. Fully funding these programs under IDEA is essential to ensuring high-quality services for young children birth through five years with disabilities and their families. We are fully committed to working with these IDEA champions to make these funds a reality.”
The bill already has over 30 groups that have indicated their support for the measure which serves as a complement to the IDEA Full Funding Bill (H.R. 1878), which also has a similar structure and broad, bipartisan support from within Congress and the education and disabilities communities.
The press release announcing the introduction of the bill is available here.
DEC will keep you posted on the next steps as this bill works its way through the Congress.