Children with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic—both in and out of school—and the enormous challenge of adapting to the new normal has placed schools and districts under financial strain. In light of these facts, the Center is proud to support the Supporting Children with Disabilities During COVID-19 Act (H.R. 8523).
The bill, introduced to the House of Representatives last week by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), would provide $11 billion for state grants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); $1.2 billion for IDEA’s early childhood education programs; and $55 million for the Assistive Technology Act of 1998.
These funding increases are critical to help offset the enormous costs incurred by schools and districts as they make investments in technology products, services, and personnel training in their move to remote and distance education.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Center has urged Congress to both uphold the rights of students with disabilities during the pandemic and also provide additional resources for the fulfillment of IDEA, which has been underfunded by the federal government since its passage.
“Funding is needed to help states and districts work with school teams and parents to make decisions about providing special education services and support to students with disabilities,” says Lauren Morando Rhim, executive director of the National Center for Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools. “We thank Representatives Schiff and Johnson for their commitment to ensuring schools will have the resources to educate students with disabilities.”
The Supporting Children with Disabilities During COVID-19 Act is the House companion to S.4100, which was introduced in the Senate in June by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
We urge Congress to stand firmly with America’s children and vote in support of the Supporting Children with Disabilities During COVID-19 Act. You can read the bill here.