National Rural Education Association Official Podcast

S03E10 – How do we fund IDEA? The time for action is for ALL of us.

Episode Summary

Today's episode discusses a timely issue on fully funding IDEA or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Heather Zellers and Jamie Green rejoin us to discuss this very important legislation. IDEA is a law that provides free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities nationwide and ensures special education and related services to those children. The IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to almost 8 million children and youth with disabilities. Congress promised 40% of funding when it was approved but has not met that need. In other words, this is 55.5 Billion Dollars to fund IDEA fully. This money would help students with (dis)abilities and potentially free additional funds for innovation in the classroom and support other students. These funds would help educators provide early interventions to ensure all kids have an equal opportunity in education regardless of their condition. This would translate into services such as speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health services. This translates into increased gains in strategic resource allocation, improved performance in the classroom, and giving students opportunities earlier to help them actualize their potential. Fully funding the 40% federal contribution to IDEA will help all students and even teachers. It has Republican and Democratic support from New York to California. Listen to this episode as we discuss the bill's details and how it will benefit local schools in rural and urban areas, including topics of local control. This is a call to action for all our listeners, educators, administrators, and parents. Please get in touch with your senators and members of Congress to support this bill. We have a huge opportunity to make a real difference, and we invite you to join the call. About our Guests. Heather Zellers is the Director of Information and Advocacy for the Rural Schools Association of New York (RSA). Heather also serves as the Chair of the National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium (NREAC), President of the National Rural Education Association (NREA) Foundation, and is a member of the NREA Executive Committee. If you are interested in reaching out to Superintendent Jaime Green at