American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

ASHA Applauds Senator Tom Harkin's Reintroduction of the IDEA Full Funding Act

A Federal Education And Civil Rights Law, The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, Guarantees Children With Disabilities Equal Access To A "Free And Appropriate Public Education"

(Rockville, MD - July 26, 2011)  

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) fully supports the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Full Funding Act (S.1403), which was reintroduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) on July 20.

"Our children will benefit the most from the passage of S.1403," ASHA President Paul R. Rao, PhD, CCC-SLP, says. "The bill will ensure that students with communication disorders and other disabilities receive the highest quality special education and related services." 

Over 10 years, S.1403 would gradually increase the federal share of IDEA funding from 16.1% to 40%. It is estimated that a quarter of every dollar spent under IDEA supports speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

S.1403 also would

  • provide relief from the financial burden that state and local taxpayers face by supplying schools with the dollars that are necessary to boost the quality and range of services available for students with disabilities
  • help raise salaries for teachers and related services personnel, allowing districts to enhance recruitment and retention possibilities;
  • support school districts by increasing graduation rates and postsecondary enrollment rates of students with disabilities.

The bill has 13 additional co-sponsors: Senators Mark Begich (D-AK); Michael F. Bennet (D-CO); Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); Richard Durbin (D-IL); Al Franken (D-MN); Tim Johnson (D-SD); Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ); Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD); Patty Murray (D-WA); Jack Reed (D-RI); Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH); and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is expected to introduce a House version of S.1403 soon.

If you have any questions about S.1403 or funding of IDEA, please contact Neil Snyder, ASHA's director of federal advocacy, by phone at 800-498-2071, ext. 5614, or by e-mail at nsnyder@asha.org

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 145,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders. www.asha.org/.

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