How Special Education Students Are Among the Biggest Victims of Federal Spending Drops
Across the country, advocates for children with disabilities are grappling with the impact of federal budget cuts to special education programs. Let’s explore the impact and how many young people’s lives are affected.
2013’s massive budget cuts (the sequestration) included a 5 percent reduction in federal funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which has had major negative effects on children across the country.
Not only are children and their families affected, so are educators who are under the risk of pay cuts or job losses.
Special education students whose programs will be or have been affected by federal budget cuts
Jobs that could be lost as a result of the cuts
Reduction in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B Grants for fiscal year 2013:
What Is Happening?
The across-the-board cuts to federal education spending have resulted in:
- Services cut or eliminated for millions of students.
- Funding for children living in poverty, special education, and Head Start slashed by billions.
- Ballooning class sizes.
- Elimination of after-school programs.
- Decimation of programs for our most vulnerable—homeless students, English language learners and high-poverty, struggling schools.
- Slashing of financial aid for college students.
- Loss of tens of thousands of education jobs—at early childhood, elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels.
Not Living Up to Promises
Under the IDEA, the government committed to helping make up the difference in the cost of educating a disabled student and a general student. But it’s never even come close to coming through on that commitment.
Percentage of difference promised
Highest percentage of difference given
Percentage given under sequestration
Why Does it Matter?
For millions of students with special needs, these programs have proved crucial to their development and success later in life.
1 in 3
Students with learning disabilities who don’t finish high school
3 in 5
Students with emotional disabilities who don’t finish high school
Arrest rates for youth with disabilities who drop out of school
Emotional/behavioral disabilities 73%
Learning disabilities 62%
Amount taxpayers spend per year to incarcerate one person
Amount needed to educate one child with a disability