A national Civil Rights campaign for Special Education

Now is the time for the federal government to fulfill the promise made in 1975 to America’s students to fund IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) at 40% and to provide a free and appropriate education and evaluation of unique learning needs for all children with disabilities.

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Demand the Federal Government Fulfill the Promise

Help us get to our goal

Who We Are

We are a growing diverse coalition of parents of students with disabilities, disability rights organizations, educator unions, community organizations, and representatives from our respective communities across the US.

We are putting the Federal Government on notice through a “Class Petition for Guidance,” which starts a 90-day countdown for the federal government to respond with meaningful guidance on how school districts can meet the educational needs of students of color with disabilities.

We Need Action

On March 23rd, 2021, a national coalition of parents and educators put the federal government on a 90-day notice. They filed a Class Petition for Guidance with the Department of Education to demand federal guidance by June 21. This was a concrete step to finally follow through on promises made to students with disabilities, made under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and also to ensure that the needs of students who are eligible for supports and services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, along with children who have been traumatized during the pandemic, are not overlooked.

The Keep Our PACT Act

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education has taken initial steps to remedy the needs of students with disabilities, including reintroducing the Keep Our PACT Act, which would create a 10-year mandatory glide path to fully fund both Title I and IDEA, ensuring that education is a priority in the federal budget. It is supported by over 30 education, civil rights, and disability rights organizations nationwide, including the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, The School Superintendents Association (AASA), Journey for Justice Alliance, the NAACP, The ArC, and Fulfill the Promise campaign. Find more information at vanhollen.senate.gov and susielee.house.gov.

As we recover from the pandemic, it is more important than ever to support special education students and to provide a free and appropriate education and evaluation of unique learning needs for all children with disabilities.


What’s At Stake


The failure of the federal government to keep the promise of funding IDEA at 40% means school districts across the country must battle each year for the meager federal funds which has pitted special education and general education against each other, when in fact all students benefit from funding the IDEA program.

We also know that both the short-term needs of our children as we return to schools after a devastating pandemic, as well as the sustained, permanent funding of IDEA, must be met. Our communities must be properly funded as we continue to recover from this pandemic that has taken a toll on all our students, but especially our students of color and students in poverty.

The Battle for 40%
IEP and 504

504 Plans and Their Role in Post-Pandemic Schools

  • IEP (Individualized Education Program) is covered by IDEA and applies to students who are eligible for special education services. Schools receive additional federal funding to meet IDEA requirements.
  • 504 plans are covered by the Rehabilitation Act and applies to all qualified students with disabilities. Schools do not receive additional monies for services to qualifying students.

Special Education is General Education

How We Fulfill The Promise

We support the remedies requested in the Class Petition for Guidance Documents that was filed by parents, labor unions, and the Advocacy Institute to the Department of Education on March 23, 2021, some of which include:

  • Guidance to meet student needs such as the backlog of IEP evaluations, social and emotional needs, trauma related needs, and the needs of English-language learners with disabilities and students of color with disabilities
  • Guidance regarding how to safely provide in-person close-contact special education services while also complying with necessary COVID-19 health and safety protocols to protect a population of students that may be especially susceptible to infection and death
  • Guidance to ensure that American Rescue Plan Act funds are spent in equitable ways to assist students with disabilities and students with mental health needs
  • Commitment to improving enforcement protocols and boosting the government’s oversight capacity to monitor shortcomings and prevent further systematic problems

We are committed to fighting for the necessary resources for our most vulnerable students during this devastating pandemic and as we work towards a new normal where the federal government finally fulfills its promises to our students, schools, and communities.

Passing the Keep Our PACT Act

We are building coalitions led by the people most impacted by disinvestment towards a new normal where the federal government finally fulfills its promises to our students, schools and communities.

These coalitions are working hard to pass the Keep Our PACT Act, which would close the funding gap and give schools and communities the needed resources they need for our most vulnerable students during this devastating pandemic.

Read on to learn how you can join the fight and help pass the Keep Our PACT Act.

Fulfill the Promise


Disabling Inequity: The Urgent Need for Race-Conscious Resource Remedies

In 2021, the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA’s Civil Rights Project took an in-depth look at inequities in districts meeting their legal and moral obligation to education students with disabilities, which must include providing needed mental health services, behavioral supports and educationally sound interventions by well qualified staff.

This report begins by revealing serious preexisting conditions of inadequate support that are likely to be exacerbated by the current pandemic.

Read the Executive Summary and Report

Civil Rights

Support Our Campaign


Take action to fulfill the promise

Now is the time to provide adequate funding for students with disabilities and protect the civil rights of students of color with disabilities!

En Español

Raise Awareness on Social Media

In addition to signing our petition, you can support the campaign by downloading a square or rectangle graphic below to use in a social posts.

Use the hashtag #FulfillThePromise and the link FulfillThePromise.net.

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