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

Congress Members Can Show Support Now

The lack of IDEA funding compounds and accrues issues at our schools each year. We ask all congress members to cosponsor the IDEA Full Funding Act immediately.


of the IDEA Full Funding Act

The IDEA Full Funding Act (S. 3213 / H.R. 5984), introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), would increase the federal share of IDEA funding to 40 percent over a 10-year period.

See more on congress.gov


of the Keep Our PACT Act

The Keep our PACT Act (S. 72 / H.R. 764), which has excellent support too and was introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) in the 117th Congress, would fully fund both Title I and IDEA over a 10-year period.

See more on congress.gov

The Fulfill the Promise coalition was formed to take action on remedies for the issues in special education instruction and services across schools, including addressing historical underfunding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Fortunately, the U.S. The Department of Education has taken initial steps to remedy the needs of students with disabilities, including that it will administer 2021-2022 Civil Rights data collection for all public school districts. We are committed to advocating for full funding for resources for our students during this devastating pandemic.

Additionally, all students and families benefit from an adequately funded IDEA program that allows all students to thrive. It is an exciting time to join us towards passing funding legislation such as the Full Funding Act to close the IDEA funding gap.


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

Our coalition will continue to work with Department of Education on guidance to school districts.

If you’re a member of Congress:

If you are parents of students with disabilities, disability rights organizations, educator unions or community organizations:

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!

In 1975, Congress passed what would become the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to ensure every child with a disability has access to educational opportunity. At the same time, Congress promised to pay for 40 percent of the cost of educating students with disabilities. Congress has never lived up to that promise—the closest it has come to reaching the 40 percent commitment was 18 percent in 2005. And current funding is less than 16 percent.

Fill out your information below and then click “Start Writing” to urge your Congress members to keep the promise and cosponsor the IDEA Full Funding Act.

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.

Thank you for supporting Fulfill The Promise!

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