Members of the Fulfill the Promise coalition, including United Teachers Los Angeles, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association, took part in a virtual congressional hearing to discuss the need for Congress to increase funding for Title I and to meet the original promise of 40% funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) — and to urge members of congress to cosponsor the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act.
The Keep Our PACT Act would put Congress on a path to fully fund Title I and fund IDEA at 40%. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Representative Susie Lee introduced the bilateral bill to Congress earlier this year which is supported by over 30 education, civil rights, and disability rights organizations nationwide. Visit vanhollen.senate.gov and susielee.house.gov for more information.
The speakers included Congressman Ted Lieu, Senator Van Hollen, parents, educators, and researchers in the special education field. All spoke about how the historic underfunding of IDEA has negatively impacted students with disabilities and how meeting the promise that Congress made decades ago would significantly and positively impact those students, their schools, and communities.
From top left: UTLA Elementary Vice President Gloria Martinez, Texas parent Melina Espiritu-Azocar, UTLA community organizer Ilse Escobar, UTLA Director of Political Action & Community Organizing Mario Valenzuela, Alaska parent Barbara ‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak Blake, Director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies Daniel Losen, UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz, and Madison Teachers, Inc. President Mike Jones during the virtual Congressional Briefing Fulfilling the Promise: The Need to Fully Fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on Tuesday, November 16.
How you can help
You can help us build support for the Keep the PACT Act by urging your congressional representatives to cosponsor the legislation now so it is likely to pass in 2022.
Email sample text:
Dear [elected official],
As your constituent, I urge you to cosponsor the Keep The PACT Act now so that it passes in 2022.
The Keep The PACT Act would:
Create a 10-year mandatory plan to increase funding for Title 1 and meet the original 40% funding promise for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), ensuring fully funded critical programs to support students in lower-income neighborhoods and students with disabilities.
Ensure that education is a priority in the federal budget.
Give schools and communities access to sorely needed resources, such as mental health services, broadband internet, safe school buildings, and a stable teaching workforce, which will bring educational equity and justice to our most vulnerable children.
I demand that the U.S Congress step in to fulfill its promises to students, schools, and communities: provide adequate funding for students with disabilities and protect the civil rights of students of color with disabilities by increasing Title I funding and meet the original 40% funding promise for IDEA.
I am 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 all of our students, schools, and communities.