President Biden’s FY 2022 Offers the First Step Towards IDEA Full Funding

In April, the Biden Administration released its top-line funding levels for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal. Overall, the proposed budget would increase domestic discretionary spending by 16 percent, including a 41 percent increase for the U.S. Department of Education (ED). If Congress enacts the budget proposal, it would increase ED’s funding from $73 billion to $102.8 billion. Some of the proposed funding levels relevant for individuals with learning disabilities include:

  • $15.5 billion (a $2.5 billion increase) for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B (putting Congress on a glide path to full funding)
  • $732 million for IDEA Part C, an increase of $250 million
  • $36 billion for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a $20 billion increase
  • $1 billion for districts to address student mental health by increasing the number of counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals in schools; and
  • $144 million for the Office of Civil Rights, a 10 percent increase.

In the coming weeks and months, the House and Senate Appropriations Committee will consider the budget proposal and begin negotiations on the FY 2022 appropriations.

How Does This Impact Individuals with Learning Disabilities?

LDA is supportive of the glidepath for IDEA full funding, which is a part of the IDEA Full Funding Act, and President Biden’s budget proposal puts Congress at the first step to fulfill Congress’ commitment, particularly because students with learning disabilities have the highest number of individuals identified with a disability under IDEA.

Supporting College Students with Disabilities

LDA supported the letter originated by Reps. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) sent to House appropriators asking for appropriations language to instruct the Secretary of Education to compile and disseminate relevant information and resources around education media (video conferencing, movies, computer apps, etc.) and reasonable accommodations for college students with disabilities.

How Does This Impact Individuals with Learning Disabilities?

This action aligns LDA’s policy priorities to ensure college students have access to accommodations.

Your Voice in Washington and Beyond

Communicating with Congress

In a letter to Congress,  LDA responded to a House Republican letter asking for a bipartisan probe into COVID-19 effects on students with disabilities. In a second letter to Congress, LDA responded to a letter from Congressional Democrats on statewide assessments, which urged Secretary Cardona to reverse the recent decision to require states to hold standardized testing in K-12 schools this year.

Why Did LDA Take This Action?
On the COVID-19 letter, LDA affirms the critical importance of better understanding the impact of school closures on students with disabilities, particularly those with learning disabilities, as well as ensuring that states and school districts are complying with federal special education laws such as the IDEA and Section 504. In a recent survey of parents of children with learning disabilities in public schools, more than half (57%) of respondents believed that their child’s IEP has not been appropriately implemented over the last 12 months. On the assessment letter, the position aligns with LDA’s recent statement on statewide assessments during the COVID pandemic. In a recent survey of parents of children with learning disabilities in public schools, more than 66% of respondents shared that they did not think that schools should be administering statewide assessments this school year.

READ Act Action Alert

The Reading Early and Addressing Dyslexia (READ) Act has been introduced to Congress and is one of LDA’s top policy priorities for Congress to support individuals with learning disabilities. The READ Act is a bipartisan bill that would create a grant program to replicate Pennsylvania’s Dyslexia Screening and Early Literacy Intervention Program, which uses evidence-based screening, evidence-based instruction, and intervention for students found to be at risk for early reading deficiencies or dyslexia. To support the READ Act, LDA worked to increase attention to and potentially increase the likelihood of the READ Act being considered by the House of Representatives. As of April 20th, there are 7 cosponsors, including 4 Democrats and 3 Republicans.

Why Did LDA Take This Action?

LDA supports the READ Act because it implements evidence-based reading instruction, and enhances public school’s capacity to serve students at risk for dyslexia and other reading disabilities.

Working to Strengthen EPA Standards

LDA’s Healthy Children Project, as part of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, along with 8 of LDA’s state affiliates, signed a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan asking the EPA to prioritize health, science, and equity in the agency’s work. Additionally, we asked the EPA to strengthen the Toxic Substances Control Act to increase standards and protections from toxic chemicals.

Why Did LDA Take This Action?

LDA’s HCP mission is to make products safer and air, food and water healthier by getting rid of harmful chemicals.

LDA in Washington & Nationwide

5/27 at 12:00pm EST

A free webinar with LDA's Public Policy and Advocacy Committee