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Change in government spending bill may benefit special education

New York families who have children with disabilities know the importance of well-rounded special education programs in our schools. Depending on a student's disability, his or her learning can be severely limited in a traditional classroom setting. Special education programs give these children the opportunity they deserve to succeed in school. Fortunately, it seems that the current administration -- and many of our country's lawmakers -- agree.

The Obama administration recently made a small change to a bill on government spending that could greatly benefit special education programs across the country. The change addresses the penalties that states face when they do not comply with federal special education funding regulations.

Right now, states must at least maintain funding for special education year over year -- of course, increased funding is always applauded. If they cut funding without approval from the federal government, they face a penalty of decreased federal funding. While this aspect of the rule would stay the same under the new bill, the penalties will change. With the change in place, money taken away from a state that violates the rules can be handed over to states that are in compliance. Right now, the money goes back to the federal government.

More money going to good special education programs would certainly be a welcome adjustment for schools in New York and across the country. It is no secret that good education programs require good financing. Thankfully, the federal government seems to be recognizing this in its latest move.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Congress Rewrites IDEA Funding Rule," Michelle Diament, March 26, 2013

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