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Congressman Cole Votes for Improved IDEA Legislation

November 19, 2004
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Tom Cole voted for The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), H.R. 1350. This legislation will improve results for students with disabilities by shifting the focus of local schools away from compliance with duplicative, confusing rules, and toward ensuring children with disabilities are really learning. This legislation passed in the House with a bipartisan vote.

"IDEA is a comprehensive plan to maximize results for children with special challenges by making funding increases and meaningful reforms. It puts an increased focus on results, relieves the burden of paper work on teachers, gives parents real options and gives schools flexibility to use funds for pre-referral services for students before they are identified as needing special education," Congressman Cole said. 

"Currently the federal government funds 19 percent of special education costs, although the federal share could be up to 40 percent. We have made great progress since 1994. At that time, the federal government only paid 8 percent of special education costs. We need to do even more and I am committed to ensuring the federal government meets its obligations to disabled children and their families," Congressman Cole said.

Over the past eight years there has been an average yearly increase of 18.6% in IDEA funding.  In 1995, $2.32 billion was allocated to IDEA; in 2004, $11.2 billion will be allocated.

"I believe that this legislation is a great step in improving the lives and academic success rate of students who otherwise could be left behind in our school system," Congressman Tom Cole said.          

The bill reauthorizes the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the nation’s special education law. H.R. 1350 will improve educational results for students with disabilities by:

  • Making Special Education Stronger for Students & Parents
  • Ensuring School Safety and Reasonable Discipline
  • Reducing Unnecessary Lawsuits and Litigation
  • Supporting Teachers & Schools
  • Reforming Special Education Funding, and Building on Historic Funding Increases

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act must now pass in the Senate.