In case you have not watched the nightly news in the last few months you might not have realized that sequestration began on March 1, 2013. You may not even know what sequestration is but if your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) you will most definitely see the effect. According to USA.gov, “Sequestration, sometimes called the sequester, is a process that automatically cuts the federal budget across most departments and agencies.”
One of the biggest areas effected by the sequester is Education and more specifically Special Education. According to an article in the Atlantic, The Worst Victims of the Education Sequester: Special-Needs Students and Poor Kids, “Title 1 and Head Start will lose $740 million and $406 million, respectively. Special education will lose $644 million.” This means that special education will lose more than 5% of their funding. The chart below was put together prior to the final amounts but illustrates the effect the sequester will have on each of our States.
To reverse the effect of the sequester Senator Harkin proposed Amendment No. 53 to fund IDEA Part B State Grants at $11.7 billion for FY 2013. This amendment went to vote on March 14, 2013 and did not receive the 60 votes needed to pass. The amendment was 6 votes short of passing. Below is how each of the Senators voted grouped by their positions.
Not Voting - 1
As you can see, the Yea’s are exclusively Democrats and the Nays are exclusively Republicans. I could include a political commentary here but I think the vote speaks for itself. I will however point out that the fact that this amendment didn’t pass shows a lack of understanding on the part of the Senators that voted Nay. IDEA at its essence is a law designed to prepare my child, our children, children with special needs for life as adults. The more money spent in the informative years to “prepare them for further education, employment and independent living” and the less money they will need from social services as adults. Making a child with a disability struggle through school without appropriate services will not toughen them up for life, but will most likely cause them to have behavior and emotional issues that will stay with them forever.