The safety and well-being of students and educators cannot be compromised when they return to in-person instruction.
To reopen K-12 public school buildings and college campuses safely, we need to modify classrooms, cafeterias, and buses to permit social distancing. We also need to intensify support and instruction for traumatized students, reverse learning losses, and retool HVAC systems to ensure proper ventilation.
The current federal share of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is $12.76 billion—the equivalent of 13 percent of the 40 percent Congress promised to provide, far short of what is needed for the 6.8 million students with disabilities.
The closest the federal government has come to fulfilling its commitment to fund 40 percent of IDEA was 18 percent in 2005. The chronic underfunding of IDEA places additional burdens on states, local school districts, and taxpayers.
Congress should increase education funding and target the students most in need—for example, through Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), IDEA, and the Full-Service Community Schools program.