Issue Background


Over the last several decades, children and youth with disabilities and those with gifts and talents have received increased supports and services, and access to the general education curriculum – resulting in achievement gains and higher expectations for their performance. Although these accomplishments are not entirely due to funding increases, the reality is that appropriate supports and services require resources.


IDEA consists of 4 parts which together help educate children and youth with disabilities from birth through age 21.

What does "full funding for IDEA" mean?

When Congress originally passed IDEA, it promised that the federal government would pay 40% of the excess cost of providing special education and related services for students in the school aged grants program, which serves the most students and receives the most funding. Yet, over these many years, Congress has never lived up to this promise. And this is only one of 4 components to IDEA. To ensure that children and youth with disabilities receive the services they are entitled to, Congress must pursue mandatory full funding of all parts of IDEA. 

Gifted and Talented

In 1993, former Secretary of Education Richard Riley dubbed the lack of gifted education a "quiet crisis" for our country. Yet, nearly two decades later, the availability of gifted education for our 3 million students with gifts and talents still varies dramatically between and within states, and means many of our nation's schools are ill-equipped to meet these students' needs. Morevover, the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act -- the only federal initiative that seeks to build the nation's capacity in this area – has a spotty funding hustory.

Do you have a story about how funding has helped your students succeed? Tell us your story!

Special/Gifted Education Funding Resources

CEC's Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Chart

Take a look at this chart to find out more about Federal funding for special and gifted education programs, including the Obama Administrations request, CEC's recommendations and past funding levels.