Yesterday I joined Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE (I-Vt.) to introduce an amendment to the fiscal year 2008 budget resolution that would increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by $44.2 billion over five years, starting with a $10.3 billion increase in 2008.  This funding would be paid for by eliminating President Bush's tax cuts for the very wealthy - those with a taxable income above $1 million.

The federal government is supposed to pay 40 percent of a state's special education costs, with the rest subsidized by the state and local governments.  However, the federal government has not made good on its commitment!  This means local districts must make up the difference by skimping on special education, cutting from other education programs, or raising taxes.

I want to do what's best for families and schools. I don't want to force states and local school districts to forage for funds, cut back on teacher training, or delay school repairs because the federal government has failed to live up to its commitment to special education. 

Parents and students need to be able to count on a quality education. That is why fully funding IDEA has been a long-time priority of mine. Parents of disabled children face such a tough burden already.  School should not be one of the many things they worry about, particularly when the laws are already on the books to guarantee their child a public school education.