[JURIST] President Bush Friday signed into law H.R. 1350, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 [PDF] (IDEA), designed among other things to ensure that students with disabilities will have special education teachers with the skills and training to teach special education and their subject area. The President's remarks at this morning's signing are online from the White House here. More information on the IDEA legislation, including the Congressional conference committee report, is available from the Council for Exceptional Children. In the wake of IDEA's passage, however, the Council sharply critized Congress for in fact appropriating $1.7 billion less for special education than it had initially promised:
Congress's actions will exacerbate the funding shortfalls--and the fallout from inadequate funding--schools and districts already face, such as a shortage of licensed special educators to teach children with disabilities and the strain placed on local communities and states as they struggle to pay the balance of special education costs.Read the full CEC press release here.
Congress also failed to appropriate additional dollars for gifted programs, which are essential for the educational progress and wellbeing of students with gifts and talents. Without adequate funding districts are unable to provide comprehensive gifted education services for students, or their programs are disbanded entirely.