An amendment introduced in U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday seeks to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The act ensures the right to a free and appropriate education for children with disabilities. When Congress initially passed legislation mandating such educational services for students with disabilities in 1975, the federal government committed to provide 40 percent of its cost, with states and school districts covering the rest. That has never come to fruition, however, with federal funding for IDEA traditionally accounting for less than 20 percent.

“For far too long, our nation’s schools have been waiting patiently for Congress to fulfill its promise to fully fund special education,” Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., said in introducing the amendment. “By fully funding special education, we would free up desperately needed funds schools across America could use to address their specific needs — whether it is state of the art classrooms, additional teachers or new textbooks.”

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