Obama Tight-Lipped On Special Education Funding
When a local school board member met with President Barack Obama this week, he pressed for the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. The president said little in response.
The exchange took place during a White House meeting Tuesday when Edward McCormick, who serves on a school board in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and chairs the National Black Caucus of School Board Members, encouraged the president to meet the federal government’s initial commitment to fund 40 percent of the cost of special education. Traditionally IDEA has been federally funded at less than 20 percent.
“In every community there is a need for IDEA funding and for the government to live up to its 40 percent commitment,” McCormick told Disability Scoop that he said to the president.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
In response, Obama was noncommittal. “He thanked me for my comments and nodded his approval,” McCormick said.
McCormick’s conversation with the president comes as Obama prepares to release his 2012 budget proposal, which is expected next week. Lawmakers are currently under pressure to limit spending given the rising federal deficit.
White House spokesman Shin Inouye was unable to confirm McCormick’s account of events since he was not present at the meeting. But he affirmed Obama’s support for special education.
“President Obama supports educational opportunities for people with disabilities,” Inouye said. “He has supported expanding funding for IDEA, and supports increased enforcement and improved implementation of this important law.”