Could increasing funding for students with disabilities be the key to economic growth, reducing the school to prison pipeline, and ending ableism?
Minnesota is part of the only half of the United States that meet the requirements for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Meanwhile, Congress plans to cut funding for IDEA, and many states and local governments will not make up for the budgetary shortfall. Minnesota debate coaches are inciting dialogue about this topic by including it in the novice debate packet. The packet includes three cases to advocating for the US federal government to increase funding or regulation for education. In one case, students will advocate implementing this policy:
The US Federal Government should fully fund its commitment to cover 40% of special education costs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Rookie debater Sydney Lohse from Patrick Henry High School is passionate about this case because she has seen IDEA work successfully among her friends and classmates. “I was in fifth grade and I was just starting off the school year. This kid who actually turned out to be my friend – he was super nice and funny – was having a lot of trouble figuring out the math problems in class,” she says. “But the teacher was on the other side of the room. He gave up and threw his paper because no one would help him. After figuring out that he needs extra help in class with those kinds of things, they got someone to always be in the room with him whenever he needed help. The teacher got help too because he always got the help that he needed.” We’re always excited when debaters bring their personal experience to advocacy through debate!
Read more to learn about the arguments and evidence novices are using to advocate for increased special education funding!