Over the last several decades, children and youth with disabilities and those with gifts and talents have received increased supports and services, and access to the general education curriculum – resulting in achievement gains and higher expectations for their performance. Although these accomplishments are not entirely due to funding increases, the reality is that appropriate supports and services require resources.


IDEA consists of 4 parts which together help educate children and youth with disabilities from birth through age 21. Want to learn more about these programs? Read CEC's Annual Federal Outlook for Exceptional Children.

What does "full funding for IDEA" mean?

When Congress originally passed IDEA, it promised that the federal government would pay 40% of the excess cost of providing special education and related services for students in the school aged grants program, which serves the most students and receives the most funding. Yet, over these many years, Congress has never lived up to this promise. And this is only one of 4 components to IDEA. To ensure that children and youth with disabilities receive the services they are entitled to, Congress must pursue mandatory full funding of all parts of IDEA. 

Gifted and Talented

In 1993, former Secretary of Education Richard Riley dubbed the lack of gifted education a "quiet crisis" for our country. Yet, nearly two decades later, the availability of gifted education for our 3 million students with gifts and talents still varies dramatically between and within states, and means many of our nation's schools are ill-equipped to meet these students' needs. Morevover, the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act -- the only federal initiative that seeks to build the nation's capacity in this area – has not been funded since 2011.

Do you have a story about how funding has helped your students succeed? Tell us your story!


Over the last year, CEC has worked with several organizations and stakeholders in the community to help educate Congress about what sequestration cuts will mean to our nation's children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents, and educators. If our nation goes "over the fiscal cliff," many important programs will be slashed. The U.S. Department of Education's budget will shrink by more than $4 billion dollars - IDEA funding alone will shrink by $1 billion – this will affect every public education program, school and family in our nation. Read Senator Mikulski’s (D-MD) analysis of the upcoming impact of sequestration.

Education is NOT the only thing at stake.Sequestration will also impact many programs that children and families rely on like housing and social services, medical research, public safety and law enforcement. To learn more about how reductions will impact these programs also read this FAQ.

Want to know more about sequestration's impact specifically on special education? Read CEC's Q&A.

Wonder how this might impact your state? Check out this report issued by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) which details state by state impacts of the pending cuts. And for education specific information, check out this state-by-state report created by NEA. Together, these will give you an idea of what you can expect.

Want to help? Tell Congress funding for education is important! Use CEC's Legislative Action Center today

Special/Gifted Education Funding Resources

Take a look at CEC's budget chart and other appropriation related resources to find out more about Federal funding for special and gifted education programs: 

CEC's Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Chart

Read CEC's most recent appropriations issue brief

Learn more about how budget cuts threaten special education