Ensuring Students with Disabilities Have an Opportunity to Succeed
Senator Harkin believes that all students, regardless of background or ability, should have access to an education that gives them the opportunity to live a successful and fulfilling life. With that goal in mind, Senator Harkin has:
- Supported increased funding for the Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This Act and related legislation established the federal government's commitment to fund 40 percent of the excess cost of education for students with special needs. Currently, the federal government funds roughly 17 percent of that cost, leaving the rest to states and localities.
- Made it a priority to integrate students with disabilities into classrooms and safeguard their rights in the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act.
- Secured funding to help Iowa universities train personnel to serve children with disabilities, including the University of Iowa's National Institute for Twice-Exceptionality, the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Disability Studies In Literacy, Language And Learning and other programs.
- Helped establish and support Iowa Radio Reading Information Services (IRIS) for the blind and print handicapped.
- Included support for a range of activities related to autism, such as outreach and education, surveillance, medical research, and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, in the Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations bill. The 2010 bill also includes $14 million for a new program to help students with intellectual disabilities make the transition to college and complete their postsecondary education.