Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Here is a template for writing in support of the IDEA funding in the stimulus packet, up for a vote this week in the senate. You can copy and paste this text, customize it and email it to your senator, the links are in the side bar on this page. Include personal stories, information about how special education supports your child and family, and PICTURES if you have them.

California and a few other states may attempt to reduce general fund allocations to special education in the amount it receives in new IDEA funding. I included language about this in paragraph two below.

Our California senators are both democrats, and expected to support the bill, but they can use your arguments, information and pictures as they discuss this with colleagues on the other side of the aisle and try to rally the needed votes. In my personal letter, I will include images of my child using her (very expensive) speech device and a list of people employed in her program as well as information about cuts under consideration in our district. Here is a generic template.

Please feel free to share your revisons in posted comments.

Honorable Senators Feinstein and Boxer,

I am writing in support of the funding for IDEA in the stimulus packet. In spite of objections from the republican party that special education funding will not stimulate the economy, I know from personal experience that it will. Special Education provides jobs for teachers, classroom assistants, custodians, bus drivers, nurses, therapists and many others. In fact, if we are trying to create jobs, restoring funding here will provide more jobs here than in regular education because of the number of services and small classes needed by special education students. In addition, fully funding IDEA now, for the first time since the initial authorization, will allow states and local agencies to use unrestricted funds to rehire teachers and staff laid off in the current economic crises.

I encourage you to continue to support this bill and to extend my appeal, on behalf of my child, to your colleagues and friends in the republican party. Like the republican party members, I want to be sure that this package does have a stimulus effect. Please include language that prohibits states from reducing existing contributions to special education if they receive new IDEA funding.

Jobs are stimulus, and our communities are experiencing huge layoffs in education as school districts struggle to balance budgets slashed by mid-year budget cuts. Keeping teachers, classroom assistants, nurses, bus drivers and therapists employed will slow the foreclosures in our community and keep people out of the unemployment lines.

Please, for our community, for our country and for my child, implore the republicans to join you in funding IDEA now. It is not just right to finally keep this long unkept promise, it is the right time.

Thank you for your service to our country.