The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, passed in 1975 and amended in 2004, entitles all children with disabillities to a “free appropriate public education,” and currently covers 7 million children. In February, George W. Bush promised to “work to remove barriers that still confront Americans with disabilities and their families.” However, as with most of Bush’s promises, this one means something other than what it says.
The 2007 White House budget proposes to save $3.6 billion over five years by eliminating key Medicaid funding that helps disabled children. According to Representatives George Miller and Lynn Woolsey, the funds Bush wants to cut are used to provide medical equipment for buses, provide transportation to medical appointments, and cover the administrative costs of identifying children who need special medical and educational services.
In addition to cutting the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by $6 billion, Bush has also proposed a cut of $15 billion for the No Child Left Behind Act. And, as Think Progress points out, America’s children have already been harmed by the Medicaid cuts made in January. which caused 39,000 children to lose their Medicaid coverage altogether.