Legislation co-authored by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin to pump billions more federal dollars into “special ed” programs is getting a big endorsement. National Education Association president Bob Chase says the provision would ensure the federal government would pay 40-percent of special ed costs.Chase says Congress promised to pay for 40-percent of special ed needs in legislation passed in the mid-1970s and hasn’t followed through. He says the feds still only pay for about 15-percent. Chase says Iowa, in particular, would see a huge payout for special-ed if the Harkin amendment is included in the new law, which wouldn’t take full effect until 2007.Under the current plan, Iowa would get 79-million dollars for special ed in 2007. Under Harkin’s measure, it’d be 230-million. This year, the state is getting about 71-million dollars. At 40-percent funding, Chase says it’d be closer to 96-million. Chase says the Harkin provision is needed to fulfill an old promise.The Senate provision was written by Iowa democrat Tom Harkin and Nebraska republican Chuck Hagel. It’s currently in committee and Chase says he hopes it’ll see action next week as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
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