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IDEA Money Watch is a project of The Advocacy Institute (www.advocacyinstitute.org), a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to the development of products, projects and services that work to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Supported by dedicated parents and advocates across the nation, IDEA Money Watch is tracking the use of federal funds that are being provided to local school districts in support of special education services (IDEA) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

We hope to report on how school districts are using IDEA ARRA funds to achieve significant and sustainable improvement for the nation’s 6 million school aged students with disabilities.

According to latest data available, these students have …

  • a dropout rate of 25%
  • a graduation rate of just over 55%

 Source: www.ideadata.org 


According to the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the academic performance of the nation’s students with disabilities is …

  • 4th Grade Reading: 13% “at” or “above proficient”
  • 8th Grade Reading: 7% “at” or “above proficient”
  • 4th Grade Math: 19% “at” or “above proficient”
  • 8th Grade Math: 8% “at” or “above proficient” 

 Source: www.nationsreportcard.gov  


According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), the nation’s federal special education law …

 “implementation of this title has been impeded by low expectations, and an insufficient focus on applying replicable research on proven methods of teaching and learning for children with disabilities.” 


According to guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, the additional funding for special education provided by the ARRA …

 “will provide an unprecedented opportunity for states, LEAs, and EISprograms to implement innovative strategies to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities while stimulating the economy.”