We celebrate the ADA. Let’s defend the IDEA

This summer marks the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the result of decades of advocacy by people across the nation.

This historic law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in places of employment, federal and local government programs (including public schools), and in providing goods and services. ADA guarantees reasonable accommodations for employment, which ensures equal opportunity in the application process, enables qualified people with disabilities to perform job functions, and enables employees with disabilities to the same privileges and benefits provided to the other employees.

ADA removed many barriers that before shut students and others with disabilities out of schools, modes of transportation, workplaces, and other facilities, institutions, and accommodations. The law is about civil rights as much as it’s about access; you can’t participate fully in our democracy if, for example, you can’t get into the school or the voting booth. Of course, there are still hurdles—but the Americans with Disabilities Act has opened many doors.

As educators know, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) works hand in hand with ADA to provide students with the support, tools, and time they need by ensuring access to a free and appropriate public education. 

Both of these laws focus on opening up opportunities, but the ideal they represent faces real threats from the Donald Trump-Betsy DeVos education agenda. The education secretary is proposing a nearly $10-billion cut to education funding, which includes a $113-million cut in IDEA funding.

Whether you’re education support professionals, specialized instructional support personnel, or teachers, you know students need more support—not less. Join me in celebrating the ADA and what it’s meant for all Americans. Let’s also stand together to protect IDEA funding by calling on Congress to reject the Trump-DeVos budget. For more information and to take action, click here.



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