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Action Alert: ESEA Reauthorization Bill Moving Fast – Contact Your Representative!

Source: TASH

On Wednesday, February 18, 2015, the House Education & the Workforce Committee approved the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) to reauthorize and amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA; formerly known as No Child Left Behind). The full House of Representatives is preparing to consider the bill on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

While NCIL is pleased that the bill includes several provisions important to the disability community – such as annual assessments in grades 3-8 and once in high school, disaggregation of data by student categories, the 95% student participation rate for all students as well as for student subgroups in annual assessments, and the use of universal design for learning principles in assessment design – the bill does not go far enough and we must voice our significant concern that H.R. 5 does not fully support students with disabilities. In fact, it creates incentives for schools and districts to remove students with disabilities from being taught the general curriculum and being eligible to earn a regular high school diploma.

NCIL urges the House to work on bipartisan legislation that continues to provide meaningful access to rigorous standards for all students and fully includes students with disabilities in every local school. Any bill to reauthorize ESEA must include the following:

  1. Limit the use of Alternate Assessments based on Alternate Achievement Standards to 1% of all students assessed;
  2. Ensure that parents are involved in the decision that
  3. Ensure that students with disabilities, including students who take an alternate assessment participate in and have the opportunity to progress in the general curriculum and are kept on track to earn a regular high school diploma;
  4. Prohibit the elimination of maintenance of effort provisions.

Take Action:

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask for the office of your Representative, and urge them to make sure any bill to reauthorize the ESEA must adhere to the four principles outlined above.

View TASH’s blog post for additional talking points.

Road to Freedom Tour Update

Students at Millersville University gather in front of the ADA bus with dozens of different protest signsThe ADA Bus is currently traveling the country prior to the celebration planned for Washington, DC in July, 2015 for the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The team has received overwhelming interest in having Tom Olin and the ADA Bus visit additional locations. There is only one ADA Bus and only one Tom Olin. We couldn’t nearly make all the stops we wanted, so the tour continues. The Road to Freedom Tour will continue into 2016 and beyond!

Read more at roadtofreedomtour.blogspot.com and adalegacy.com/ada25.

Online Workshop: Disability Discrimination Lawsuits: Ensuring Equal Access to Advocacy for Clients with Mental and/or Developmental Disabilities

People With Disabilities Foundation LogoThursday, March 12, 2015; 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PST (Note: Pacific Time!)

Event will be live streamed. Check the People With Disabilities Foundation website for updates.

Speaker: Steven Bruce, Esq., Legal Director, People With Disabilities Foundation

A plaintiff with a psychiatric and/or developmental disability such as autism, severe anxiety, depression, dementia, or psychosis, e.g., schizophrenia, may have more difficulties pursuing discrimination litigation than someone with a physical or intellectual disability. This may be due to a vulnerable mental state (e.g., suicide), because of difficulty in establishing medical evidence, or due to the advocate’s fear or stigma of the disability.  This program will discuss ways to overcome barriers to litigating on behalf of this population. These solutions will include strategies for different pathologies and will be based on strategies PWDF used successfully in U.S. federal court (e.g., reasonable accommodations for depositions) for clients with a variety of mental and/or developmental disabilities.  [Read more...]

OPM Advisory Board Application Announcement

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is looking for Multi-State Plan (MSP) enrollees or enrollee representatives to serve on the MSP Advisory Board. Enrollee representatives may include public health and/or healthcare professionals (including providers, navigators, and assisters) or members of consumer advocacy groups. Health insurance issuers or representatives of health insurance issuers will not be considered for membership.

They hope to establish a board that represents all segments of society, including, but not limited to, individuals with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people; rural or medically-underserved populations; racial or ethnic minorities; and members of tribes or tribal organizations. For that reason, they encourage all individuals who believe they have relevant expertise or a perspective that would be useful to offer to apply.  [Read more...]

Announcing the #ADAyouthpledge for the 2015 Annual Conference on Independent Living!

Dear NCIL Members, 

Alt text: Generation ADA: Rise Up! 2015 Annual Conference on Independent Living (Image: red power fist outlined by a black circle)With registration now open for the 2015 Annual Conference on Independent Living, NCIL’s Youth Caucus is proud to announce NCIL’s #ADAyouthpledge!

For the ADA 25th anniversary, celebrate and share your dedication to #GenerationADA, by pledging to bring at least one young leader to the conference. Learn more and take the #ADAyouthpledge today!​

In #DisabilitySolidarity,

NCIL Youth Caucus

WIOA Transition: Third Letter to Independent Living Grantees

Please see the letter transmitted yesterday by the Department of Education to all of the grantees impacted by the WIOA transfer of their grants from Education to the Department of Health and Human Services. Please review and share this information with any of the Independent Living grantees that are impacted by the transfer.

We are tracking the number of drawdowns being requested by grantees in G5 in advance of the freeze of your grant funds on Tuesday, February 24th, 2015. This freeze is expected to last until the grant transfers have been completed from Education to the Health and Human Services by May 8th, 2015. Again, as you might have read in our prior communications on January 27th and February 6th and during the recent webinar (archived at the ILRU website) you will not have access to your grant funds in G5 (ED) or GrantSolutions (HHS) during the transition period between February 24th and May 8th.

In our review of the current drawdown requests as of this morning in G5 we noticed that a significant number of grantees have not made any drawdown requests of their funds. We are recommending that you do not wait until the last minute to do your drawdown requests in case that there are issues or delays in G5. We want to allow sufficient time to work through any issues to ensure that you have sufficient funds during the freeze. Once the freeze is in place the Independent Living staff will not have any access to be able to assist you. Please refer to the two attached communications to grantees and the ILRU website for more information.

Please contact your Independent Living Program Specialist immediately if you need assistance.  [Read more...]

An Update from the NCIL Housing Subcommittee

The Housing Subcommittee has been hard at work the past few months preparing for the new Congressional session by updating the housing portion of the Legislative & Advocacy Priorities Booklet, which will be released next week.

Advocate Holds Fair Housing Symbol at 2011 My Medicaid Matters RallyWe are also monitoring the housing-related bills in Congress. Bills of concern include H.R. 574, which would prohibit the funding of the National Housing Trust Fund by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. The Trust Fund would fund housing for people with Extremely Low Income, a category which often include people with disabilities, particularly those on fixed incomes or who are underemployed. Also of concern is S. 65, which expands the Moving to Work demonstration program despite a lack of data on how effective the program has been. We are pleased by the introduction of HR 372, which would increase the funding for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program. With housing discrimination against persons with disabilities being one of the top categories of complaints with HUD and Fair Housing organizations, this is an important bill.

Funding for housing programs will be a very important concern in this legislative session, and NCIL continues to advocate for increased funding. Housing has been identified as one of the top issues for people with disabilities in our recent advocacy survey.

Don’t forget about housing advocacy in your communities and at the state level! There are systemic barriers for accessible, affordable, healthy / nontoxic, decent, safe, and integrated housing at every level, and it’s up to advocates everywhere to fight for housing.

Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative Webinar: Understanding the Travel Needs of People with Disabilities

  • Date: March 3, 2015
  • Time: 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. EST
  • Location: Webinar Only using Adobe Connect
  • Register online

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) needs your help and expertise to identify user needs and challenges faced by travelers with disabilities to develop transformative technology solutions.

Background

  • The USDOT’s Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI) conducts research to improve the mobility of travelers with disabilities through the use of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and other advanced technologies.
  • ATTRI is a USDOT joint program and research initiative co‐led by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), with support from the ITS Joint Program Office, and other federal agencies.  [Read more...]

Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) Program

The ADA Program is seeking the next generation of disability advocates! Young leaders with a disability are encouraged to apply for up to $10,000 in funding.

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) program awards and encourages a young adult with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26 who is dedicated to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. The program also supports an innovative project developed by the recipient to serve and empower individuals with disabilities.

The ADA is a joint program of The HSC Foundation and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his or her disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding for a project to benefit the disability community. Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection.

To apply, please see the attached guidelines and application at www.hscfoundation.org/2015ADA.php. Applications must be received by April 10, 2015 (by 5:00pm Eastern).

Source: The HSC Health Care System – Caring. Serving. Empowering.

Youth Wanted: 2015 NCIL Conference

By Meredith Raymond

The 2015 NCIL Conference is landmark event for our movement. While the conference will be a time of celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, it is also a call to action for the next generation of leaders to rise up and help shape the future!

Alt text: Generation ADA: Rise Up! 2015 Annual Conference on Independent Living (Image: red power fist outlined by a black circle)How do we rise up exactly? As a college student who worked at a CIL, I often wondered what opportunities there were for youth to serve and grow in the IL movement beyond my local CIL. In 2013 I attended NCIL’s annual conference and learned more than I ever imagined. I was equipped to be a better leader and advocate, gained a deeper understanding of the history of the disability rights and IL movements, and of the multitude of ways to get involved with NCIL- both as an individual youth member and in collaboration with my CIL. Additionally, I connected with other youth attendees and professionals in the disability community that I still keep in touch with to this day. Most of all, it was the sense of community and pride throughout the conference that is seared in my memory. I have never felt so empowered and enthusiastic for both my future and the future of our movement.

For these reasons and more, if you are a part of the ADA generation, you do not want to miss this year’s conference! It is centered on celebrating the past and equipping the future (us!). There will be a specific youth track and countless opportunities to grow, connect, and shape the future together.

Encourage your CIL to make an ADA Youth pledge to send you and other youth in your area to the conference!

See you in July!