The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released its FY 2013-2014 Report to the President, Protecting Civil Rights, Advancing Equity. This annual report contains data and case examples of reported cases of discrimination under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The report shows that the greatest number of complaints of discrimination pertain to receiving a free and appropriate education (FAPE), retaliation, and different treatment/exclusion/denial of benefits. In addition, the report includes data on combating disparities in school disciplinary practices (including restraint and seclusion); ensuring equal access to comparable educational opportunities; providing necessary academic adjustments for post-secondary students; safeguarding accessibility to appropriate technology; ensuring accessibility of programs, services, and facilities; and combating bullying and harassment on the basis of disability. See the report at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/ocr/report-to-president-and-secretary-of-education-2013-14.pdf
The National Center for Education Statistics in the Department of Education released data pertaining to high school graduation rates in the United States. The report, “Public High School Four-Year On-Time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates: School Years 2010-11 and 2011-12, First Look,” provides data by state on the percentage of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma and the percentage of students who drop out in a single year. These data do not capture students who graduate but take more than 4 years nor do they capture students who complete school with an alternative credential or a high school equivalency diploma. Eighty percent of students received a regular high school diploma within 4 years of starting 9th grade in the 2011-12 school year. Students with disabilities had a graduation rate of 61% with a range from 81% in Montana to 24% in Nevada.
A second report, “Building A Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic (2014),” released by Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center, America’s Promise Alliance, and the Alliance for Excellent Education, highlighted the 20 percentage point difference between graduation rates for students with and without disabilities. The report highlights five critical areas that will help the nation reach a 90% graduation rate by 2020, including improving outcomes for students with disabilities.
The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released data it collected during the 2011-2012 school year. These data were collected from every school and district in the country, reflecting information about 43 million students without disabilities and 6 million students with disabilities. OCR reported that:
[S]tudents of certain racial or ethnic groups and students with disabilities are disciplined at far higher rates than their peers, beginning in preschool. The CRDC data also show that an increasing number of students are losing important instructional time due to exclusionary discipline.
OCR prepared a data snapshot that summarized some of its findings pertaining to students with disabilities and discipline. Data reveal that high school students with disabilities are retained or held back a grade at higher rates than students without disabilities. Students with disabilities make up 12% of high school enrollment but 19% of students in high school held back a year. Students with disabilities are twice as likely to be suspended as students without disabilities. Students with disabilities represent a quarter of students arrested and referred to law enforcement. Students with disabilities represent 58% of students placed in seclusion and 75% of those physically restrained. Black students represent 19% of students with disabilities but 36% of students with disabilities restrained using mechanical restraints. The data snapshot included state-level data.
The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued a press release summarizing new data from a Current Population Survey supplement looking at barriers to employment among people with disabilities. As of May, 2012, over half of people with disabilities who were not working reported having one or more barriers to work. The three most commonly self-reported barriers were a person’s own disability, lack of training or education, and the need for special features at the job. About half of respondents with disabilities who worked reported having some difficulty completing their work duties because of their disability. Employed persons with disabilities were more likely (compared with persons with no disability) to have requested a change in their workplace to do their job better, to work at home, and to have flexible work schedules.
he Department of Education Office for Civil Rights released a report covering the period of 2009 to 2011 that details the types of disability rights complaints it received. Fifty-five percent of the complaints concerned disability discrimination. Of the 11,700 disability complaints OCR received, 4,600 alleged violations in the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The report indicated that students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) were twice as likely to be suspended from school as their peers without disabilities. Of all the students who were expelled in school year 2009-2010, 16% were served under IDEA. Of all reported physical restraints in schools, 70% involved children with disabilities.
The U. S. Census Bureau announced last week that the number of people without health insurance dropped from 50 million to 48.6 million in 2011, marking the first decrease since 2007. The number of uninsured dropped significantly for children and young adults, decreasing by 841,000. The percentage of people covered by Medicaid increased from 15.8 percent to 16.5 percent. The report also shows that the poverty rate remains at 15.0 percent with 46.2 million people in poverty.
The U.S. Census Bureau has released a new report, “Americans With Disabilities: 2010.” The report finds that approximately 57 million Americans, or nearly 1 in 5, have a disability, with more than half (87 million) reporting the disability as “severe.” About 4 in 10 working-age persons with a disability were employed, compared to 8 in 10 working-age persons without a disability. Adults with severe disabilities were about twice as likely as adults with non-severe disabilities to experience long-term poverty, defined as poverty lasting for over 2 years. The definition of disability used in this report differs from the definitions used in other surveys, and the Census Bureau notes that caution should be used in comparing across different data sources.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released its annual Report on the Employment of Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal Executive Branch. OPM found that total permanent Federal employment for people with disabilities increased from 187,313 in FY 2010 to 204,189 by the end of FY 2011, an increase from 10.7 to 11 percent of the Federal workforce. New hires who were people with disabilities totaled 18,738, an increase from 10.3 percent in FY 2010 to 14.7 percent in FY 2011.
The Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston has released its annual report, StateData: The National Report on Employment Services and Outcomes 2011. This publication provides detailed national and state-level data on trends in employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Its emphasis is on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). View and download this publication.