Disability Policy News In Brief

January 25, 2016

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January 25, 2016   |   Vol. XV, Issue 56
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Editor's Note

The AUCD office and the Federal government are closed today while the Washington DC area digs out from the recent blizzard. 


The Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID) will be holding its seventh meeting (of eight) on January 27 and 28. The Committee was established by the Secretary of Labor and mandated by section 461 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The purpose of the committee is to prepare findings, conclusions and recommendations for the Secretary on ways to increase competitive integrated employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities or other individuals with significant disabilities, and on the use of certificate programs under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and ways to improve oversight of the use of such certificate. The meetings being held this week will be open to the public and take place by webinar. Members of the public wishing to participate in the webinar must register using the following link-http://bit.ly/1PT4xjj.


Even as the national high school graduation rate has grown over the past few years, the disparity in graduation rates of students with disabilities versus those without remains extreme in many states. According to a new report issued by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education and Civic Enterprises, students with disabilities graduate at a national rate of 63.1%, which is nearly 20 points lower than the average graduation rate for all students. The disparity in graduation rates is stark throughout most of the country, as the gap is greater than 10% in 48 of 50 states. Furthermore, 33 states graduate less than 70% of students with disabilities, and six of these states (South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Alaska, and Nevada) graduated less than half. The report also highlighted an important fact-it was possible for many of these students with disabilities to graduate on time with a regular diploma when given the right supports. Low graduation rates were taken into consideration during the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  The newly reauthorized law, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), requires states to intervene in schools with low graduation rates (see AUCD summary of major provisions).

In related news, the new ESSA requirement to include plans to reduce the use of restraints and seclusion in schools prompted this new article in The Atlantic: The Future of Restraints and Seclusion in Schools. Meanwhile, House and Senate leaders are currently discussing the reintroduction of the "Keeping All Students Safe Act," which would provide federal protections in place and include grants to train education professionals on the use and misuse of restraints and seclusion.


On January 19, the National Council on Disability (NCD) released a report: Implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA): A Roadmap for People with Disabilities. This is the first in a series of three reports released over the next month by NCD that examines: 1) ACA implementation, 2) the impact of ACA (being released January 26), and 3) monitoring and enforcement of ACA (being released February 2). All reports will be available on NCD's website. It is the hope that these reports will provide the disability community with the tools they need to prioritize issues that warrant careful attention and help influence policymakers as decisions are made.

Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Toolkit

Today, January 25, AUCD together with other disability and aging advocacy groups, issued a toolkit to help advocates push for strong implementation of the new HCBS Settings Rule in their states. This new toolkit provides advocates with detailed information about the new rule and action steps for advocates to fully participate in its implementation.  The toolkit contains three documents: (1) The Medicaid HCBS Settings Rules - What You Should Know; (2) HCBS Regulations Q&A - Settings Presumed to be Institution & the Heightened Scrutiny Process, and (3) HCBS Settings Rules - How to Advocate for Truly Integrated Community Settings (Full and Abridged). For more information on your state please visit www.HCBSadvocacy.org, a website with up-to-date information about the rule and states' implementation. You can also email Kim Musheno or Christine Grosso.   

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

This week Liz Weintraub, AUCD's advocacy specialist and host of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, interviews Kruti Acharya (LEND Director at the Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois) on the importance of including family members and self advocates in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) programs. In case you missed last week's edition, Liz interviewed Tia Nelis (Self-Advocacy Specialist at the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Developmental Disabilities and Health, University of Illinois) on why self-advocates should be part of the LEND programs.  

For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For more policy news, follow Kim on Twitter at @kmusheno

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms 

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