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The Unfinished Business of the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 27, 2015

Jeff Weintraub

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Jay Ruderman (photo: Noam Galai)

My client, the Ruderman Family Foundation, is a leader in promoting greater inclusion of people with disabilities into aspects of society — schools, workplaces, religious life and many other public accommodations. So it was appropriate that Jay Ruderman, the president of the Foundation, and Congressman Jim Langevin, a Democrat from Rhode Island and a leader in the disability advocacy community, teamed up to publish this piece about the 25th anniversary (on July 26) of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Op-Ed, which I had a hand in crafting, points out that the ADA brought about a revolution for the rights of people with disabilities in this country. In it, Ruderman and Langevin note that the ADA “provided that people with disabilities would no longer have to face discrimination in the workplace and in other accommodations, and it brought about a revolution in the nation’s built environment and telecommunications, providing greater accessibility for all.”

But, it adds, even after 25 years, the U.S. still has a long way to go to achieve full integration of people with disabilities into our schools, our workplaces and our communities.

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Cong. Jim Langevin (photo: http://langevin.house.gov/)

“The misguided belief that people with disabilities are better off living and spending their days primarily with other people with disabilities, for example, is still far too prevalent across the country,” Ruderman and Langevin say, adding later that “people with disabilities – even those with clear and concrete capabilities – continue to face barriers to full and inclusive employment. Those who do have a job are too often segregated from their colleagues, where their contributions remain underestimated and underutilized. And many employers still lack a fundamental understanding of how to provide adequate accommodations – even simple and inexpensive ones – that increase access and enhance productivity in the workplace.”

The Last 15 Years in Global Education Show of Great Gains, Continued Challenges

July 27, 2015

Jeff Weintraub

Here’s a piece I wrote for the blog of (my client) the Global Partnership for Education, the leading multilateral organization promoting and supporting the development of primary education systems in developing countries around the world.

19145607229_283286d92f_kIt’s a summary of the UN’s 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report, which noted advances in primary school net enrollment rates, decreases in the number of out-of-school students, rises in literacy rates for children and adults and a growing balance – and, in many countries and regions parity between girls and boys who go to and complete primary school.

At the same time, the UN report showed that the poorest children are still far less likely than there relatively well-off counterparts to receive an education. In many countries there are still large numbers of children who do not go to primary school at all and even more who go but do not finish.

“Despite enormous progress during the past 15 years,” the report concludes, “achieving universal primary education will require renewed attention in the post-2015 era, just as the global community seeks to extend the scope to universal secondary education….Interventions will have to be tailored to the needs of specific groups of children — particularly girls, children belonging to minorities and nomadic communities, children engaged in child labor and children living with disabilities, in conflict situations or in urban slums.”

To Achieve Development Goals, Strengthen Education Worldwide

July 17, 2015

Jeff Weintraub

sdgThis September, the United Nations will commit to the new Sustainable Development Goals, which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs outline a new and ambitious worldwide effort to reduce poverty and hunger, improve health, enable equality, protect the planet and much more.

To illustrate that point, my client, the Global Partnership for Education, called on me to help them spell out the prominent evidence that real progress on all 17 of the new SDGs is only possible if all children receive a quality education.

Click here to view the entire piece. The graphic above comes from globalgoals.org.