Running Head: American with Disabilities Act and Higher Education
Americans with Disabilities Act and Higher Education
University of Memphis
Michael Johnson MSN, RN
Dr. Jeff Wilson
February 25, 2009
Americans with Disability Act and Higher Education
In 1975 Congress passed Public Law 92-142, formally named the Education of the Handicapped Act. This act was later merged with legislation named the Americans with Disability Act (ADATA, 2009). This was in response to several civil rights activists who claimed that disabled individuals were being discriminated against in social organizations, employment and even in many institutes of higher learning. As a result of lobbyist and citizen involvement, a congressional committee assisted in developing one of the most comprehensive laws in the history of education in the United States (ADATA, 2009). This Act brought together several pieces of state and federal legislation, making appropriate education available to all eligible students with a disability. Opportunity that had been withheld from the disabled either by the physical design of the buildings or by the lack of services for the learning impaired is now a right for all citizens with or without handicaps. This law has seen several amendments to the language and to how it affects the treatment of individuals with disabilities. It is directly responsible for the education of several handicap and disabled individuals including this writer. In fact, the enrollment in college of individuals with disabilities has tripled since 1978 (Ed.Gov, 2007). Although disability discrimination has been addressed since the 1960’s, it was not until 1990 that the Americans with Disabilities Act came to full maturity.
Prior to 1975, the law of the land in higher education made room for disabled individuals who could, with minimum cost to the institution, attend school and attain a degree. Laws were in place that protected the right of the individual as long as they...