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In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act also known as the ADA enacted to law. This act is a civil rights law that bans discrimination against people with disabilities in public as well as in the work place, educational institutions, transportation, and any public or private place that is open to the public. The ADA protects the rights of more than 50 million Americans that live with a disability. The purpose of this law was to make sure that those with a disability have the same opportunities and rights as those who does not attain a disability.
“The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications” (“What is the Americans with Disabilities Act”, 2017). There are five sections according to the different areas of life.The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act was signed into becoming law in 2008 and soon after became effective in the beginning of 2009. There have been alterations in the definition of disability. The new definition of the word applies to all titles of the act.
In the first section of the act, employment, was designed to aid in the access of having the same opportunities and benefits that are allotted to those without a disability. Employers that hire people with disabilities are required to provide reasonable accommodations to those that qualify. This section is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The law only applies to employers that have 15 or more employees. “The regulations for Title I define disability, establish guidelines for the reasonable accommodation process, address medical examinations and inquiries, and define “direct threat” when there is significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual employee with a disability or others” (“What is the Americans with Disabilities Act”, 2017).
The second section, state and local government, bans discrimination against individuals who have disabilities that are qualified in any programs, services, activities, that are public. This applies to all state and local governments. “It clarifies the requirements of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, for public transportation systems that receive federal financial assistance, and extends coverage to all public entities that provide public transportation, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance. It establishes detailed standards for the operation of public transit systems, including commuter and intercity rail (e.g., AMTRAK)” (“What is the Americans with Disabilities Act”, 2017). In order to prevent discrimination, administrative processes require self-evaluations and planning, reasonable modifications to certain policies, practices, as well as procedures. This section is regulated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The third section, public accommodations, bans private places of public accommodation to discriminate against those with disabilities. This includes privately owned or leased vehicles, hotels, restaurants, doctor’s offices, movie theaters, private schools, and so on. This section also sets the standard for accessibility to these facilities. Businesses must make modifications for when they are serving people with disabilities. These modifications include accommodating a customer who may have a vision, hearing, or speech disability. This is enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice as well. The fourth section, telecommunications, requires that Internet and telephone providers must provide a system of interstate and intrastate telecommunication services that lets those with disabilities who may have a hearing or speech disability effectively communicate over the phone. Closed captions of federally funded PSAs are also required. This section is enforced and regulated by the Federal Communication Commission.
The last and fifth section, miscellaneous provisions, is a list of provisions. “The final title contains a variety of provisions relating to the ADA, including its relationship to other laws, state immunity, its impact on insurance providers and benefits, prohibition against retaliation and coercion, illegal use of drugs, and attorney’s fees. This title also provides a list of certain conditions that are not to be considered as disabilities” (“What is the Americans with Disabilities Act”, 2017).
This enacted policy has done major changes in society. The ADA made changes to allow service animals to be in most public areas, requiring public and private businesses to provide communication aids and services, requiring facilities to undergo construction to meet accessibility standards, and requiring public and private medical institutions to be accessible so that patients can receive equal medical care. In public, you may notice that there has been a multitude of modifications to facilities such as public bathrooms and parking lots as well as at home activities such as watching tv. You can see these that these modifications are more prevalent in public.
When you go to a public establishment, you often see handicap parking spaces for those who may be physically disabled and these parking spots are usually located close to the entrance of the establishment.If you walk into an establishment and use their bathroom, there is usually a handicap bathroom as well. The stall is usually bigger than the other stalls and this is for those with a physical disability. When watching tv, there’s an option to display captions while the tvprogram is playing. Closed captions are a modification for those with any type of hearing disability. These modifications to facilities have helped individuals with disabilities to maneuver around in public and allows them to be a part of society just like anyone else.
As for employment opportunities, I believe that there’s room for improvement. Employers that are a part of a big company should have the means necessary in order to modify and accommodate any job so that one with a disability is able to work. As mentioned in my previous paper, many people with disabilities are not included within the workforce and a low percentage of them participates therefore they make less income than a person who doesn’t have a disability. This makes it hard for them to escape poverty due to the limited opportunities within the workforce. Often times you may never encounter someone with a disability that may be working at your local grocery store or anywhere else that may have the means to accommodate and modify their job in order for them to be able to work.
After the adoption of the 1991 Standards, changes in the accessibility allowed those with disabilities to participate in activities in these facilities daily. These provisions demonstrated improvements in accessibility and inclusion. Cost estimation was performed for buildings and requirements. Elements of this cost estimation included initial and recurring costs. The initial costs refer to capital costs incurred and recurring costs refers to operations and maintenance as well as productive space. Three construction types that were considered as an estimate cost was any alterations, new construction, and barrier removal. What was considered was the number of facilities, number of elements per facility, and unit costs as well.
The costs for barrier removal had been expected to be significant compared to new construction and alterations due to barrier removal not included in changes of the building and improved design, which can be compensated for productive space loss. Facility management costs were expected to be minimal after the implementation of the Final Rules. “For the limited number of requirements that are supplemental (relating to courthouses and play and recreationrequirements) facilities will need simply to determine if they contain one of the dozen or so supplemental requirements and determine how to contact an equipment manufacturer or contractor to make the change (the cost of bringing the element into compliance is assumed in the unit costs). Since the Department will be providing small business compliance guidance and other technical assistance documents, it is assumed that such costs are likely to be minimal” (“Benefit-Cost Analysis Approach”, n.d.).
As for evaluating the benefits, it is measured to justify the policy regarding economic terms. “Benefits from improved accessibility can be categorized either as “use” benefits – incurred because of the use of a facility or requirement – or as non-use benefits. The latter category can include the value of knowing that greater accessibility exists should it be needed in the future and the value of believing that civil society is improved, among others” (“Benefit-Cost Analysis Approach”, n.d.). The Final Rules directly impacts three sources which entails changes in access time, quality of facility access as well as quality of facility use. It has been found in economic analysis and market research that individuals with disabilities are willing to pay a premium for the usage of public transit systems if only they’re made accessible.
As a result, the costs outweigh the benefits after the implementation of the policy. Although businesses must spend additional money to accommodate these changes, the costs tend to be minimal as well as the disabled’s willingness to pay more for services that will aid in public participation. As more facilities are being reconstructed, altered, and remove barriers individuals with a disability may be more inclined to partake in daily societal activities. The implementation of the Final Rules the costs are assumed to be the same for both disabled and able-bodied individuals.
The ADA has also impacted the educational system as well. This enacted policy effected the offerings of services as well as the budgets of public schools. The ADA is applied to all entities with the exception of churches and private clubs. The ADA played an important role in the way that schools would serve students with a disability. Because of the ADA’s definition of the term disability is broad, many of the students qualified under the act, therefore parents had begun requesting services, which exhausted the school’s educational budget and assets.
“Although the vast majority of disabled students who qualify for services under these acts require nothing more than minor accommodations, such as testing modifications or the use of readers, some disabled students require much more extensive accommodations, including home schooling, special transportation, or publicly provided education at private schools that are more able to provide the necessary accommodations” (Gius, 2007). The cost of these accommodations are potentially exponential as the schools provide free, nondiscriminatory services to students. According to the descriptive statistics provided by Gius, the average expenditure per student costs $3,515 as well as the average tax rate being 4.7 percent.
In recent news, a new bill is in the process of being passed called the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. In relation to the third title of the ADA, it is noted that businesses are required to remove barriers and other obstacles that may prevent access to an establishment. Due to the resistance of implicating these changes, Congress is stepping in to resolve the issue. The passing of this law would change how businesses comply with the ADA. “Instead of requiring that a business comply proactively, the bill would place the burden on the individual who is being denied access” (Ray, 2017). If encountered by a barrier, the disabled individual has two options: they can either file a complaint through the U.S. Department of Justice or they can file a lawsuit in court without notifying the Department of Justice.
“By allowing a business an endless amount of time to become compliant with the ADA’s reasonable requirements, H.R. 620 removes any incentive for a business to proactively ensure that people with disabilities have access. Instead, the bill encourages businesses to just wait until an individual’s civil rights are violated before making any changes” (Ray 2017). The purpose of this bill is to allow the disabled to have equal access to any local business that they choose. The primary reason for the creation of the ADA is to prevent discrimination within a local grocery store or bookstore. Instead of waiting months for a business to comply with the ADA, this bill gives the disabled the ability to fight for access.
In relation to the nonprofit organization, Kids Community College, engages in advocacy for a better quality of education within the public school system regardless of learning disabilities. This non-profit charter school in Riverview, Florida has a learning system that suits every type of learner. “The Kid’s Community College Educational Philosophy is built on a simple principle: “Every student is a unique individual with unique needs, capabilities, and desires” (About Kid’s Community College n.d.). Each student has a different learning style, which is accommodated with the creation of innovative instructional methods to enhance student learning and development. “We are dedicated to encouraging and promoting the professional development of our staff and administrators in order to create and sustain our educational communities. We recognize the importance of families as the primary developmental arena for each child and promote an active collaboration among families, businesses, other schools and the community, which will serve to strengthen the effectiveness of the high-quality education we strive to offer.” (About Kid’s Community College n.d.).
The school is now expanding to more locations as well as grade levels while spreading their innovative learning techniques throughout the state of Florida. The school planned to open a new middle and high school soon, which took place already this year. “Kid’s Community College broke ground for the new middle school March 3 at Balm Riverview Road and McMullen Road. The groundbreaking for the high school on Johanna Road, which will open with grades 9 and 10, took place March 22” (Hammett, 2017). Much of the expansion is due to parent satisfaction as well as the desire for their children to stay in the same learning atmosphere that Kids Community College provides for its students.
As non-profit organizations began to accommodate those with disabilities, such as this one, services can become accessible to them without any barriers or discrimination. In particular, educational services are becoming increasingly accessible to disabled students through the advocacy of this enacted policy. By providing tuition-free learning and services, it provides equal learning opportunitiesregardless of ability. An individual may be impaired, but it does not mean that they should be discriminated against and given less opportunity. They deserve basic human rights as well.
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