Posts Tagged ‘disability & schools’

“The Pyrrhic Victory For The Disabled”

As noted in posts here and at Cato, the University of California, Berkeley is considering taking down free online course content rather than expose itself to liability and litigation over its possible lack of accessibility for some disabled users. One irony: even if the welfare of disabled persons is treated as the only important outcome, the application of the ADA is probably going to do harm, because online alternatives to classroom instruction are particularly valuable to disabled persons, notably those with impaired mobility. [Alex Tabarrok, FEE (“The ADA Attack on Online Courses Hurts the Disabled Too”) Scott Greenfield (from whom title is taken); The Suburbanist (“So if your disability keeps you homebound, then the ADA will prevent you from viewing online courses.”); Preston Cooper, Forbes.

Berkeley, facing accessibility demands, may take down free online course content

Advancing a trend we’ve been warning about, the University of California, Berkeley, said it may have to take down educational course content posted free online for the benefit of the public due to an ongoing conflict with the U.S. Department of Justice over whether it is obliged to accompany the content with expensive captioning and other technological assists to make it more accessible to disabled visitors. I’ve got a write-up at Cato. More: Robby Soave, Reason; Andrej Karpathy Twitter thread about withdrawal of computer science videos; earlier on web accessibility. And this tweet, from Prof. Sam Bagenstos responding to Soave’s article, represents the culmination of the entire civil rights model.

Schools roundup

“Family of NYC autistic teen found dead to get $2.7M”

14-year-old Avonte Oquendo left his school in Queens without permission and was later found dead. “A law passed after his death required schools to install audible door alarms.” [Associated Press]

Update Sept. 17: Original link above now broken, but many other links to the same AP coverage remain active as of this writing [NBC New York, Insurance Journal, Chicago Tribune, WPIX, etc.] The New York Post’s coverage is here.

Schools roundup

  • Fear of regulators drives many campuses to restrict speech [Greg Lukianoff of FIRE interviewed by Caleb Brown, Cato podcast] New UCLA Title IX policy requires faculty to inform on “possible” sex harassment, and Prof. Bainbridge objects;
  • Tributes to my much admired colleague, the late Cato Institute education scholar Andrew Coulson [Neal McCluskey and Jason Bedrick, Adam Schaeffer, Nick Gillespie/Reason]
  • “Total Law School Enrollment at Lowest Point Since 1977; 1L Class Size Lowest Since 1973” [Derek Muller]
  • New Jersey: “Elizabeth Public Schools Spend More on Attorneys than Textbooks, Heat or Electricity” [WPIX (autoplays)]
  • “I began to see the social sciences as tribal moral communities, becoming ever more committed to social justice, and ever less hospitable to dissenting views.” Jonathan Haidt interviewed by John Leo [Minding the Campus]
  • Furor continues over U.S. Department of Education funding of “facilitated communication” with profoundly disabled persons [David Auerbach, Slate]
  • “Rhode Island: Children Under 10 Shall Not Be Left Home Alone, Even Briefly” [Lenore Skenazy]

Demoralized special-ed teachers

NPR covers the problems of the special ed classroom, where resources may be flowing but teacher morale is not:

“I don’t know how to describe it,” she says. “It’s just so much work.”

She’s not talking about teaching or lesson planning or even working with disruptive students. She really likes those parts of the job.

“It’s all the other compliance and laws and paperwork.”

The intensive legalities of individualized education plans and the rest of special education law are mostly the creation of federal statutes like IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. So it’s your ball, Congress.

Schools roundup

Schools roundup

  • Bernie Sanders proposals on college finance would not only cost megabucks but homogenize/bureaucratize higher ed [David Fahrenthold, WaPo] While Sen. Sanders “understands that health care and education are the New Commanding Heights”, his colleague Sen. Warren knows how to inquisit-ize them [Arnold Kling]
  • It’s often said that student loans are undischargeable in bankruptcy, truth seems to be a bit more complicated [George Leef]
  • The zombie programs that just won’t die at the Department of Education [Danny Vinik, Politico]
  • If you wonder why the construction costs of a new high school in my area clock $115 million, look to changes in state prevailing wage law [Charles Jenkins, Frederick News-Post]
  • Modest ideas for federal-level education reform: repeal IDEA, English-language-learner mandates [Education Realist]
  • How Title IX came to shape college procedures on sexual assault allegations [Scott Greenfield]
  • British Columbia Supreme Court: not negligent to allow middle schoolers to play variety of tag called “grounders” [Erik Magraken]

Children and schools roundup

  • L.A.: “school police estimated they would need 80 new officers to protect students walking home from school with iPads.” [Annie Gilbertson/KPCC]
  • “Md. officials: Letting ‘free range’ kids walk or play alone is not neglect” [Donna St. George/Washington Post, earlier]
  • Foes of education vouchers turn to argument that private schools not obliged to accommodate disabled kids, but it’s complicated [Rick Esenberg]
  • U.K.: “Children banned from doing handstands and cartwheels at Plymouth primary school” [Plymouth Herald]
  • Florida officials remove kids from home after 11 year old found playing alone in yard [Lenore Skenazy posts one, two, three, plus a Chicago case (“Family Defense Center”) and overview]
  • In left-meets-right campaign to beat up on “deadbeat dads,” right seems more gung-ho at the moment [Connor Wolf/Daily Caller, my earlier Cato]
  • North Carolina high schoolers’ alarm-clocks-go-off-in-lockers prank annoyed school administrators. Felony-level annoyance? [Uproxx]

Disabled rights roundup

  • Per The Economist, long-awaited Justice Department rules decreeing ADA accessibility for websites (earlier here, here, etc.) expected any day now, “in June. For example, each picture must have text describing it, so that screen-reader programs can tell blind people what is there.” Individual enforcement actions, as against Peapod, aren’t waiting [DoJ press release] Settlement with MOOC firm signals DOJ plans to deal with online education providers [Cooley] Contributor believes it’s a snap to include online captioning in all online Harvard and MIT courses, so what’re they waiting for? [Time]
  • Rest of the Economist article is of interest too, especially on ADA filing mills in Florida and elsewhere;
  • In Sheehan v. San Francisco, Ninth Circuit created right to ADA accommodation in confrontations with law enforcers, SCOTUS reversed on other (qualified immunity) grounds [Mark Pulliam, City Journal; Richard Re, Prawfs]
  • Commemorations of 25th anniversary of the ADA — here’s what I had to say about the 20th — include plans “to hold [various Chicago institutions] publicly accountable for their commitments” to, inter alia, “increase civic engagement around disability issues” [Michael Waterstone, Prawfs]
  • Sacramento: “Squeeze Inn owner joins fight against costly ADA lawsuits” [KCRA]
  • Spread of fake service dog paraphernalia alarms groups that work with actual service dogs [BBC]
  • Intended class-action plaintiff sues McDonald’s over new style Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers, saying touchscreen format unfair to disabled users []