NCD Topical Overviews - Lessons for All of Us: Protecting the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities
August 2, 2005
SCOPE AND PURPOSE:
This topic paper is part of a series of topic papers designed to provide brief background information on United States disability policy for use by the delegates in their deliberations on the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.
The first section of this paper provides a brief overview of the international agreements and legal frameworks that affirm education as a right for all people, and then reviews those that specifically address the educational needs and concerns of the disability community. The second part of the paper provides a roadmap of the struggle undertaken by the disability community in the United States to have access to a free education centered on the needs of the individual. The purpose of using the United States as a case study is not to make the argument that the laws of that country should be used as a model, or that they are superior. Instead, this paper seeks to illustrate the process by which the disability community in the United States achieved a measure of protections and rights in the law to access inclusive education, and to demonstrate the continuing struggle in enforcing these laws.