Click here to download the PDF – NDSC Advocacy Toolkit for Self-Advocates
Questions for Candidates on Education and Employment
Prior to 1971, public schools had no obligation to educate children with disabilities and many did not. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — IDEA) guarantees all children the right to a free and appropriate public education in the school they would otherwise attend if they did not have disabilities. The goal of education for all individuals is to prepare them for a meaningful career, economic self-sufficiency and a meaningful life in the community. Despite the fact that this law was passed more than 30 years ago, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities remains at about 90 percent.
Questions for candidates
- Should schools provide the same opportunities (academic and non-academic) for students with disabilities as they do for non-disabled students?
- When parents disagree with schools and need to utilize due process procedures, do you think the burden of proof should be on the parents or the schools?
- Should parents be required to pay expert witness fees when they use an expert witness in a due process hearing?
- Do you think transition services (for ages 18-21) to prepare students with disabilities for jobs and other post-secondary opportunities should be real jobs in the community with people who are not disabled?
- Do you think the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act should be fully funded at the federal level as was promised when initially passed?
- Do you think that all people with disabilities should have the opportunity to work at a real job with competitive wages?
- What would you do to increase work opportunities for people with disabilities?
Questions for Candidates on Community Living Services
The federal/state Medicaid program funds most adult services such as housing, transportation and support staff who provide assistance to individuals with disabilities with the activities of daily living. It also provides services to some children with disabilities. It is a funding stream that is biased towards costlier institutional care and under siege at the federal and state levels.
If you want those safety net services to be in place when your child grows up — or to remain in place if your family member with Down syndrome now uses them — then you need to know where candidates stand on funding adult services.
Question for Candidates
- What would you do to ensure that federal and state budget shortfalls do not harm programs and support services for individuals with disabilities to live in their community?
- What do you see as the role of the federal government in disability policy?
- What do you think of the trend to limit the role of the federal government in disability policy?
- What do you see as the role of disability advocates as states move to managed care systems to deliver Medicaid (community-based support services) to adults with disabilities?
- What would you do to ensure that federal and state budget shortfalls do not harm programs for individuals with disabilities?
This list is not exhaustive – feel free to develop your own questions. You can always ask a follow-up question.
Post-Election Analysis (Jan 24, 2017)
ESSA 3-Part Series ~ What You Can Do to Impact Implementation
Presented by NDSC, NDSS & DSAIA
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
What YOU Can Do to Impact ESSA Implementation
Presented by Ricki Sabia, NDSC Senior Education Policy Advisor and Heather Sachs, NDSS Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy on October 25, 2016
Slides – joint-ndsc-ndss-essa-overview-webinar-final
Webinar video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8C5f93A9_Y&feature=youtu.be
Strategies for Successful Public Policy Advocacy
Powerpoint – NDSC policy webinar 2015
ESSA State Plan Review Guide & Advocacy Tips – June 2017 (by NDSC and The Advocacy Institute)
Analysis of Draft ESSA State Plans (by NDSC and The Advocacy Institute)
Click here to get the most updated plans for each state