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Crip Camp and the passing of the ADA

MaisieS23's picture

I really enjoyed watching Crip Camp and seeing how current policy such as the passage of the ADA in 1990 was a victory led by disabled activists. I wish this was included in my previous coursework as it is a vital part of American history and shows the power of this group to use collective power to make governmental change. I also found it amazing how Camp Jened provided an initial space for community forming and empowerment. 

One thing that struck me was how recently the ADA passed, changing the governmental protection of disabled individuals. After watching this I wanted to learn more about the impact of the ADA on school retention and employment. I found that after the passage of the ADA the employment rates of disabled people has actually declined. Falling from around 50% to around 20% in 2014. This shows how the passage of the ADA did not have the broad impact that one would hope and that as we have discussed in class persistent barriers and discrimintion continues to impact employment within both governmental and private sector jobs. Furthermore, the average earnings of people with disabilities has also remained nearly stagnent. I would like to learn more about new legislation that seeks to change this. 

Additionally, although there are legal protections for students with disabilities the high school graduation rate of 67 percent, remains far lower than the 85 percent rate for all students. This captures the overall shortcoming of the school system to adequatly educate disabled students. Furthermore, the inequality between the treatment and resources givin to Black and white disabled students also furthers this gap. With Black students with disabilities being 1.5 times more likely to drop out of school than white students with disabilities. This shows the extent to which ADA is an important step but the importance of additional legislation to push for equal opportunities for all disabled people.  


Figure 1 plots employment rates for people with and without disabilities from 1988 through 2014. See extended text description for full description.

Figure 2 plots average earnings for people with and without disabilities from 1988 through 2014. See extended text description for full description.

NOTES: Estimates show the average percent employed based upon disability status. Estimates control for age, education, marital status, the presence of children, sex, race, the receipt of government assistance, and state of residence. Dotted lines mark the passages of the ADA and ADAAA. Shaded areas denote recessionary periods in the United States.

Maroto, Michelle, and David Pettinicchio. 2015. “Twenty-Five Years After the ADA: Situating Disability in America’s System of Stratification.” Disability Studies Quarterly 35 (3).
Schifter, Laura. 2020. “The ADA Has Fallen Short for Black Students. It’s Past Time to Fix That.” Education Week, July 25, 2020, sec. Teaching & Learning, Special Education.