U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Thursday will address a Capitol Hill breakfast hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, recognizing the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Duncan will pay tribute to the law, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by public entities and private entities such as restaurants and hotels, and in employment, transportation, and more. Among the expected attendees are members of Congress and representatives of various charitable foundations.
Upon the 20th anniversary of the act in 2010, Duncan hailed it as “a landmark piece of civil rights legislation. It protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination and promotes their full inclusion into education and all other aspects of our society.” He noted at the time that with President Obama’s support, “we are strengthening our efforts to ensure that all students, including those with disabilities, have the tools they need to benefit from a world-class education that prepares them for success in college and careers.”
At the Department of Education, the Office for Civil Rights has enforcement responsibilities under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits disability discrimination by public entities, including public schools, colleges, and universities. The department also enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which bars disability discrimination in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, including public and private schools, colleges, and universities that receive funds from the department.