Month: March 2017

SCOTUS Rules Texas Can’t Use Junk Science to Justify Executing the Intellectually Disabled

By Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court struck down Texas’ test for determining which inmates are intellectually disabled and therefore constitutionally protected from capital punishment. Texas’ use of outdated and unscientific “medical guidance” to gauge “intellectual functioning,” the majority held, violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishments.” The 5–3 decision in Moore v. Texas marks the court’s latest attempt to prevent states from justifying the execution of disabled inmates using arbitrary or capricious standards. Continue reading

The Supreme Court Rules in Favor of a Special Education Student

By Anya Kamenetz, NPR – March 22, 2017

School districts must provide students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, “appropriately ambitious” progress, the Supreme Court said today in an 8-0 ruling.

The decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States.

The case centered on a child with autism and attention deficit disorder whose parents removed him from public school in fifth grade. He went on to make better progress in a private school. His parents argued that the individualized education plan, or IEP, provided by the public school was inadequate, and they sued to compel the school district to pay his private school tuition. Continue reading

What’s at Stake for Americans With Disabilities in the Trump Era

President Donald Trump made his disregard for the 1 in 5 Americans with disabilities abundantly clear during the campaign when he mocked a disabled New York Times reporter. But that disregard is no longer just hateful words. Now Trump’s administration, as well as his Republican colleagues in Congress, are pursuing policies that would put the health, education, and economic security of people with disabilities and their families at grave risk. Continue reading

What a Waste of Money

By Carolyn Lumsden, Hartford Courant

The institution for the intellectually disabled is serving a dwindling population at the huge cost of $1,000 per client a day.

The Southbury Training School is an obsolete, rundown institution that hasn’t admitted any new residents in 30 years. The state has to commit to closing it. Its wild overtime costs continue to suck taxpayer money that could be better spent serving many more people with intellectual disabilities at much more reasonable cost in smaller private facilities.

One state worker at Southbury, for example, pumped up her $60,000 base salary to a hard-to-believe $196,000 with overtime this past fiscal year, The Courant’s Josh Kovner has reported. With fringe benefits, she earned $237,886 — more than Gov. Dannel P. Malloy makes. Continue reading