Enhancing Diversity: Chapter 1, Identifying the Issuescontinued . . .
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, provides an important tool not only to address these employment difficulties in general but also to enhance the diversity of the teaching profession by mandating employment practices that will provide equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities. School districts must face the issues involved in hiring and accommodating educators with disabilities because of the ADA's employment provisions. They may not refuse to hire an individual with a disability who is qualified to perform a particular job, such as teaching, because of that individual's disability. They "cannot discriminate against people with disabilities in regard to any employment practices or terms, conditions, and privileges of employment" (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 1992, I-4). They must make reasonable accommodations in the work environment or in the way matters are typically handled so that the individual with a disability has an equal employment opportunity.

The ADA is valuable, then, in that it forces institutions of higher education, school districts, and the predominantly nondisabled power holders within those organizations to examine and possibly alter their practices relative to people with disabilities already in or wanting to enter educational professions. Lest we forget, however, Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, a precursor to and model for the ADA, also proscribes exclusion from participation, denial of benefits, and discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity (such as institutions of higher education and school districts) that receives federal funding. Yet, such inappropriate practices still continue.

The Structure and Contents of Enhancing Diversity

The arrangement of this volume reflects the twin needs of (a) telling the stories of educators with disabilities and (b) presenting the information to help us understand their experiences better and create more opportunities. We accomplish these two purposes by interspersing the voices of educators with disabilities1**(1)** among the chapters examining issues pertinent to the recruitment, preparation, employment, and retention of educators with disabilities.

For instance, following this introduction, we present an interview with one educator, Vickie (a pseudonym, as are all the other names used from the interviews), that helps us set the context for the volume by previewing many of the issues found throughout the book. Then, before many of the scholarly chapters on contextual factors, we draw on our informants' voices to foreshadow and play counterpoint to the themes in the chapters, to show how the factors can be used to facilitate success or create barriers. The interview of Beth precedes the last chapter and shows an educator who received a great deal of support through difficult circumstances in order to continue the employment that meant so much to her as a person. Her story provides a powerful example of what can be achieved by, with, and for educators with disabilities.

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