The Fourth of July is a big holiday for our country, and these days we really need a big holiday. I have always loved this day; what other country believes in an inalienable right to pursue happiness! Independence Day is also a time to reflect on the concept of independence. Independence Day is also a time to reflect on the concept of independence.
For people with disabilities, independence is an important goal. Congress has stated that encouraging independent living for people with disabilities is the policy of the United States government. IDEA, Section 601(c). Indeed, one of the purposes of special education is to prepare children with disabilities for independent living. IDEA, Section 601(d)(1)(A).
Before passage of the EHA, the predecessor of the IDEA, in 1975, education of children with disabilities, who were then called "handicapped," was iffy at best. According to the legislative history of the EHA, which is quoted in the seminal Rowley decision by the Supreme Court, millions of children with disabilities were then either totally excluded from school or were warehoused until they were old enough to drop out. Bd. of Education v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 191, 103 LRP 31848 (1982). At the time, it was estimated that of the eight million children who required special education, only about 3.9 million were receiving an appropriate education. Bd. of Education v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 191, 103 LRP 31848 (1982).
These numbers are shocking. 1975 was not long ago. Yet we have made real progress since then. Special education may have its detractors, but it is now widely accepted. Very few children with disabilities are now excluded from school. Some still do not receive an appropriate education, but there are now remedies available when that happens. We have come a long way!
I realize that we are not finished. But as we look forward on this Independence Day to how we can do a better job of educating children with disabilities and preparing them to live independently, let us also look back for a moment and congratulate ourselves on the excellent progress we have made in what in public policy terms is truly a very short time.
To help us celebrate, here are some fun facts from our friends at the Census Bureau:
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. This most American of holidays will be marked with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues across the country.
In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation. Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: 1789-1945 <http://www2.census.gov/prod2/>
statcomp/documents/ HistoricalStatisticsoftheUnite dStates1789-1945.pdf
The nation’s estimated population on http://www.census.gov/> last year. Source: U.S. and World Population Clock <
The number of signers to the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston comprised the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration. Jefferson, regarded as the strongest and most eloquent writer, wrote most of the document.
It is also worth noting that:
· John Hancock, President of the Second Continental Congress, was the first signer, and a merchant by trade. In 2014, there were 7.6 million business establishments with paid employees in the U.S.; 1.1 million, like Hancock, were in the retail trade industry. Source: 2014 County Business Patterns <http://factfinder.census.gov/>
· Benjamin Franklin, who represented Pennsylvania, was the oldest of the signers at age 70. Franklin County, Pa., had an estimated population of 153,638 as of July 1, 2015. Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina, was the youngest at age 26. Source: 2015 Population Estimates, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 <http://factfinder.census.gov/>
· Two future presidents signed, John Adams (second President) and Thomas Jefferson (third President). Both died on the 50th anniversary of signing the Declaration (July 4, 1826). There are 12 counties nationwide named Adams and 26 named Jefferson. Source: 2015 U.S. Gazetteer Files <http://www.census.gov/geo/>
· Robert Livingston, who represented New York, was on the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence but was recalled by his state before he could sign it. Livingston County, N.Y., was home to an estimated 64,717 people as of July 1, 2015. Source: 2015 Population Estimates, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 <http://factfinder.census.gov/>
· Representing Georgia in 1776 were Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall and George Walton. Gwinnett County, Ga. (895,823); Hall County, Ga. (193,535); and Walton County, Ga. (88,399) were named for these signers. Source: 2015 Population Estimates, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 <http://factfinder.census.gov/>
bkmk/table/1.0/en/PEP/2015/ PEPANNRES/0500000US13135| 0500000US13139|0500000US13297
· Charles Carroll, who represented Maryland, was the last surviving signer of the Declaration. He died in 1832 at the age of 95. Carroll County, Md., named for him, had an estimated population of 167,627 as of July 1, 2015. Source: 2015 Population Estimates, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 <http://factfinder.census.gov/>
· Roger Sherman, who worked as a land surveyor and lawyer, represented Connecticut. In 2014, there were an estimated 30,688 surveyors, cartographers and photogrammetrists employed full time, year-round, and 861,223 lawyers employed full time, year-round nationwide. Source: 2014 American Community Survey, B24124 <http://factfinder.census.gov/>
· Nelson County, Va. (14,785) and Wythe County, Va. (29,119) were named for two of the six signers who represented the state of Virginia — Thomas Nelson Jr. and George Wythe. Source: 2015 Population Estimates, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 <http://factfinder.census.gov/>
bkmk/table/1.0/en/PEP/2015/ PEPANNRES/0500000US51125| 0500000US51197
And the Rockets’ Red Glare
The value of fireworks imported from China in 2015, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($324.8 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $12.7 million in 2015, with Singapore purchasing more than any other country ($4.6 million). Source: International Trade Statistics, Code 360410 <https://usatrade.census.gov/>
The dollar value of fireworks sales by retailers in 2012. Source: 2012 Economic Census <http://factfinder.census.gov/>
bkmk/table/1.0/en/ECN/2012_US/ 44SLLS1//naics~ALL-44-45/ prodsvc~20874
The dollar value of fireworks and firecrackers sales by wholesalers in 2012. There were 172 wholesalers who sold these items in 2012. Source: 2012 Economic Census <http://factfinder.census.gov/
You’re a Grand Old Flag
The dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags in 2015. The vast majority of this amount ($4.3 million) was for U.S. flags made in China. Source: International Trade Statistics, Code 6307909825<https://usatrade.census.gov/>
The dollar value of U.S. flags exported in 2015. Mexico was the leading customer, purchasing $2.4 million worth. Source: International Trade Statistics, Code 6307909825 <https://usatrade.census.gov/>
This Land Is Your Land
The number of counties and census incorporated places that contain the word “liberty” in the name. Of the 33 places, four are counties: Liberty County, Ga. (62,467); Liberty County, Fla. (8,331); Liberty County, Mont. (2,408); and Liberty County, Texas (79,654). Sources: 2015 U.S. Gazetteer Files andAnnual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015, Table PEPANNRES
bkmk/table/1.0/en/PEP/2015/ PEPANNRES/0500000US12077| 0500000US13179|0500000US30051| 0500000US48291
The number of incorporated places that has “patriot” in its name: Patriot, Ind., has an estimated population of 208. Source: 2015 Population Estimates <http://factfinder.census.gov/>
The number of counties and census incorporated places that have “union” in the name. In total, there are 204 places with active governments that contain “union.” Sources: Source: 2015 U.S. Gazetteer Files <http://www.census.gov/geo/>
The British Are Coming!
The dollar value of trade in 2015 between the U.S. and the United Kingdom, making the British, our adversary in 1776, our eighth-leading trading partner today. Source: International Trade Statistics <http://www.census.gov/>
The number of people reporting English ancestry in the U.S. In addition, there were 1,326,960 people who reported British ancestry in 2014. Source: 2014 American Community Survey B404006 <http://factfinder.census.gov/>