On July 8, 2022, the PA legislature passed an amendment approving disability inclusive curriculum in Pennsylvania schools. The bill (H.R. 1642), introduced by PA Representative Joe Hohenstein (D-Philadelphia) and Representative Jason Oritay (R-Washington/Allegheny), passed by a vote of 181-19. On his website Representative Hohenstein, himself a person with a disability, emphasized the importance of this bill when he said “Disability inclusive curriculum is enlightening and can bring us closer together. It is a shared truth that exclusion and failure to talk about diversity breeds stigma, shame, ignorance and misunderstanding. Every child deserves to be seen.” Read the full announcement: Hohenstein celebrates inclusion of disability-inclusive curriculum in Pennsylvania’s Education Code (pahouse.com).
The bill creates a 3-year pilot program, beginning with the 2022–2023 school year, to instruct students on the “political, social, and economic contributions of individuals with disabilities.” (1)
The bill is an amendment to the March 10, 1949, bill that established Pennsylvania’s education code. Pennsylvania joins several states which recognize disability history as part of their curriculum.
(1) Link to a draft of the original bill, incorporated as part of the final bill, H.B. 1642, is here: Bill Information – House Bill 726; Regular Session 2021-2022 – PA General Assembly (state.pa.us).