Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2017

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Human Rights Education (HRE)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education (IME)

First Advisor

Dr. Monisha Bajaj


In service to the FAIR Education Act (2012) and the awareness-raising mission of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008), this project reviews historical and educational literature about disability in the United States and provides a curriculum guide for teaching Human Rights Education (HRE) and disability studies (DS) at the high school level in California. This project traces the historical development of deficit attitudes toward disability back to the colonial era, uncovering the dichotomy between the vast resources in DS and the ableist omission of disability from K-12 curricula. Survey data and interviews further show how teachers lack the resources or knowledge to incorporate disability history into their syllabi despite their willingness to engage in the topic. In response to participants’ expressing the need for primary source materials and professional development resources related to disability, “Reimagining America: Reading U.S. History through Human Rights and Critical Disability Studies” was created, containing a glossary of key terms, an accessibility checklist, and a standards-aligned syllabus with seven lesson plans for bringing HRE and DS into an 11th- grade U.S. History course. Suggestions are provided for bringing DS into other core classes in K-12 settings.