Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Taste for Dallas Sports Fundraiser Thursday Feb. 2nd

A Taste for Dallas Sports Scores Big with Greater Yield
Dallas firm supports Rotary Club fundraiser as Platinum Sponsor
Greater Yield, a Dallas-based provider of customized enterprise transformation solutions, is the 2012 Platinum Sponsor of “A Taste for Dallas Sports.” This charity event held on February 2 by the Dallas Trinity Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Dallas raises money to support service projects and scholarships for youth in the Dallas area through a silent auction and raffle.
A Taste for Dallas Sports began in 2006 to celebrate Dallas-Fort Worth sports teams and raise funds and awareness for various service projects. These projects include initiatives by local Rotary clubs to show students how to recognize, develop and utilize their leadership, scholarship and service capabilities. Other projects focus on improving literacy, aiding inter-city youth, providing special needs assistance programs and granting student scholarships.

“As a member of the Dallas community for almost two decades, Greater Yield has had the opportunity to see many of the Rotary Club’s initiatives make a lasting impact in our area, such as providing scholarships for youth and college-aged students,” said Debbie Womack, principal of Greater Yield. “We recognize the importance of this event and are honored to support Rotary and its beneficiaries as the Platinum sponsor.”

A Taste for Dallas Sports will be held from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Dallas, 400 N. Olive St. in the Draft Media Sports Room. The evening will include a silent auction and raffle drawing, with the winner receiving between 2-4 tickets for one game for each of the following Dallas teams: Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars, Rangers, FC Dallas and the Byron Nelson. The winner does not have to be present.

Tickets to the event are $25 each or a book of five for $100.  Each ticket admits one person to the raffle drawing and silent auction where refreshments and snacks will be served. A cash bar will also be available. To purchase tickets and find out more information about A Taste for Dallas Sports, click here.

Quote of the Day…
President Obama taking credit for higher oil and natural gas production is like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise…If the president were serious about solving America's energy woes, he wouldn’t allow his environmental allies to stand in the way…”- The Editorial Board in the Washington Times (1/30) 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Greater Dallas Republicans
January 25, 2012
This evening is dedicated to the memory of our long time friend and member Veteran Joe Pena
 Join us for an evening of captivating conversation and knowledge.  Meet Rafael Cruz (Father of Ted Cruz), as he takes us on a trip from Cuba to the United States
If you think you know everything about the Constitution, you must meet a young fellow Andy Carlton Olivo who will detail the "Hidden" Constitution
Mr. Rafael Cruz   Cuba 1963   United States of America   Esquire Andy Carlton Olivo

January 25, 2011 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
We invite you to our first meeting of 2012.  Join us for dinner and great conversation from two distinguished guests.  Learn why Mr. Rafael Cruz left Cuba.  Andy Carlton Olivo a young attorney, who will amaze you at his knowledge of the Constitution
May Dragon Restaurant

4848 Belt Line Road
Dallas, Texas 75254
$15.00 pp includes meeting and dinner (no exceptions on charge)
Information: 972-342-2932

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Smart Thinking-3 Essential Keys to Solve Problems, Innovate and Get Things Done

Courtesy of Marsha Miller

Jon-David sits down with Psychologist Art Markman this evening at 7:05P to discuss his new book.  USA Today did an earlier Q&A with him.  Check it out!

Psychologist Art Markman has studied thinking for 20 years. In his new book, Smart Thinking: Three Essential Keys to Solve Problems, Innovate, and Get Things Done, he combines what's known from cognitive research with a how-to approach. Markman, of the University of Texas in Austin, tells USA TODAY what helps us and hinders us from making the most of what we know.

Q: Is your definition of "smart" different from what we consider overall intelligence? If so, how?
A: Smart and intelligent are related, but they really aren't the same. The kinds of problems we give people on intelligence tests typically focus on the ability to solve very abstract problems that don't resemble things you do on a daily basis. But when people are doing smart things in the world, they are solving problems. They are creating new things. They are saying things and thinking thoughts that have not been thought in that way before. Those are the kinds of things that are really smart behaviors.

Q: InSmart Thinking, you say creating smart habits that can become useful habits helps people become smarter. How does that work?
A: Most of what we do day-to-day we do without thinking. That's a good thing, because you don't want to spend your life planning every single movement and every single action. But the reason that this becomes central to smart thinking is because, as much as possible, you want to organize your life so that the things you do by habit are things that are going to promote smarter behavior.

Q: You also delve into how memory works.Why do people have so much trouble remembering names?
A: Memory is all about connection. Names are arbitrary. You often can't remember this person's name, but you remember where they work and that they have three kids. You remember all the stuff that was connected that made the person the person, but (not) this piece of information that's arbitrary but really important — their name. The funny thing is as soon as you start thinking about this person, all of this other information comes back. You remember what they like and this joke they told you -- just this one piece of it is hard to get at because it's not really connected to anything.

Q: You say multitasking is dangerous.
A: Multitasking is one of the evils of the modern world. We really don't do many things at once. What we do is split our time across all the different things we're trying to do. And there are two problems with that. One is there's a cost to switching back and forth between the things you're trying to do and the other is if you're participating in some kind of event that's unfolding in time, you're going to miss things when you switch your attention away from that event. If you're sitting in a meeting and checking your e-mail at the same time, you're not really doing both at same time, you're doing a little bit of e-mail and a little bit of meeting. Anything that happens at the meeting while you're working on the e-mail, you've just missed.

Q: What are the habits you call "self-limiting"?
A: We go to meetings and we're supposed to learn something from the meeting, and now, as soon as we leave the meeting, we whip out a smartphone and start checking our messages and see what texts came in. The problem is that this habit of checking your smartphone is leaving what you remember about that meeting up to chance.One of the things that's very effective in learning is spending a little bit of time at the very end of the experience reviewing what just happened and saying to yourself what are the three most important things that just happened here. By moving too quickly on to the next thing, you're not giving yourself a chance to make sure you figure out what it is you want to remember.

Q: How can we fight the downsides of multitasking?
A: Rather than multitask, I think we need to prioritize. I'm not saying at the end of a meeting or an event to spend the next hour pondering what just happened. But if you took 90 seconds and reviewed the meeting before you moved on to the next thing, you would do yourself a tremendous amount of good. I recommend that people buy a little digital recorder and when you leave a meeting summarize to yourself what just happened. You never have to listen to that recording again. The recorder is there primarily so you don't feel stupid about talking to yourself. Taking 90 seconds helps to solidify the experience you just had and will improve your memory for it rather than just moving on to the next thing.

Original Story Here

Keystone XL pipeline to be rejected by Obama administration


The State Department on Wednesday will reject the Keystone XL pipeline, multiple sources following the project told POLITICO.

The formal announcement is expected at 3 p.m. from Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. Although the permit would be rejected, TransCanada would still be allowed to continue to work on and pitch an alternative route through Nebraska.

Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail have endlessly attacked President Barack Obama for putting environmental interests and the green lobby ahead of a project that they say would create thousands of jobs. Republicans scored a rare win this Congress by including a 60-day deadline for Obama to make a decision on the pipeline as part of the year-end deal on extending the payroll tax holiday.

But administration officials have been clear from the beginning that forcing a decision within 60 days would not yield enough time to make a final decision and that Republicans were doing so merely to create a new set of political talking points.
The official deadline for Obama to act is Feb. 21, but there was already speculation the announcement would come before next Tuesday’s State of the Union address, which would be the president’s biggest audience to defend his decision on the 1,700-mile pipeline.
“There’s a good argument to be made to politically take it off the table earlier if the assumption is that the decision is going to be no,” one House Democratic aide said. “You take a contentious issue off the table before the State of the Union ... and you’re allowed the room for the president to give his positive vision.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said if Obama did break the news during his speech it would send a big political signal. "I think it will be a clear sign that the president is willing to take on the Republicans," she said. "That's sort of setting the tone of how he's going to be proceeding forward."

Original Story Found Here

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quote of the Day…
Barack Obama’s presidency has been a disastrous experiment in big government, one that has racked up the largest budget deficits since the Second World War, adding $4.2 trillion to the national debt since taking office.”- Gardiner in The Telegraph (1/17) 

Giving Up on All Attempts to Feign Objectivity

Read here why Andrew Sullivan thinks President Obama has the 2012 Election all wrapped up!

Jon-David asks only one question-Really????

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jon-David with Jim Engstrand running for Texas District 36

Occupy even had a silent booth 

Jon-David with K.Carl Smith, author of Fredrick Douglas Republicans: The Movement to Re-Ignite America's Passion for Liberty

Jon-David along with US Senate Candidate Tom Leppert

Jon-David with Carol Sewell, author of We The People

Photo Courtesy Josh Parker
Jon-David along with Natalie Arceneaux from 1070 KNTH in Houston.  The Civil Right airs every Saturday  afternoon starting at 1.

Jon-David with Guy Ferris, Event Organizer and on the Board of Directors for the Kingwood Tea Party
discuss why this Straw Poll is so important for Texas and how our voice might be lost if the primary's continue to get pushed back.

View from The Saddle Up Texas Straw Poll

Jon-David mastering his show prep before the Straw Poll Action

Jon-David along with on-site Technical Director Matt Swinney

Jon-David along with on-site Technical Director Matt Swinney

Thursday, January 12, 2012


The Wells Report with Jon-David Wells will be on the road this week!  Catch up with Jon-David in Houston for the Saddle Up Texas Straw Poll Event held this weekend through Saturday the 14thThe event was organized and inspired by Texas citizens, historically ignored yet sending the second largest delegation to the Electoral College and possessing the second highest population in the United States! Texans CAN make a difference in the presidential primary and this straw poll is that voice!    If you can’t make it to Houston, you can text your vote for President!  Visit www.saddleuptexaspoll.com  for all the details! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quote of the Day…
The United States has hit the debt ceiling that was just recently raised to $15.2 trillion…If the current resident of the White House won’t cool it on borrowing, the country ought to look at the Republican alternative…”- Miller in The Washington Times (1/10) 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sex education standards encourage teaching of sexual identity, anti-bullying in schools

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Young elementary school students should use the proper names for body parts and, by the end of fifth grade, know that sexual orientation is “the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender,” according to new sexual education guidelines released Monday by a coalition of health and education groups.
The non-binding recommendations to states and school districts seek to encourage age-appropriate discussions about sex, bullying and healthy relationships — starting with a foundation even before second grade.
By presenting minimum standards that schools can use to formulate school curriculums for each age level, the groups hope that schools can build a sequential foundation that in the long term will better help teens as they grow into adults.
Experts say schools across America are inconsistent in how they address such sensitive topics.
Despite awareness of bullying, for example, Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth, one of the groups involved with creating the standards, said some schools don’t address it — or at least not in relation to sexual orientation or gender identity, which is where she said a lot of the bullying occurs.
“They should tackle it head on,” Hauser said.
Other organizations involved with the release include the American Association of Health Education, the American School Health Association, the National Education Association - Health Information Network, the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education, and the Future of Sex Education Initiative. The latest suggestions were already drawing less enthusiastic reactions from some.
By the end of second grade, the guidelines say students should use the correct body part names for the male and female anatomy, and also understand that all living things reproduce and that all people have the right to not be touched if they don’t want to be. They also say young elementary school kids should be able to identity different kinds of family structures and explain why bullying and teasing are wrong.
Beyond lessons about puberty by the end of fifth grade, the guidelines say students should be able to define sexual harassment and abuse.
When they leave middle school, they should be able to differentiate between gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, according to the guidelines. And the say they should be able to explain why a rape victim is not at fault, know about bullying and dating violence and describe the signs and impacts of sexually transmitted diseases.
It calls for those leaving eighth grade to also be able to evaluate the effectiveness of abstinence, condoms and other “safer sex methods” and know how emergency contraception works. Many of these issues the groups encouraged to be further addressed in high school as well.
It’s unclear how much influence the recommendations will have among educators.
Cora Collette Breuner, a pediatrics professor at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on adolescence who was not involved in the creation of the standards, praised the approach of encouraging discussions at an early age.
“The data points that trying to cover this stuff when kids have already formulated their own opinions and biases by the time they’re in middle and high school, it’s too late,” Breuner said.
Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Education Abstinence Association, said she does not agree with the topics and goals of the standards. Like the anti-smoking campaign of the last few decades that has had success, abstinence should be the focus of such programs, she said.
“This should be a program about health, rather than agendas that have nothing to do with optimal sexual health decision-making,” Huber said. “Controversial topics are best reserved for conversations between parent and child, not in the classroom.”
Federal funding for abstinence-centered education funded by a Republican Congress in the late 1990s and later under President George W. Bush has largely gone by the wayside under the Obama administration, which has had a shift in focus to teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Obama Unveiling Defense Strategy, Military Cuts
Robert Burns

WASHINGTON — Looking beyond the wars he inherited, President Barack Obama on Thursday launched a reshaping and shrinking of the military. He vowed to preserve U.S. pre-eminence even as the Army and Marine Corps shed troops and the administration considers reducing its arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The changes won't come without risk, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. But he called it acceptable and, because of budget restraints, inevitable.
In a presentation at the Pentagon, Obama said the U.S. is "turning a page" after having killed Osama bin Laden, withdrawn troops from Iraq and begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan. He outlined a vision for the future that some Republican lawmakers quickly dubbed wrong-headed.
"Our military will be leaner, but the world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority," Obama said with Panetta and the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, at his side.
In a presidential election year the strategy gives Obama a rhetorical tool to defend his Pentagon budget-cutting choices. Republican contenders for the White House already have attacked him on national security issues including missile defense, Iran and planned reductions in ground forces.
Obama unveiled the results of an eight-month defense strategy review that is intended to guide decisions on cutting hundreds of billions from planned Pentagon spending over the coming decade. The eight-page document contained no details about how broad concepts for reshaping the military – such as focusing more on Asia and less on Europe – will translate into troop or weapons cuts.
Those details will be included in the 2013 defense budget to be submitted to Congress next month.
In about every major war or defense speech Obama hits themes intended to resonate with American voters – mainly, that the United States is turning a page from two wars, and that any nation-building will focus on improving the United States, not strategic allies abroad.
The economy is more likely to determine Obama's re-election fate than national security. To keep his promises to shrink the deficit and to prove he is serious about fiscal management to voters wary of enormous government spending, Obama must show the oft-protected Pentagon is not exempt.
The political danger, though, is that his opponents will use any slashing of spending to paint the president as weak on security.
Both Panetta and Dempsey said they anticipate heavy criticism of their new strategy, which was begun last spring by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates after Obama called for defense spending cuts. The Pentagon now faces at least $487 billion in cuts in planned defense spending over 10 years.
The criticism from Republicans came quickly.
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, issued a statement saying, "This is a lead-from-behind strategy for a left-behind America." He called it a "retreat from the world in the guise of a new strategy."
Panetta said that smaller military budgets will mean some trade-offs and that the U.S. will take on "some level of additional but acceptable risk." But in a changing world the Pentagon would have been forced to make a strategy shift anyway, he said. The money crisis merely forced the government's hand.
Obama wants the new strategy to represent a pivotal point in his stewardship of defense policy, which has been burdened by two expensive wars begun under President George W. Bush. The drag those conflicts placed on military resources has deferred other priorities.
Obama said his administration would not repeat the mistakes made after World War II and Vietnam when defense reductions left the military ill-prepared.
"As commander in chief, I will not let that happen again," he said. "Not on my watch."
Obama's involvement in the defense review and his decision to personally announce it at the Pentagon underscore that he is not just a commander in chief coping with a slimmer military in debt-ridden times. He is also an incumbent president seeking a second term and wanting to show who's in charge.
Dempsey praised the military strategy and the work of crafting it, calling it inclusive and comprehensive.
"It's not perfect," the general said. "There will be people who think it goes too far. Others will say it doesn't go nearly far enough. That probably makes it about right. It gives us what we need."
Obama said the military will be reshaped between now and 2020 with an emphasis on countering terrorism, maintaining a nuclear deterrent, protecting the U.S. homeland and "deterring and defeating aggression by any potential adversary."
Those are not new military missions, and Obama announced no new capabilities or defense initiatives. He described a U.S. force that will retain much of its recent focus, with the exception of fighting a large-scale, prolonged conflict like the recently ended Iraq mission or the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
"U.S. forces will no longer be sized to conduct large-scale, prolonged stability operations," the strategy document said, referring to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Left unsaid: The military was not sized for those unexpectedly long wars when they began. The Army had to be expanded by tens of thousands of soldiers and the Marine Corps also grew. The military at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was being shaped in somewhat the same form as Obama's vision for 2020: agile, flexible, reliant on high-tech weaponry and dependent on allies.
The new strategy moves the U.S. further from its longstanding goal of being able to successfully fight two major regional wars at the same time.
It said the U.S. will maintain a robust nuclear arsenal but hinted at reductions.
"It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy," the strategy said.
The new strategy strongly suggests a reduced U.S. military presence in Europe, notwithstanding a continuing close relationship with NATO, and says Asia will be a bigger priority. It also emphasizes improving U.S. capabilities in the areas of cyberwarfare, missile defense, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised the U.S. strategy, calling it consistent with the alliance's vision for collective defense.
Associated Press writers Ben Feller and Pauline Jelinek in Washington contributed to this report.

Quote of the Day…
Mr. Daley's resignation is in that sense truth in advertising because for nearly a year the White House has really been run from Mr. Obama's re-election campaign office in Chicago.”- The Editorial Board in the Wall Street Journal (1/10) 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quote of the Day…
The answer to our nation's problems is not four more years of false hope. The answer is true leadership and real solutions. The answer is a new president. We know what Obama's first term looked like; we don't need to see a second. To borrow his words, "We've been warned."”- Priebus and MacDonald in Foster’s Daily Democrat (1/9) 

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Digital Family-How Digital Technology Hurts the Family


Technology has become a part of modern life and is deeply embedded in today’s families. Yet, the challenges brought on by technology in the home are not all created by teens. Parents are becoming just as dependent on digital tools.

According to a new report co-released by Barna Group and Orange, most Americans have welcomed digital technologies like computers and smart phones into their lives with open arms. In fact, most parents believe that, on balance, technology has been a positive influence in their lives by making communication more convenient.
Yet, there is no question that technology has also increased conflict within families. Parents complain that technology wastes time, creates diversions from homework, allows students to maintain a private, exclusive relational life, and distracts from family conversations.
Interestingly, the research pointed out that most parents are just as dependent on digital tools; they use the Internet and mobile phones nearly as much as their own children. Teenagers also complain about a double standard with regard to technology, noting that their parents bring home too much work and that it makes it hard to have conversations. Recent writing from Barna Group founder, George Barna, raises the possibility that technology has become America’s new addiction.

The Barna report gives clues as to how church communities can help families navigate the digital world by helping to reimagine the role of sabbatical living (i.e., taking meaningful, consistent breaks from technology) and by adding technology to discussions of stewardship.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gingrich group digs up McCain's anti-Romney ad from 2008

Read the Story Here

Colleen McCain Nelson: Rick Perry, Please Come Home

Colleen McCain Nelson
 Rick Perry’s presidential campaign has been defined by bloopers. After tripping over himself and torpedoing his own prospects, our gaffe-prone governor now has a chance to do one thing gracefully: exit.
Call a halt to this clumsy campaign. Cancel the ego trip to South Carolina. Use the money left in the bank to repay Texas taxpayers for their trouble. Get back to the business of governing this state.
Perry appeared poised to do the right thing Tuesday night in Iowa. He emerged from the caucuses as an also-ran and an afterthought. He spent millions to amass a paltry 12,604 votes, and an emotional Perry wisely said he was heading home to reassess his political future.
That’s candidate-speak for “I’m outta here.”
But 12 hours and one tweet later, Perry was back in. That was news to a number of Perry aides, who learned of their boss’ decision from Twitter and perplexed reporters. At this point, it’s par for the course in Perry’s maladroit operation.
Clearly, the governor is at a loss after suffering his first-ever election loss. He mistakenly believes that he can catapult from fifth to serious contender and become the anti-Romney candidate of choice. But Rick Santorum already has dibs on that role, and Newt Gingrich is available as backup. Both left Iowa with more momentum and better prospects than Perry.
Now, the Texas governor is buoyed only by the fact that he still has campaign funds available, but Perry should not confuse cash with credibility.
He has fallen from first to among the worst. The best move Perry can make to salvage some of his political legacy is to return to the comfy confines of Texas.
Tell the rest of the country that the Lone Star State needs its governor. Quickly demonstrate that lessons have been learned from this madcap misadventure on the big stage.
Perry has at least three years left at the helm of state government. (I always allow for the possibility that he could be governor forever.) If he wants to make them count, he should start now.
First, become a Texas resident again. Perry’s been absent for some or all of 105 days since August. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has been busy with his own campaign for the U.S. Senate and has taken a few trips as well.
For 15 days, Texas has been governed by Mike Jackson.
I’m sure that the semi-obscure state senator from the Houston area is a swell guy, but voters didn’t elect him to lead our state. Jackson is also pretty busy with his own construction company.
Texas could use a full-time governor. Perry is being paid to do the job anyway, so it would be nice if he’d show up.
Next, get serious about a policy agenda. The big leagues exposed Perry as awfully short on details and possessing only a shallow understanding of complex issues.
This year affords him the opportunity to develop a legislative to-do list for 2013 and to immerse himself in the intricacies of policies.
Finally, pay Texas back. Perry’s presidential bid has been a pricey proposition for taxpayers.
His state-provided security detail has cost as much as $400,000 per month as he’s crisscrossed the country. Perry could rebuild some goodwill by reimbursing this cash-strapped state instead of pouring more money into a losing effort in South Carolina.
Perry always has portrayed himself as a somewhat reluctant presidential aspirant. He said Tuesday night that this was not a lifelong ambition but simply a response to the fact that the country was in trouble.
Voters sent a clear message to the top Texan: He’s not the guy to fix it.
If he presses on, Perry risks adding to his cringe-worthy reel of Saturday Night Live spoofs. If he bows out now, he has a chance to put his political career back together in the state where he remains undefeated.
Governor, exit stage right and come home to Texas.

Original Story Here

TWR Quote for the Day

Quote of the Day…
Remember those terrible days of the Imperial Presidency, when George W. Bush made several "recess appointments" to overcome Senate opposition? Well, Czar George II never did attempt what President Obama did yesterday in making recess appointments when Congress isn't even on recess.”- The Editorial Board in the Wall Street Journal (1/5) 

EEOC: High school diploma requirement might violate Americans with Disabilities Act

By Dave Boyer

Employers are facing more uncertainty in the wake of a letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warning them that requiring a high school diploma from a job applicant might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The development also has some wondering whether the agency’s advice will result in an educational backlash by creating less of an incentive for some high school students to graduate.
The “informal discussion letter” from the EEOC said an employer’s requirement of a high school diploma, long a standard criterion for screening potential employees, must be “job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.” The letter was posted on the commission’s website on Dec. 2.
Employers could run afoul of the ADA if their requirement of a high school diploma “‘screens out’ an individual who is unable to graduate because of a learning disability that meets the ADA’s definition of ‘disability,’” theEEOC explained.
The commission’s advice, which does not carry the force of law, is raising alarms among employment-law professionals, who say it could carry far-reaching implications for businesses.
Maria Greco Danaher, a lawyer with the labor and employment law firmOgletree Deakins, said the EEOC letter means that employers must determine whether job applicants whose learning disabilities kept them from obtaining diplomas can perform the essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodation. She said the development is “worthy of notice” for employers.
“While an employer is not required to ‘prefer’ a learning-disabled applicant over other applicants with more extensive qualifications, it is clear that theEEOC is informing employers that disabled individuals cannot be excluded from consideration for employment based upon artificial barriers in the form of inflexible qualification standards,” she wrote in a blog post.
Mary Theresa Metzler, a lawyer with Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia, said there may be an “unintended and unfortunate” repercussion of theEEOC’s discussion: “There will be less incentive for the general public to obtain a high school diploma if many employers eliminate that requirement for job applicants in their workplace.”
Officials at the EEOC said the letter in question addressed “a particular inquiry” and disputed that it would have repercussions in secondary education.
“No, we don’t think the regulation would discourage people from obtaining high school diplomas,” said Peggy Mastroianni, legal counsel for theEEOC. “People are aware that they need all the education they can get.”
She said the letter does not offer a new interpretation of the ADA.
Jeanne Goldberg, a senior lawyer/adviser at the agency, said the issue would come up only when high school graduation standards are not related to a specific job.
“This would never arise when the high school diploma is in fact necessary to do a job,” she said.
Ms. Metzler said the policy could lead the EEOC to bring claims against employers or encourage applicants who have failed to gain employment to raise the issue.
“The EEOC may be inclined to test its view on the high school diploma requirement and its impact on the disabled in a court case,” said Ms. Metzler, who is advising clients to “review their job descriptions to determine if a high school degree is truly necessary, or would aid the employee in performing the essential functions of the particular job.
“While such a requirement is routinely included by many employers, a deeper analysis may demonstrate that a lesser educational requirement might suffice,” she said.
Some worry that the EEOC’s letter could place less emphasis on a diploma in the workplace, but the push in Congress has been in the opposite direction. House Republicans sought late last year to reform the federal unemployment-benefit system by requiring recipients of aid who do not have high school degrees to be “enrolled and making satisfactory progress in classes” toward a General Education Development certificate or equivalent.
That proposal was not part of the final deal that Congress approved to extend a payroll-tax holiday for two months, but Republicans say they intend to renew their call for the reform this year.
Some corporate counsels are advising clients to adjust the way they approach the hiring process.
“Employers are wise to evaluate whether a high school diploma really is necessary to perform the essential functions of any job for which it is being required,” the Employer Law Report advised in a blog post by Lisa Whittaker, a lawyer with the Porter Wright firm, which has represented business clients for more than 150 years.
“Even in those situations where the high school diploma requirement can be justified, employers will still need to consider” whether a “reasonable accommodation” could be provided to allow a disabled person without a diploma to perform a given job.


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