RE: Braille Literacy

Resolution Number: 

RE: Braille Literacy

WHEREAS, literacy, being able to read and write efficiently , is essential to effective communication, access to highly skilled and highly paid employment, and success in the community; and

WHEREAS, only 10 percent of today’s blind students under age twenty-two (22) are being taught to read Braille, resulting in a 45 percent high school graduation rate for blind students; and

WHEREAS, more than 70 percent of blind people nationwide are not employed, but of those blind people who are employed, 85 percent or more use Braille in the workplace, demonstrating a clear relationship among literacy, confidence, and success; and

WHEREAS, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that each blind student interested in learning Braille be given a quality education in Braille, yet no standardized definition of “quality” exists, leading to ambiguity in the educational system and a low literacy rate among blind students; and

WHEREAS, an effort began in the early 1990s, led by the Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, to establish a national test of competency in the literary Braille code, resulting in a fully validated competency test that was finalized in 2006; and

WHEREAS, the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) took over administration of the test in 2007 and established the National Certification in Literary Braille to provide a credible means of insuring Braille competency; and

WHEREAS, the National Certification in Literary Braille is the only nationwide certification for competency and ongoing professional development in the teaching of Braille; and

WHEREAS, the Braille Readers are Leaders initiative, established by the National Federation of the Blind in July 2008, has a primary goal of insuring that the number of blind students able to read Braille will double by 2015. NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona in Convention assembled this 13th day of September, 2009, in the city of Tucson, Arizona, that this organization call upon the Arizona Legislature and the Arizona Department of Education to incorporate the National Certification in Literary Braille into their standards for professionals licensed to teach blind students; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge teachers of blind students, state special education agencies, organizations of and for the blind, and others to take all other steps necessary to join the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona in ensuring that the number of blind students who are Braille literate and able to read and write Braille competently, doubles by 2015.

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