RE: Educational Institutions’ Commitments to Accessible Technology

Year: 
2014
Resolution Number: 
2014-05

RESOLUTION 2014-05
RE: Educational Institutions’ Commitments to Accessible Technology

WHEREAS, access to information is critical to education, career advancement, independence, and living a well-informed personal and professional life; and

WHEREAS, in the past decade the shift from print to digital information in educational institutions has been transformative; and

WHEREAS, digital technology and information have become an essential and integral part of education today; and

WHEREAS, unlike print, digital information is inherently accessible to the blind, and accessibility is particularly easy to achieve when considered in the design phase of the technology; and

WHEREAS, the shift from print to digital information and technology in education should therefore provide blind students with equal access to information and inclusion in education; and

WHEREAS, instead, the proliferation of inaccessible educational technologies and their adoption and use by our nation’s educational institutions have largely locked out the blind from receiving an equal education; and

WHEREAS, the civil rights offices of the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter dated June 29, 2010, reminding higher education institutions of their legal obligation to procure and deploy accessible educational technology; and

WHEREAS, despite this clear message from the Departments of Education and Justice, the vast majority of educational institutions continue to ignore their obligations to procure and deploy accessible educational technology; and

WHEREAS, to ensure that they meet their obligations and provide equal opportunities for blind students, our state’s educational institutions must commit to accessibility from the top rather than delegating accessibility to a single and usually powerless low-level administrative office or position; and

WHEREAS, several institutions of higher education have become pioneers and role models in committing to accessibility and taking steps from the top levels of administration to ensure that campus-wide digital educational technology and information will be accessible to their blind students and faculty; and

WHEREAS, these institutions include the California State University, Pennsylvania State University, and George Mason University: NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona in Convention assembled this fourteenth day of September, 2014, in the city of Tempe, Arizona, that this organization commend Congressman Raul Grijalva for his leadership in recognizing the critical importance of accessible educational technology and digital information and for co-sponsoring H.R. 3505 the Technology, Education and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (TEACH), which will help ensure that blind students have equal access to education compared to their sighted peers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona condemn and deplore the actions of our state’s educational institutions that continue to violate the law by ignoring their obligation to procure and deploy accessible educational technology, thereby excluding blind students from equality in education; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon all schools to commit from the top levels of administration to procure, offer, and deploy only accessible educational technology and digital information and encourage schools to work with the National Federation of the Blind to ensure that all blind students have equal access to educational technology and information; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the state legislature, the Arizona Board of Regents, and all organizations that oversee colleges and institutions of higher education to pass laws and regulations that would put our state’s institutions of higher education in compliance with existing federal laws and regulations.

AttachmentSize
Resolution 2014-05.docx117.29 KB