2019 Resolution 03
WHEREAS, the urgent need for appropriate and effective education of blind and visually impaired (B/VI) students, enrolled in Arizona’s public school districts to become the next generation of capable and self-reliant citizens and community leaders, cannot be understated by the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona (NFBA), affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the largest and oldest consumer organization of blind Americans; and
WHEREAS, fewer than one of ten B/VI students, nationally, are taught the proficient use of Braille, according to the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and the Institute on Blindness, leading to unequal educational opportunity and academic success of blind students, as compared to that of their sighted peers; and
WHEREAS, Arizona blind youth are statistically, falling behind in literacy rates, standardized test scores, and overall, academic success; and
WHEREAS, Arizona public school districts continually lack a sufficient number of experienced, well-trained and certified teachers of blind and visually impaired students, leading to major shortcomings in the consistent, long-term teaching of statistically-sound and widely-accepted benefits of acquiring alternative skills of blindness–primarily Braille literacy, cane travel, and positive attitudes about blindness; and
WHEREAS, the Arizona State University (ASU) Education Department is developing and establishing a B/VI Teacher preparation Bachelor’s program to increase the number of qualified, well-trained teachers, to improve the education of Arizona’s blind students, without input and support from the NFBA, which has the most realistic and accurate information and understanding about blindness; and
WHEREAS, the ASU Education Department is planning to commence the first semester of the new B/VI Teacher Preparation Program, in January, 2020, rejecting any assistance offered by the NFBA in the development of the Program curriculum and establishment of the certification standards, based on the high expectations, for which the NFB is known; Now, therefore:
BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona in convention assembled this thirty-first day of August, 2019, in the city of Phoenix, Arizona, that this organization compel the Arizona State University Education Department to actively collaborate with the NFBA, establishing accountability of and high standards for its Bachelor-level, B/VI teacher Preparation Program curriculum and graduate certification requirements, increasing the number of qualified, well-trained B/VI teachers in Arizona public school district classrooms, effectively teaching the alternative blindness skills of Braille, cane travel, and positive attitudes, equipping Arizona’s blind and visually impaired students with high expectations, to receive quality education, and achieve academic excellence that every, Arizona student deserves.