[Nfbnet-members-list] Fwd: National Federation of the Blind Urges Swift Action on Recommendations for Accessible Higher Education Materials

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Wed Dec 14 00:26:20 UTC 2011

>Chris Danielsen
>Director of Public Relations
>National Federation of the Blind
>(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
>(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
><mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org
>National Federation of the Blind Urges Swift Action
>on Recommendations for Accessible Higher Education Materials
>Baltimore, Maryland (December 13, 2011): The 
><http://www.nfb.org/>National Federation of the 
>Blind (NFB) commented today on the recently 
>released final 
>of the Advisory Commission on Accessible 
>Instructional Materials in Postsecondary 
>Education for Students with Disabilities.  The 
>commission was created by Congress following 
>extensive advocacy by the NFB as part of the 
>Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.  The 
>report sets forth specific recommendations to 
>facilitate the production and distribution of 
>accessible instructional materials­including 
>printed and digital books, journals, course 
>packs, articles, tests, videos, 
>instructor-created materials, and Web pages, as 
>well as any hardware, firmware, software, or 
>other means of accessing such materials­to 
>students who are blind or have other 
>disabilities.  The report focuses on making 
>mainstream educational products accessible to 
>the maximum extent possible, allowing students 
>with and without disabilities to access the same 
>materials at the same time and at the same price.
>Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National 
>Federation of the Blind, said: “The blind and 
>other students with disabilities have an equal 
>right to participate in higher education. Access 
>to textbooks and other instructional materials 
>has historically presented the greatest barrier 
>to a truly equal education for blind 
>students.  The transition from print to digital 
>materials presents great challenges; but, if 
>managed properly, it will mean that blind 
>students and other students with disabilities 
>will, for the first time, have equal access to 
>educational content on the same terms as their 
>non-disabled peers.  This report presents 
>recommendations that, if properly implemented, 
>will help to ensure that this potential is realized.”
><?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = 
>/>Mark Riccobono, executive director of the 
>National Federation of the Blind Jernigan 
>Institute and a member of the commission, said: 
>“Ultimately the success of this report will 
>depend on whether Congress acts to implement its 
>recommendations, but the recommendations 
>themselves are strong and will make a real 
>difference to postsecondary students with 
>disabilities if implemented.  As the report 
>notes, while there is some activity in the 
>mainstream market to include accessibility in 
>electronic textbooks and other products, it will 
>take a combination of market incentives and 
>government regulations in order to ensure that 
>the blind and other students with disabilities 
>are placed on equal footing with their 
>peers.  If the report’s recommendations are not 
>acted upon, however, students with disabilities 
>will be put at a greater disadvantage than ever 
>before in terms of access to educational 
>materials.  We therefore urge Congress to act 
>swiftly on the commission’s recommendations.”
>About the National Federation of the Blind
>With more than 50,000 members, the National 
>Federation of the Blind is the largest and most 
>influential membership organization of blind 
>people in the United States. The NFB improves 
>blind people’s lives through advocacy, 
>education, research, technology, and programs 
>encouraging independence and self-confidence. It 
>is the leading force in the blindness field 
>today and the voice of the nation's blind. In 
>January 2004 the NFB opened the National 
>Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the 
>first research and training center in the United 
>States for the blind led by the blind.
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