National Federation of the Blind Commends Department of Education for New Accessible Technology Guidelines

Urges Schools to Deploy Technology That Blind Students Can Use

Baltimore, Maryland (May 26, 2011):

The National Federation of the Blind urged all elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools to follow guidelines issued today by the Department of
Education’s Office of Civil Rights and deploy new or emerging technologies only if they are accessible to blind students.

The guidelines, in the form of Frequently Asked Questions
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-ebook-faq-201105.html, were issued to supplement the department’s Dear Colleague letter
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-20100629.html
of June 29, 2010. That letter informed all college and university presidents that their institutions must be sure that emerging technologies
that they plan to deploy to students are accessible to the blind and other students with disabilities.

A second Dear Colleague
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201105-ese.html letter issued today made clear that the same legal obligations apply to
elementary and secondary schools.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind is pleased that the Department of
Education has issued this guidance to the entire education community. If blind students are to succeed in the twenty-first century, they must have
access to the same technologies as their sighted peers. These comprehensive
answers to commonly asked questions about the legal obligation to purchase and deploy accessible technology should be immensely helpful to school
administrators.

We urge educators to review them carefully and apply them whenever they are considering the purchase or deployment of new educational
technologies. We will continue our efforts to hold accountable those
institutions that ignore their legal obligations to their blind students.”

CONTACT:

Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
cdanielsen@nfb.org

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.

Reproduced from http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2011/05/26/national-federation-blind-commends-department-education-new-accessible-technology-guideli