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 to deploy new or emerging technologies only if they are accessible to blind students. The guidelines, in the form of Frequently Asked Questions, were issued to supplement the department’s Dear Colleague letter 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 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.”