From a NFB Listserv:
Less than a week after a fun and successful Washington Seminar, I already have good news to report. The National Association of Blind Students has initiated a petition on Change.org in support of the TEACH Act, something Im sure many of you have already heard about and signed, and it already has over 49,000 signatures! According to our contact at Change.org, it is one of the biggest legislative petitions on the site. So please help us reach 50,000 by circulating this URL: https://www.change.org/petitions/pass-teach-act-equal-access-to-educational-materials-for-students-with-disabilities , urging your family, friends and associates to sign the petition, or you can forward Jamie Principados letter (found below), which will also direct people to the site. How many times have we talked about the problem of inaccessible instructional materials, or any problem facing blind people, and heard someone say I wish there was something I could do!? Well this is something tangible and effective that they can do, and it takes little to no time. When anyone signs this petition, it sends a letter to the House of Representatives urging them to support the bill which means every signature makes a big difference. So dont be afraid to send this to contacts outside of the Federation! I hope to send an update again soon with more good news as the number of signatures goes up, so stay tuned!
Jamies letter for circulation:
As a blind high schooler, I couldn’t just apply to my top colleges — I had
to make sure that classes were going to be made accessible for me, and I was
excited to attend Florida State University because they had a great program
for training teachers of the blind.
But when I started classes at FSU, I quickly found out that the school
didn’t have the accessible tools I needed to learn and complete all my work.
My online classes weren’t compatible with my screen reader and I couldn’t
access materials in any of my math or biology classes. I struggled for three
years, and eventually decided to change schools.
I sued FSU for failing to meet state and federal disability laws, but I
don’t want other blind students like me to experience what I had to go
through. I started a petition on Change.org asking Congress to pass the
TEACH Act to make sure that all students with disabilities have equal access
to learning. Click here to sign my petition.
When I approached the administration at FSU about the inaccessible
materials, they suggested I try an easier major instead of trying to help
me and other students with disabilities. I felt like the school was
punishing me instead of trying to help me learn.
That’s why I believe in the TEACH Act. While federal laws require colleges
to only deploy accessible materials, they were written before technology
became part of the classroom, so schools like FSU have no direction for how
the laws apply to students like me. The TEACH Act creates much-needed
guidelines illustrating how schools can provide instructional technology
that is usable for students with disabilities.
I believe that public support of the TEACH Act through my petition will show
members of Congress that constituents around the country believe there is an
urgent need for this. But they won’t do it without you.
Sign my petition demanding that Congress pass the TEACH Act, creating
guidelines for schools to protect equal access in the classroom for blind
Thank you for your support.
Government Affairs Specialist
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND