[Nfbc-info] Action needed on TEACH Act

Mary Willows mwillows at sbcglobal.net
Thu Sep 4 22:16:35 UTC 2014

Hello All,


I'm sure you have seen the update email message from Lauren McLarney about
the opposition letter which was sent to Senator Harkin about the TEACH Act.
Below is my version of a  letter that should be sent out to your
representative as soon as possible.  You can either use mine and change the
names or cut and paste Lauren's original message.  Please let me know if you
get a response.   This is an opportunity for all of us to let our voices be
heard. Please take action.  Thank you.







Dear __________,


I hope you had a nice recess! I am writing on behalf of the National
Federation of the Blind of _______ about the Technology, Education and
Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (S. 2060/H.R. 3505), or
TEACH Act.  We talked about this issue when our team was there in January
but as a reminder, the TEACH Act offers a simple, non-controversial solution
to the very complicated problem of inaccessible educational technology and
the impact that kind of discrimination has had on blind college students. 


Most offices want to know what schools think about the bill. Last Friday,
the American Council on Education (ACE) sent a letter to Senator Harkin
regarding a provision in his higher education reauthorization draft that is
modeled after the TEACH Act. Their statement can be found here,
4.pdf, and they totally missed the mark. It says the provision creates an
"impossible to meet standard," that will chill the usage of new technology.
It goes onto say the provision will do the opposite of what it intends to do
without any data or explanation for how that is so.


You have asked us challenging questions about this bill, so we hope you will
look at ACE's position with the same critical eye. The TEACH Act creates
voluntary accessibility guidelines that tells schools what accessibility
looks like so they'll know what to demand and how best to comply with the
law; how is this an "impossible to meet standard?" The bill also
incentivizes schools to use those guidelines with a safe harbor from
litigation; isn't this what ACE should want? Our goal is to stimulate the
market, but ACE says guidelines will have the opposite effect. I hope you
will reach out to ACE and demand an explanation for why this is true and ask
if they have a substitute proposal that might have a better outcome. 


We want to improve access for students with disabilities, so we developed a
solution that has widespread support. Fifteen different groups endorse the
initiative, and over fifty Members of Congress have cosponsored.  You can
see how well-received our solution is by visiting www.nfb.org/teach. ACE has
offered no solution and no public comment other than this two sentence
statement. Who will you side with? I hope __________________ will overlook
their rhetoric and come on board as a cosponsor. Can we count on his / her





Mary Willows

President, NFBC







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