[nobe-l] National Federation of the Blind Files Complaint with United States Department of Education

Freeh, Jessica JFreeh at nfb.org
Wed Oct 28 05:00:02 UTC 2009



Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (cell)

cdanielsen at nfb.org

National Federation of the Blind Files Complaint with
United States Department of Education

Inaccessible Web Site U.S.A. Learns Discriminates Against the Blind

Baltimore, Maryland (October 27, 2009): The National Federation of 
the Blind (NFB), the nation's oldest and largest organization of 
blind people and the leading advocate for equal access by the blind 
to information technology, and Carlos Mora, a blind resident of 
Baltimore, Maryland, filed an administrative complaint today with the 
United States Department of Education.  The complaint asserts that 
one of the United States Department of Education's Web sites, U.S.A 
Learns, violates Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act because it is 
inaccessible to blind people who use text-to-speech screen access 
technology or Braille displays to access information on the 
Internet.  Because of the inaccessibility of the U.S.A Learns Web 
site, blind people cannot access or navigate through the content of 
the English vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation lessons that are 
offered through the site.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, 
said: "In an age where the Internet is a part of everyday life, blind 
people must have equal access to the information and resources 
provided on the World Wide Web.  In particular, the United States 
government has a legal and moral obligation to ensure that the 
information it provides on the Internet is equally accessible to all 
in America, including the blind.  It is especially ironic that the 
Department of Education, which is commissioned to provide educational 
opportunities for all, would deny blind people access to a Web site 
that provides instructive tools for those who speak English as a 
second language.  This is unacceptable and we demand equal access for 
all blind people."

Carlos Mora, a blind individual from Baltimore, Maryland, said: "I 
work full time and have been accepted to a master's degree program at 
Johns Hopkins University, and English is my second language.  I 
attempted to use the U.S.A. Learns Web site to prepare for my 
everyday life and my future studies by practicing English vocabulary, 
spelling, and pronunciation, but the Web site was not accessible to 
me.  It is frustrating to be denied access to any Web site, but it is 
especially so when I am being denied access to a Web site with 
educational tools that would help me to become a more active and 
productive member of American society."

This is the third complaint filed by the National Federation of the 
Blind on behalf of blind people in America regarding the 
inaccessibility of a federal government Web site.  The NFB plans to 
file complaints about other inaccessible federal government Web sites 
as the organization continues to receive multiple reports from blind 
people of barriers they have faced while trying to access government 
information, programs, and services on the Internet.

Complainants are represented by attorneys Daniel F. Goldstein and 
Allison L. Harper of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, 120 E. Baltimore 
Street, Suite 1700, Baltimore, Maryland  21202, (410) 962-1030, fax: 
(410) 385-0869, <mailto:dfg at browngold.com>dfg at browngold.com, 
<mailto:ah at browngold.com>ah at browngold.com, 


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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