[Tall-Corn] Aim High request

Jerad S. Nylin jerad.nfbi at gmail.com
Fri Jan 19 01:51:23 UTC 2018

Good evening Federation Family, 


Please see the below message from Janae Burgmeier from the Iowa Association
of Blind Students (IABS) Please consider helping our students gather Aim
High letters for us to take with us to Washington Seminar. The team for the
2018 Washington Seminar is Katy Olsen, Janae Burgmeier, and Jerad Nylin.    



Jerad S. Nylin

President: National Federation of the Blind of Iowa


Original message  


Greetings Fellow Federationists,

The Iowa Association of Blind Students would like to request Aim High
letters from our fellow federationists, peer and mentors alike. (If you are
unfamiliar with this piece of legislation please scroll down). Those of you
who are familiar with AIM HEA might be thinking "I am not a student, how can
I write a letter for AIM HEA?" The reality is that anyone can write a
letter. All of us know someone who has encountered barriers to
post-secondary education because of innaccessability. Whether you are a
teacher, recent graduate, parent, future college student or a mentor, every
federationist can testify to this issue whether or not they are a student
currently. We would like as many letters as possible for Washington Seminar.
Every single letter means our voice can be heard louder so please take a few
minutes of your time to write a few paragraphs about the issue and why it
affects you. If there are blind people who cannot attend college because of
inaccessibility, the consequences of that are far reaching. This is a
continuous project so we can collect letters all year round; however if
possible please get your letters in by January 21th by midnight so that we
can bring them to Washington with us.


Please e mail letters to Beth Rouse the Iowa Students Legislative Committee
Chair rousee2 at central.edu

It would also be helpful if you could copy affiliate president Jerad Nylin
jerad.nfbi at gmail.com on the e mail as well. 


I have attached my sample letter as well as a few other letters and template
for your convenience. Below is the description about the piece of
legislation, and a link where you can find more information if you have any
questions, feel free to reach out to any of us and we will be happy to speak
with you. 





Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act (S. 2138/H.R.

Until a market-driven solution for accessible instructional materials is
achieved, blind college students will be denied access to critical course

Technology has fundamentally changed the education system.

The scope of instructional materials used at institutions of higher
education has expanded. Curricular content comes in digital books, PDFs,
webpages, etc., and most of this content is delivered through digital
databases, learning management systems, and applications. The print world is
inherently inaccessible to students with disabilities, but technology offers
the opportunity to expand the circle of participation. Studies have found
that, of the 6.6 million students with disabilities in grades K-12, the
number who go on to pursue postsecondary education is growing.
<https://nfb.org/aimhighfactsheet#One> [1] 

Blind students are facing insurmountable barriers to education.

Instead of fulfilling the promise of equal access, technology has created
more problems than the print world ever did. Data show that students with
disabilities face a variety of challenges, including matriculation and
college completion failure,  <https://nfb.org/aimhighfactsheet#Two> [2]
solely because, in the absence of clear accessibility guidelines, colleges
and universities are sticking with the ad-hoc accommodations model.
<https://nfb.org/aimhighfactsheet#Three> [3] Currently, schools deploy
inaccessible technology and then modify another version for blind students,
usually weeks or even months into class, creating a "separate-but-equal"
landscape with nearly impenetrable barriers. With only a 17.9 percent
employment rate, compared to 65.3 percent among people without disabilities,
<https://nfb.org/aimhighfactsheet#Four> [4] students with disabilities
should not be denied access by the innovations that can ensure full

Institutions of higher education need help to identify accessible material
and comply with nondiscrimination laws.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and III of the Americans
with Disabilities Act require schools to provide equal access, and in 2010,
the US Departments of Justice and Education clarified that the use of
inaccessible technology is prohibited under these laws.
<https://nfb.org/aimhighfactsheet#Five> [5] The 2011 Aim Commission
recommended to Congress  <https://nfb.org/aimhighfactsheet#_edn6> [6] that
accessibility guidelines be developed for postsecondary instructional
materials. In the seven years since,  <https://nfb.org/aimhighfactsheet#Six>
[7] over a dozen institutions have faced legal action for using inaccessible
technology,  <https://nfb.org/aimhighfactsheet#Six> [8] and complaints are
on the rise. Most litigation ends with a commitment from the school to
embrace accessibility, but that commitment does little in a vast,
uncoordinated higher education market.
<https://nfb.org/aimhighfactsheet#Seven> [9]

Accessibility solutions are available, but guidelines are sorely needed to
stimulate the market.

The Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act will bring
together people with disabilities and the higher education, publishing, tech
developing, and manufacturing communities to develop a stakeholder driven
solution to the issue of inaccessible instructional materials. With input
from all relevant stakeholder communities,
<https://nfb.org/aimhighfactsheet#Eight> [10] mainstream accessible
instructional materials can be achieved, benefitting both institutions of
higher education and the students with disabilities they aim to serve.

Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act:

Develops accessibility guidelines for instructional materials used in
postsecondary education.

A purpose-based commission is tasked with developing accessibility criteria
for instructional materials and the delivery systems/technologies used to
access those materials. Additionally, the commission is tasked with
developing an annotated list of existing national and international
standards so that schools and developers can identify what makes a product
usable by the blind.

Provides a digital accessibility roadmap for institutions of higher

The guidelines developed by the commission will contain specific technical
and functional criteria that will clearly illustrate how to make educational
technologies usable by the blind and other students with print disabilities.
Such criteria will prove to be beneficial to procurement officers,
informational technology staff, chief technology officers, and other key
personnel at institutions of higher education.

Offers flexibility for schools while reiterating that pre-existing
obligations still apply.

Colleges and universities are permitted to use material that does not
conform to the guidelines as long as equal access laws are still honored.
Conformity with the Aim High guidelines is only one path to compliance;
schools can pursue a different path but in doing so will forfeit the
combined expertise of the relevant stakeholder communities involved in the
development of the Aim High guidelines.





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