[nfbwatlk] FW: National Federation of the Blind Commends Senator Murray for Braille Literacy Letter

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Thu May 3 02:29:02 UTC 2012

From: Freeh, Jessica [mailto:JFreeh at nfb.org] 
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 1:07 PM
To: Undisclosed recipients:
Subject: National Federation of the Blind Commends Senator Murray for
Braille Literacy Letter





Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

 <mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org> cdanielsen at nfb.org


National Federation of the Blind Commends 
Senator Murray for Braille Literacy Letter


Letter to Secretary of Education Urges Department to 
Ensure Access to Braille Instruction for Blind Students


Baltimore, Maryland (May 2, 2012): The National Federation of the Blind, the
nation's leading advocate for Braille literacy, today commended Senator
Patty Murray (D-WA) who led a bipartisan group of twenty-six senators in
sending a letter to Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, regarding
improving access to Braille instruction for blind students.  The letter
calls upon the Department of Education to work with stakeholders to develop
new regulations for the individualized education program (IEP) of blind
students and provide guidance to school districts to clarify the requirement
contained in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that Braille be
presumed appropriate for blind students unless there is specific evidence
that Braille is not appropriate.


The letter stated in part: "Students with blindness or a visual impairment
who are inappropriately denied or delayed Braille instruction find
themselves struggling in middle and high school, falling further behind
their sighted peers.  As this achievement gap persists, the student's
ability to compete with sighted peers for post-secondary opportunities and
employment is significantly compromised.  This literacy gap is both
unnecessary and preventable."  


Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said:
"We applaud Senator Murray and her fellow senators for taking a stand for
the equal education of blind students.  Braille is the only reading and
writing method for blind people and there is overwhelming evidence that
Braille readers go on to lead more productive lives -and yet currently only
10 percent of blind students are learning Braille.  This cannot stand.  We
urge the Secretary of Education to heed this letter and begin work with the
National Federation of the Blind and other stakeholders to develop new
regulations that will reverse this downward trend in Braille literacy."


"This is not just a problem for the blind community, this is a problem for
our country as a whole," said Senator Patty Murray in a statement from her
office.  "If we allow this to continue, it won't just be one community that
falls behind, we will all fall behind together.  Making sure that we offer
all our kids, regardless of disability, a world-class education is not only
a moral obligation, it is an economic imperative for the U.S. to succeed."


Senator John Boozman (R-AR), one of twenty-six senators who signed Murray's
letter, said: "As an optometrist, I recognize the importance of providing
our blind and visually impaired students with the resources they need to
learn how to read.  Evaluation of students with disabilities is essential to
providing an individualized education program that leads to literacy and
readies these students for college and a career."





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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