04:49 PM

The National Federation of the Blind and AAP Applaud Introduction of “TEACH Act”

Rep. Tom Petri Introduces “Technology, Equality And Accessibility In College and Higher Education Act”

Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD — The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans, and the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the leading trade association of the US publishing industry, applaud Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) for introducing today the Technology, Equality and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act. The TEACH Act, which is the result of collaboration between the NFB and the AAP and has been endorsed by10 other organizations of and for people with disabilities, will create accessibility guidelines for electronic instructional materials and related information technologies used by institutions of higher education.

The TEACH Act will provide guidelines for manufacturers of educational technology and clarity for institutions of higher education to ensure that materials are usable by all students.

“Educational technology creates unlimited opportunities for innovative methods of learning, but these new and innovative tools can also pose a challenge for accessibility.” said Rep. Petri. “The TEACH Act will ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to a high-quality education in today’s 21st century classroom. I’m proud to be sponsoring this important legislation and encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in this effort.”

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of NFB, said, “Every day, blind college students face devastating setbacks to their education because of inaccessible technology. The use of e-readers, Web content, mobile applications, and learning management systems by educators is more prevalent than ever, and disabled students are being needlessly left behind. No student can be expected to succeed in college if he or she is denied access to critical course material. Schools and manufacturers must embrace readily available accessibility solutions so that all students can benefit from educational technology, and the guidelines established by the TEACH Act will make it clear how manufacturers and institutions of higher education can best serve disabled students. We thank AAP for the many months of hard work they have dedicated to this joint effort. These guidelines are long overdue, and we applaud Congressman Petri for introducing this critical bill.”

Noted Tom Allen, President and CEO, AAP, “The TEACH Act supports a core mission of the Association of American Publishers: to ensure that all students have equal access to high-quality digital educational content and technologies. As higher education publishers’ innovations keep improving how students learn and as institutions seek to serve their diverse student communities, the TEACH Act will provide the clarifying guidelines and incentives to foster greater commercial availability of accessible educational content, platforms and delivery systems. We are proud to have collaborated with Congressman Petri’s office and the NFB to put forward this legislation which will help make state-of-the-art learning materials accessible to all students pursuing higher education.”

About The National Federation of the Blind:
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the oldest, largest, and most influential nationwide membership organization of blind people in the United States. Founded in 1940, the NFB advocates for the civil rights and equality of blind Americans, and develops innovative education, technology, and training programs to provide the blind and those who are losing vision with the tools they need to become independent and successful.

About the Association of American Publishers:
The 300 members of AAP are building the future of publishing. AAP represents America’s premier creators of high-quality entertainment, education, scientific and professional published content. We dedicate the creative, intellectual, financial and technological investments to bring great ideas to life and deliver content to the world’s diverse audiences in all the ways they seek it.

For NFB:
Chris Danielsen - cdanielsen@nfb.org