For the first time, Virginia will fully fund the education of its blind K-12 students Delegate Bob Brink to be honored for exceptional leadership.
ARLINGTON, Va. – Delegate Bob Brink (D-48), who led the advocacy to increase funding for teachers of blind students, will be recognized today with the Commonwealth Award by the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia (NFBV)-the Commonwealth’s largest and oldest organization of blind people and the leading advocate for braille literacy.
For years, the Virginia Department of Education has published Standards of Quality (SOQ), which define minimum student-teacher ratios and provide partial salary support to school divisions to fund special education teachers who work within Virginia’s schools. Unfortunately, unlike all other disabilities, teachers for the blind were excluded from the SOQ, leading to enormous case loads in many school divisions. Through Delegate Brink’s advocacy-supported by the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia-Governor McDonnell committed to fully fund the state share for staffing standards for blind and low vision students. The amended 2012-2014 budget addresses this inequality and funds teachers for Virginia’s blind and low vision students.
“Parents of blind children are frustrated that their children are not learning the blindness skills necessary to compete with their sighted peers,” said NFBV President Dr. Fredric Schroeder. “We cannot expect students to learn braille and independent travel when teachers for the blind are forced to limit instruction to 30 minutes a week. Because reading and writing is a fundamental skill for all students, we are excited that blind students will now receive the quality education that they deserve.”
Brink, who represents north Arlington and most of McLean, said, “This is a long overdue step for the 1,000-plus blind and low-vision students across Virginia who are blind or have low vision.
The budget will provide $4.9 million funding to local school districts.”
The award ceremony is open to members of the media, and will feature remarks from Brink, a member of the Arlington County School Board, and advocates. It will be held May 9 at Tutto Bene Restaurant (501 N. Randolph St; Arlington) at 7 p.m.
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND OF VIRGINIA Dr. Fredric K. Schroeder, President
9522 Lagersfield Circle . Vienna, VA 22181
(703) 319-9226 . firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tracy Soforenko, (202) 285-4595, email@example.com