Rep. Tom Petri Introduces “Technology, Education and Accessibility
In College and Higher Education Act”
Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC (November 15, 2013): 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, Education and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (H.R. 3505). The TEACH Act, which is the result of collaboration between the NFB and the AAP, and has been endorsed by ten 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.”