Resolution 2009-02

Concerning the Accommodations for Standardized Testing for Special-Needs Candidates

Whereas, it is a mission of the National Federation of the Blind to remove the social, legal, and economic barriers faced by the blind; and

Whereas, the goal of the federation is the full integration of the blind into society in terms of equality; and

Whereas, many blind and otherwise disabled Floridians depend on assistive technology, specifically the use of screen reading software in order to promote and assure their right to live independently; enjoy self determination; make choices; contribute to society; pursue meaningful careers; enjoy full inclusion and integration in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of American society; and

Whereas, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 and the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 contains provisions that allow for the creation of accessibility standards that would allow blind or sight impaired persons full and equal access to any entity, program or activity which is easily or readily available to the general public; and

Whereas, the State has a responsibility to carry out directly, or provide support to public or private entities to carry out, technical assistance and training activities for disabled individuals, including; the development and implementation of laws, regulations, policies, practices, procedures, or organizational structures that promote access to assistive technology devices and assistive technology services for individuals with disabilities in education, health care, employment, and

community living contexts, and in other contexts such as the use of telecommunications; the development of training materials and the conduct of training in the use of assistive technology devices and assistive technology services; and

Whereas, the State maintains standardized testing provisions which allow for accommodations to students with disabilities which do not include the use of technical devices or technological assistance as described in section 5002(3) of the Clinger Cohen Act of 1996 (40 U.S.C. 1401(3) which is incorporated and adopted in section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998; and

Whereas, the inability to utilize assistive technology devices prevents blind persons from the promotion of education and employment pursuits in many sectors; and

Whereas, financing provisions have been made available to the state of Florida under Title I, II, and III of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998; and

Whereas, the Legislature of the State of Florida with blatant disregard of the needs of blind or sight-impaired citizens has failed to provide accommodations for technology assistance and has failed to implement legislation that allows for the use of such assistance at this time: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Florida in Convention assembled this twenty-fifth day of May, 2009, in the City of Boca Raton, Florida, that we will not tolerate this unlawful and immoral denial of our right to fully participate in Florida society; and

 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of Florida shall use all appropriate means available, including legal action, should it prove necessary, to ensure that blind or sight-impaired persons have full access to all technological assistance guaranteed by law within the state of Florida.