Resolution 2017-01

Regarding Unified English Braille and the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation   

WHEREAS, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) voted in 2012 that as of 2016 the official codes to be used in the United States are Unified English Braille (UEB), the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, the music Braille code, and the International Phonetic Alphabet code; and

WHEREAS, "BANA is providing guidance on how to incorporate the Nemeth Code into UEB context with the intent that the Nemeth Code will continue to be integral to Braille in the United States"; and

WHEREAS, the strong support for the use of Nemeth Code for mathematics is based in Nemeth Code being a known quantity, used successfully for decades, and found to be efficient and agile for reading and working mathematics problems; and

WHEREAS, some states, acting under an impression that part of the implementation process involves setting, at the state level, the standard for how mathematics Braille will be produced and taught in that state, have indicated an intent to move to the use of only UEB symbols for the teaching and production of Braille math in their state; and

WHEREAS, theories that abandoning the Nemeth Code in favor of the use of UEB symbols for technical contexts will improve Braille readers' access to and performance in math are unproven; and

WHEREAS, Braille production does not occur in isolation within each state, but rather is done to a great extent by a nationally connected network of Braille transcribers and producers; and

WHEREAS, there exists in the US a well-established network of certified Nemeth code transcribers, but there is no training or credential to ensure the qualification of transcribers producing technical materials using UEB symbols only; and

WHEREAS, the differences between the presentation of mathematics in Nemeth Code and math using UEB symbols are so fundamental that a blind child moving to a state with a different math standard could find his or her math books and tests inaccessible even though they are in Braille; and

WHEREAS, each state must create a customized plan for implementation of UEB; Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Florida in Convention assembled this 29th day of May, 2017, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon the Committee responsible for planning UEB implementation in Florida to ensure that blind students have effective access to math instruction while eliminating needless confusion and unnecessary cost by using the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation as the standard for math Braille.