Resolution 2017-02 National Federation of the Blind of Maryland

Regarding Funding for Assistive Technology for K-12 Students


WHEREAS, in 2016 legislation was enacted to create the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education to make recommendations for legislative and policy initiatives that will increase the availability of innovative educational opportunities, and make adequate and equitable the funding for State public education; and


WHEREAS, this commission, commonly known as the Kirwan Commission, named after its chairman, William Kirwan, the Chancellor Emeritus of the University System of Maryland, is to consider how best to prepare students to compete in the workforce and the global economy; and


WHEREAS, the needs of blind and visually impaired students, who are a part of the overall student population, must be included in the deliberations of this commission; and


WHEREAS, for this student population, access to assistive software and hardware technology,  and the training in the use of this technology, is paramount for them to compete with their sighted peers in the workforce and the global economy; and


WHEREAS, historically many inequities have existed among local school systems in providing the acquisition of and training in assistive technology, thus creating barriers to quality education for blind and visually impaired students; and


WHEREAS, greater efficiency and a higher quality of education could be achieved if a centralized system of uniform statewide funding were to be created to provide these assistive technology services: Now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland in Convention assembled this   eleventh day of November, 2017 in the city of Towson, Maryland, that this organization strongly urge the Maryland School for the Blind and the Maryland State Department of Education to work with the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland to quickly develop recommendations for submission to the Kirwan Commission that would establish a centralized system for procuring assistive technology, and provide high quality training in its use; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the Kirwan Commission to include these recommendations in its final report to the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly.