ATLANTA (Feb. 26, 2014) | Yesterday, Sen. Lester Jackson (D- Savannah) led the passage of Senate Bill 409 out of the Senate Education and Youth Committee. SB 409 would establish the Blind Person’s Braille Literacy Rights and Education Act.
“Throughout our great state, children who are visually impaired are not receiving the resources they need to lead successful, productive lives,” said Sen. Jackson. “We must do more for those children who are living with this challenging condition so that they have every opportunity to grow into independent, contributing members of society. We are sending a resounding message to the children and families of our great state that we are committed to ensuring their future success in Georgia’s classrooms.”
If passed, SB 409 would accomplish the following:
- Requires an evaluation of a blind or visually impaired child to determine the child’s need for Braille instruction;
- Requires Braille instruction in the individualized education program of a blind or visually impaired student;
- Requires publishers of textbooks and other materials sold to any local board of education to furnish an electronic version in National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard format to the National Instructional Materials Access Center; and
- Requires teachers of blind or visually impaired children to meet certain requirements for licensing.
This bill defines a blind or visually impaired child as eligible for special education services as someone who has the visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the stronger eye with correcting lenses and has a limited field of vision so that the widest diameter subtends an angular distance of no greater than 20 degrees. The child also has to have a medically indicated expectation of visual deterioration documented in a current eye report from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, or has current special education eligibility in the area of visual impairments.
SB 409 will now head to the Senate Rules Committee for further consideration.
For Immediate Release
Adam Sweat, Communications Specialist