Vol. 36, No. 2 February
Barbara Pierce, Editor
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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
THE BLIND IS NOT
SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND--IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES
Vol. 36, No. 2 February 1993
JACOBUS TENBROEK: THE MAN BEYOND THE MOVEMENT
DAILY BREAD: THE BLIND IN AUTO BODY REPAIR
by Daryel White
THE DENNIS GROSHEL CASE
by Marc Maurer
HOW TO MAKE
A BRAILLE WAVE
by Bonnie Simons
PERSONAL ASSISTANT SERVICES: ANOTHER KIND OF PAS
STUDENT TEACHER IN PUBLIC EDUCATION
by Fred Schroeder
BETWEEN THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
AND THE AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION
by Marc Maurer
A NEW CONCEPT FOR LONG-DISTANCE SERVICE
by Sharon Gold
Copyright 1993 National Federation of the Blind
[PHOTO: Portrait of Jacobus tenBroek. CAPTION: On October 30, 1992, more than 150 of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek's former students gathered in San Francisco for a testimonial dinner in his honor. As guests entered the room where the event was to take place, the first thing they saw was an easel supporting an enlarged copy of this picture of Dr. tenBroek.]
THE MAN BEYOND THE MOVEMENT
From the Associate Editor: Probably every state affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind still boasts some members who were lucky enough to have met Dr. tenBroek or even to have known him well. As I travel to various state conventions, I meet these people, and what strikes me is the delight and reverence that seem to suffuse each of them as the recollections begin to flow and the anecdotes of his activities and pronouncements are retold and savored. I regret deeply that I never met our beloved founder, but I cannot truly grieve for my loss because in a very real sense he lives on in everything we do and every step toward equality we take as a movement. As Dr. Jernigan has said, "It would be equally accurate to say that the man was the embodiment of the movement or that the movement was the expression of the man."
All of us recognize to varying degrees the truth of Dr. Jernigan's statement. What we take with less seriousness and understand with far less clarity is the profound effect Dr. tenBroek has had on the world beyond the National Federation of the Blind and the blindness field. Dr. Jernigan tells the story of boarding a train in Boston four or five years ago and overhearing several young people, obviously law students, vehemently arguing about the effect of tenBroek on the legal point they were debating. Somehow our very reverence for Dr. tenBroek within the context of our own knowledge of his greatness has served to diminish our appreciation of his larger contribution to the American scene and the direction of legal thought in the twentieth century.
It has been given to that other group of people whose lives have been irrevocably changed and profoundly enriched by Dr. tenBroek's influence (his students) to broaden our understanding and deepen even further our appreciation of our founder's contribution to the world. In the September, 1992, issue of the California Monthly, the publication of the Alumni Association of the University of California at Berkeley, one of those students, Frank Winston, set forth his recollections of Dr. tenBroek. Here is what he said:
[PHOTO: Dr. tenBroek sitting at his desk using a Braille writer. CAPTION: Dr. tenBroek was always surrounded by books. His wife Hazel told the testimonial dinner audience that two of the reasons the couple bought the Shasta Road house in which they lived for many years was their growing family and growing library. In this picture Dr. tenBroek's Hall Braille writer sits on the walnut stand he always used, and his law books are ranged behind him as he works at his desk.]
On Jacobus tenBroek
by Frank D. Winston
In February, 1951, I was a seventeen-year-old freshman who needed to satisfy Speech 1A or English 1A. Confidently thinking I had a gift of gab, I enrolled in an eight o'clock "pre-law" class taught by Professor Jacobus tenBroek, Berkeley class of '34, Boalt School of Law class of '38. He was an attorney, having earned doctorates in law from Boalt and Harvard. His class focused on analyzing scholarly writings and U.S. Supreme Court cases dealing with Constitutional law. It turned out to be a more miraculous class than any beanie-sporting freshman had the right to expect.
One unusual factor was that tenBroek had what to most of us would be a handicap--he was blind. No stranger visiting his course would ever have guessed it, though. From the opening class, when he took the roll of his twenty-five students on Braille cards, until the next class when he looked directly at you before calling your name (he asked you to sit in the same area each time, though not any assigned seat), you knew you were in for a very bright ride.
Terror was instilled if you ever dared to be late to his class. As soon as you entered his classroom, he would track you after two steps and identify who you were and where you were headed. The dreaded colloquy would go something like this:
T.B.: "Greenwood, any idea what time it is?"
G.: "Yes, sir. Ten minutes after the hour."
T.B.: "It is fifteen minutes after the hour."
G.: "Yes, sir."
T.B.: "Greenwood, do you know what time this class starts?"
G.: "Yes, sir. Ten minutes after the hour."
T.B.: "After what hour?"
G.: "Eight o'clock, sir."
T.B.: "And by what clock? The Campanile?"
G.: (Resignedly) "Yes, sir."
Jacobus tenBroek reminded you that it made no sense to raise your hand in his classroom when you wanted attention, because he couldn't see it. Nor did it make sense to call out his name, since everybody knew it. Professor tenBroek's solution was to invite you to interrupt him (or a fellow student) by shouting out your own name and hoping for recognition. By that simple technique we all got to know the names of our less timid classmates very quickly.
TenBroek led his classes while methodically stroking his red goatee, perhaps to slow the pace of his constant inquisition. He had a great ability to take any side of an argument. It didn't matter what side you took, because he would confirm or create a controversy anyway, to your great discomfort. And if you read aloud from any case and left out a word, he would immediately jump in and correct you.
Fellow tenBroek alumni and colleagues may well have been inspired to their accomplishments by his tutorship. They include retired California Supreme Court Justices Allen Broussard '50, Boalt '53, and Frank Newman, Boalt '41; State Senator Dan Boatwright '56, Boalt '59; Appellate Court Justices Robert Puglia, Boalt '58; Fred Marler '54; Boalt '59; and Coleman Blease '52, Boalt '55; former U.S. Commissioner of Immigration Alan C. Nelson '55, M.B.A. '58; University of Texas law professor (and Chicago Eight co-counsel) Michael Tigar '62, Boalt '66; and many other prominent Cal grads.
TenBroek was always a strong advocate for the rights of the disabled. In 1940 he founded the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the largest and most influential of the organizations representing blind people. His wife Hazel worked with him in NFB activities and remains active in the organization. Hazel tenBroek also became a key member of an advisory group to Alan Nelson '55 when he served as State Director of Rehabilitation in the early 1970's.
Professor tenBroek died in 1968, but generations of students remember his charm and wit, the fun of his classes, and his scholarship. Michael Tigar, in remembering tenBroek, told the NFB convention in 1968: "Professor tenBroek taught by the Socratic method, [but] was Socratic in more than technique. He really compelled us to confront fundamental issues....In the University community, too, he was a fierce and formidable defender of academic freedom for students and teachers. If Socrates had had such a defender, Athens's hemlock supply would not have been depleted."
Recently, as I carefully read a major decision of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1991-1992 term, I trembled with the recognition that if I dared to skip or misread a word, tenBroek's voice would ring in my ears, forcefully reminding me of the importance of rational reading. Nor will I forget his concern for the poor and disadvantaged, which he championed long before it became politically correct. Hail Cal! Hail tenBroek!
There you have one student's recollection of Dr. tenBroek, and he is not alone in the warmth and gratitude he feels toward his professor and guide for the impact he had on his students' lives and cast of mind. A group of Berkeley alumni who remembered Dr. tenBroek's influence on them began planning a dinner to honor their teacher and mentor on October 30, 1992. In order to assemble the invitation list, they asked Mrs. tenBroek to prowl through old files in search of Dr. tenBroek's class lists. The task was enormous, but it was clearly necessary if all the former students who wanted to come were to be notified. More than one hundred fifty of them dropped everything and came, many from across the country, to be together for this absolutely unique evening of tribute, recollection, and laughter.
Among those invited, of course, were Dr. Jernigan and President Maurer. Unfortunately, the general assembly of the World Blind Union was taking place that week in Cairo, and the presence of both NFB leaders was required. Dr. Jernigan, however, prepared a tape-recorded message, which was played to the guests at the beginning of the evening's festivities. Here is the text of his remarks:
[PHOTO: Jacobus tenBroek and Kenneth Jernigan seated at a desk examining building blueprints. CAPTION: In 1961 Dr. tenBroek visited Dr. Jernigan at the Iowa Commission for the Blind in Des Moines. Here the two examine blueprints.]
The purpose of this dinner tonight is to bring together as many of us as possible whose lives were touched by Jacobus tenBroek. It would not be possible, obviously, to bring all of the people together who fall into that category. Recently, when I talked to Alan Nelson, I told him that nothing would keep me away from this dinner except the fact that I am going to be out of the country. I also told him that I would like to share with you the preface that I wrote in 1990 to a little book called Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement. I first put this book together in 1968 when Dr. tenBroek died, and it was reissued in 1990, on the fiftieth anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind.
The preface tells as well as I know how--at least in brief form--some of the things that Dr. tenBroek meant to me and the relationship we had. Here is the preface:
I first met Jacobus tenBroek in the summer of 1952. He was in the prime of his vigor as an author, a college professor, and the leader of the organized blind movement in the United States; and I was the newly elected president of the Tennessee affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind. We were immediately drawn to each other--he as mentor and role model and I as protege and willing student. But our relationship was not one of difference and distance. Rather, it was one of collegiality and partnership in a joint effort--the bringing of equal rights and first-class status to the blind.
In 1953 I moved to California to work on the faculty of the state orientation and adjustment center for the blind, and since the Center was in Oakland and Dr. tenBroek lived next door in Berkeley, we were in constant communication. During the next five years I spent many delightful hours in the tenBroek home, where Dr. and Mrs. tenBroek served sumptuous meals, entertained interesting guests by the roaring fire in their 1,600-square-foot living room, and provided mental stimulation and lively talk. For me it was a time of growth--of finding myself, of making lasting commitments, and of determining what my life's work would be.
In 1958 I moved to Iowa to become director of the state Commission for the Blind, but my relationship with Dr. tenBroek did not weaken. Year by year it grew stronger as we worked in the common cause of building the National Federation of the Blind. Through the trials of the organization's civil war, the rebuilding of the mid-1960's, and the period after he learned that he had cancer in 1966, Dr. tenBroek and I were an inseparable team. He faced his terminal illness as he faced everything else in his life, matter-of-factly and looking to the future.
By the fall of 1967 it was clear that he had only a few months left, and I began to write and assemble Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement. It was never intended as a print or Braille publication but as a recording of the actual sounds of his speeches. He died on March 27, 1968, and that very afternoon (with heavy heart) I finished my work on the master tapes and sent them off to the recording studio.
The national convention was held in Des Moines that summer, and every person who attended was given the recording of Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement. That was twenty-two years ago, and much has happened during the intervening time. The Federation has grown in power and influence; the National Center for the Blind has been established in Baltimore; and a whole new generation of blind Americans has come to leadership in the movement. But essentially the National Federation of the Blind is still the organization which Jacobus tenBroek planned and loved and labored to build. The basic philosophy is the philosophy which he propounded; the underlying structure is the structure which he established.
Therefore it seems particularly appropriate in this year of the fiftieth anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind that Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement be reissued--and this time not only in recorded form but also in print and Braille. He was the first president of the organization, and he will be a principal element in the administration of the last president, whoever and whenever that may be. In writing this preface and working to issue this publication, I give tangible expression to the debt which I owe to Jacobus tenBroek and to the love which I bore him. He was the guiding force of my formative years and the touchstone of integrity by which I have measured the actions of my later life.
The third generation of the movement is now in the flower of its strength, and the fourth generation is coming to maturity. The National Federation of the Blind is in good hands, and the spirit of Jacobus tenBroek is vibrantly alive in the unity of purpose and the drive to freedom of its leaders and members.
May 18, 1990
That is what I said in 1990, and I can do no better on this occasion. May this be a wonderfully pleasant event, filled with gusto--just the sort of thing Dr. tenBroek would have enjoyed.
[PHOTO: Dr. and Mrs. tenBroek stand at the head table during an NFB national convention banquet. CAPTION: Dr. and Mrs. tenBroek at a National Federation of the Blind convention.]
There you have Dr. Jernigan's remarks to the testimonial dinner, delivered by tape recording because of his absence from the country. As a memento of the evening, each dinner guest was presented with a print copy of the book, Jacobus tenBroek: The Man and the Movement. As President of the National Federation of the Blind of California, Sharon Gold was also invited to speak to the assembled guests as part of the evening's program. Here are her remarks:
Mr. Chairman, members of the dinner committee, and distinguished guests:
It is a privilege to take part in this tribute to the great teacher and leader Jacobus tenBroek. I did not have the opportunity to meet, know, and study under Dr. tenBroek personally; yet Jacobus tenBroek has been my mentor and has directed my life and the lives of all blind people, whether or not we knew the living man.
The American journalist and author Walter Lippmann said, "[T]he final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on." Measured by the highest standards, Dr. tenBroek has met that test, and this gathering of his students tonight is but one more example of the strength of his leadership.
Many people knew Jacobus tenBroek as an author, a scholar, a university professor, and a constitutional lawyer. So profound were Dr. tenBroek's writings that his treatises are still studied by law students across the country. Others know him as the founder and first president of the National Federation of the Blind. Jacobus tenBroek conceived of this organization as a vehicle enabling blind people to speak out on issues of concern to them. It was his call to the blind in 1940 that resulted in a constitutional convention in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, at which he directed a handful of blind people representing seven states in the founding of the National Federation of the Blind.
For twenty-eight years, President tenBroek led the blind of this nation and the world. He taught us that through organization and collective action we can be equal partners in society. He taught us that blind people need not be wallflowers clinging to the periphery of life but that we should step out and step into the mainstream, walking the streets and byways with our heads high and spirits proud.
The speeches and documents written by Dr. tenBroek, which address the rights of the blind and disabled, are the foundation of the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind. As he traveled the length and breadth of this country and other nations, President tenBroek's following increased and young leaders emerged. When Jacobus tenBroek died in 1968, the torch passed to his protege Kenneth Jernigan, the leader of the new generation of informed blind Americans. Expanding the foundation that Dr. tenBroek built, Dr. Jernigan led the Federation's growth to a membership of more than 50,000 blind people.
The third generation has now assumed the leadership of the National Federation of the Blind. Under the presidency of Marc Maurer, a young attorney who grew up in Iowa, the organization continues to grow and mature. As it grows, the teachings of Jacobus tenBroek live on, and those of us who have come to the organization since the late 1960's still turn to his writings for strength and guidance.
In the last years of Dr. tenBroek's life he put much effort into organizing the blind of other nations. This very evening Dr. Jernigan and President Maurer cannot be with us because they are continuing Dr. tenBroek's efforts on behalf of the blind of the world. As the President of the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union, Dr. Jernigan is in Cairo attending the quadrennial meeting of the WBU, to which President Maurer is also a delegate.
No remarks about Dr. tenBroek would be complete without a word about his widow Hazel, who has devoted more than fifty years of her life to improving the lives of blind Americans. During the twenty-four years since Dr. tenBroek's death, Hazel has worked diligently to promote the organization she helped her beloved husband found. During these years she has continued to honor their partnership and has kept the faith they shared. We affectionately call her "Mrs. T". She is a leader in her own right and, to me, a wonderful personal friend. Mrs. T's favorite evening activity is to invite as many Federation members for dinner as the dining room table will accommodate and to discuss the current work of the NFB. Of course, the evening is never complete without a story or two about Chick and the Shasta Road house.
The blind are an emerging minority, and the National Federation of the Blind has led the way in our quest for first- class citizenship. With conviction and the will to carry on, we go forward in our march with the Federation song on our lips: "tenBroek has sounded trumpet which shall never sound retreat; We have sifted out the hearts of blind before our Judgment Seat; Oh, be swift all blind to answer and be jubilant your feet; Our Cause goes marching on."
Those were the remarks that Sharon Gold made at the tribute dinner for Dr. tenBroek. When she delivered her annual report to the 1992 convention of the National Federation of the Blind of California on November 7, she attempted to capture the spirit of the dinner for her hearers. Here are excerpts from her report:
To the members of the National Federation of the Blind, Jacobus tenBroek's life and leadership were profound. Dr. tenBroek conceived of a national movement of blind people that would be self-directed and would establish the right of blind people to determine their own destiny. He led blind people to form the NFB at a time when the blind were virtually barred from the mainstream of community life. Because of his wisdom and foresight, we are assembled here today to share our ideas and ideals through the 1992 Convention of the National Federation of the Blind of California.
Jacobus tenBroek was a great American. He was a constitutional lawyer, a renowned author, a respected teacher, and professional colleague. For twenty-five years Dr. tenBroek was a member of the faculty of the Speech and Political Science Departments at the University of California at Berkeley. He also served a term as chairman of the Speech Department.
Last Friday evening, October 30, a testimonial gathering was held in San Francisco by Dr. tenBroek's former students. These men and women traveled from near and far to honor and pay tribute to the University professor who taught them more than Speech 1A. Not only did Dr. tenBroek have a profound influence on the lives of his fellow blind, he also had a profound influence on the lives of his university students, many of whom have gone on to become noted lawyers, university professors and deans, lawmakers, state appellate justices, California Supreme Court Justices, and a U.S. Commissioner of Immigration.
Dr. tenBroek died in 1968. Now, twenty-four years later, over one hundred fifty of his former students gathered to celebrate the influence that this great man had on their lives. Frank D. Winston, a San Francisco immigration attorney and one of the organizers of the tenBroek Tribute Dinner, was the master of ceremonies for the event. Mr. Winston said of Dr. tenBroek, "There are an incredible number of people on whom he had an impact. In many cases he is the only professor they remember from their entire college careers."
In his opening remarks Mr. Winston said in part, "In the 1930's, when Jacobus tenBroek first applied to teach at the University, he was denied that privilege, as he was later at other schools and universities. We know of his scholarliness and his intensity. But he threatened the university, not with a lawsuit, but with his very style by saying, `I will teach for free; and at the end of the semester, if you are convinced that a blind professor cannot operate, then you fire me.' He later became chairman of that same department that didn't wish to hire him. It's because of that fortitude that we are here tonight."
During the evening's program one of the committee members roamed through the crowd with a portable microphone. Former students stood and spoke from their hearts about the life and teachings of Professor tenBroek and how he touched their lives and careers.
One of Dr. tenBroek's students said, "I have extremely fond memories, memories of awe of Jacobus tenBroek--the ability he had to open up, make you think, make you read, substitute reason for bias and prejudice. I am very pleased that I was asked to come here tonight to remember this great man. He played a great, great part in my life."
Another student posed the question, "What kind of an affair is this?" He then responded with his own answer, "I'll tell you one thing it is. It's a tremendous joy and pleasure to know that so many of us have come together simply to celebrate the fact that this great man touched our lives. I think we ought to give a lot of applause to the people who took time to organize this event this evening."
Another of Dr. tenBroek's former students chose to attend the tenBroek Tribute Dinner even though he was celebrating the conclusion of twenty-five years of directing the Continuing Education at Bar of the University of California Extension Service. He said, "Even though it is my retirement day, my last day, I'm going to share it with the people who took tenBroek, as I did."
Yet another student said, "I think tenBroek touched all our lives, and, as has been noted, many of us have probably been influenced by him more than anyone else we had in college. It reminds me of some lines from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, `The Psalm of Life.' It goes like this:
Lives of great men all
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time.
I think tenBroek left great footprints."
Dr. Jernigan has said of Dr. tenBroek that so much a part of Dr. tenBroek's life was the National Federation of the Blind that you cannot separate the man from the movement or the movement from the man. Although they did not say it like this, throughout the Tribute Dinner, the statements of Dr. tenBroek's former students reflected the sentiment that you cannot separate the man from his teaching or the teachings from the man. The students came to celebrate the greatness of Jacobus tenBroek. Because he was a blind man and the founder and first leader of the National Federation of the Blind, Dr. tenBroek's students could not pay tribute to their teacher and mentor without bringing honor to the National Federation of the Blind. Thus these wonderful students advanced the cause of blindness and touched each of our lives and the lives of all blind people to follow us by every testimonial word they said.
[PHOTO: The tenBroek family seated on a sofa looking at a photo album. CAPTION: This family portrait was taken in 1958. Young Jacobus (Dutch) was thirteen, Anna was ten, and Nick was five. The family are seated in the lower section of the large living room in the Shasta Road house.]
[PHOTO: Dr. tenBroek embraces his son Nicolaas. CAPTION: Dr. tenBroek and Nicolaas.]
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Dr. tenBroek repairs the children's scooter while Anna and Nick look on.]
That is the way Sharon Gold assessed the significance of the tenBroek testimonial dinner. In mid-January the videotape recording of the event became available, and it was clear to everyone who saw it that Miss Gold had been correct when she said that in her report she had only quoted a few of the many moving anecdotes and testimonials. It seemed unfair to deny Monitor readers the pleasure of sharing a number more of the evening's highlights. Therefore, what follow are summaries and transcriptions of many more comments and reminiscences:
Frank Winston, the writer of the magazine article printed earlier, served as the evening's master of ceremonies. A few minutes after the dinner began, he directed the attention of the audience to the back of the room, where apparently the hapless Greenwood of Winston's Cal Monthly reminiscence was to be seen slipping in late. Then followed a tenBroekian interrogation about the scheduled time of the dinner, the current time, and the clock by which the time was to be determined. It was clear that everyone in the group recognized the style of the interchange, and it set the tone of the evening.
After Dr. Jernigan's remarks had been played, Mr. Winston pointed out that it was fitting that this dinner was taking place in 1992 since the previous July the Americans with Disabilities Act had begun protecting an even broader group of disabled citizens. He went on to say that the commentary on the Act and the Congressional testimony all reached back to the language of advocacy that Dr. tenBroek's students remember and recognize from his advocacy of the blind in the forties and fifties. Reading the history of what followed, Mr. Winston continued, shows clearly that Dr. tenBroek's thought translated into advocacy, not only for all those with physical and mental disabilities, but for everyone who is disadvantaged. When the civil rights movement gathered force and power in the sixties and seventies, its theme and leadership style were based on that which Dr. tenBroek's students had observed in him in the fifties. "His messages of those early years are vibrant in society today."
One of the guests reported that he had worked as a reader for one of Dr. tenBroek's colleagues in the Speech Department. One day the professor mentioned that Dr. tenBroek was going to build a retaining wall on his property the following weekend and that he supposed he would be a good guy and volunteer to help him. On Monday morning the student inquired about how the building project had gone. The professor's answer was short and very much to the point: "I got a hell of a lesson in how to build a retaining wall."
The speaker went on to say: "When I took Speech 1A, I didn't know what to expect--whether it was going to be a class in rhetoric or how to stand up and give a speech. I found out it was a course in how to think. Like most freshmen I was a slate upon which nothing had been written when I entered college, and he [Dr. tenBroek] wrote very rapidly and very well."
A theme running through the comments was the speakers' awe at Dr. tenBroek's ability to make them think and to seize on an argument opposing their own in order to stretch their minds. One speaker described a five-minute speech that he gave in support of national health insurance. He presented his argument, annihilated the opposing points of view, and concluded with the statement, "National health insurance is as American as apple pie and needed more." Dr. tenBroek, a man of Dutch ancestry, immediately shot back, "Who told you that apple pie was American?"
One man pointed out that in his Speech 1A class a fellow student turned up a copy of Dr. tenBroek's book The Anti-Slavery Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment and began using tenBroek's arguments to bolster his own positions in class discussions. The speaker reported that it made no difference; Dr. tenBroek still destroyed his arguments.
Several people spoke of Dr. tenBroek's great humanity. One speaker remembered a day when he and another student were both late for class. He was running for student government office at the time and was under a great deal of pressure as a result. When the students arrived, Dr. tenBroek began needling the other student in his accustomed way. The student responded by pointing out that he was not the only one late that day. Dr. tenBroek immediately shot back, "I don't see your name as anybody running for public office." And Mrs. tenBroek remembered a time when her husband learned that one of his students was going to lose a much-needed scholarship to medical school because he had earned a B in Speech. When he learned about the problem, Dr. tenBroek said, "He's going to be a fine doctor some day; his grades show that. Why should I hold him back?" So he changed the grade to an A.
Another man remembered an incident during a tenBroek class in which a young woman, who appeared to be attending college solely in order to find a husband, timidly spoke her name in the discussion one day. She had never made a contribution before, partly because she was unsure of herself in the academic rough and tumble of the class and partly because there were so many brash and self-assured students vying for the opportunity to speak. But Dr. tenBroek heard her voice and recognized her. Gently, with none of the needling that he reserved for most of the students, he drew out of her the ideas she had only half formed and helped her construct her thoughts and argument. The speaker concluded by saying, "I learned from that what it meant to be a great teacher, and I'm sure she did too."
A number of people in the audience were senior faculty members at universities across the country. Several spoke of Dr. tenBroek's impact on their own teaching. Frank Winston mentioned that Dr. tenBroek's students were required to say their own names when they were seeking recognition. Since Dr. tenBroek was blind, this seemed a reasonable accommodation. But Winston makes the same demand on his students today because he has found that it encourages oral participation much more effectively than hand- raising does.
Dr. Stanley Lyman, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern Florida, told with much gusto the story of his first teaching job. He was twenty-two and a new graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He had never studied with Professor tenBroek, but he was told by another member of the Speech faculty to go see tenBroek because he was prepared to offer Lyman a job as a lecturer in the Speech Department. He was very nervous during the interview and hesitantly asked what text book he would be expected to use in teaching Speech 1A and 1B. Dr. tenBroek tossed him a mimeographed booklet and said, "Use this." It was a collection of Supreme Court cases: Yick Wo v. Hopkins, Buck v. Bell, Korematsu v. the United States, and others.
Dr. Lyman said, "Dr. tenBroek, I've never even had a course in Constitutional Law. My B.A. is in sociology."
And Dr. tenBroek said, "Lyman, can you read?"
"Yes, sir," Lyman said.
"Good," Dr. tenBroek said. "I'm pleased to learn that. You take this book of cases home, and you read them. Next week you'll start teaching, and five weeks from now I'll come sit in your class, and if you're no good, I'll fire you. Have we got a deal?"
Dr. Lyman went home and spent a difficult weekend poring over the book, but Monday morning he began teaching. Five weeks later, to the day, Dr. tenBroek was there, sitting in the rear of the classroom. Lyman said, "I knew there was one rule: there was to be no lecturing in Speech 1A. The professor was to conduct a Socratic dialogue.... You were to get the answer out of the students. I was pouring sweat and asking questions."
At the end of the class Dr. tenBroek suggested that they walk back to his office together. As they were walking, Dr. tenBroek said, "Well you're all right, Lyman. You've got just one problem: you are standing too close to the front seats in the room." Lyman was astounded that Dr. tenBroek knew where he had been standing. Dr. tenBroek then explained that he had noticed that he was getting good discussion in response to his questions but only from the people in the front half of the room. He himself had had some difficulty hearing what Lyman was saying, so he concluded that he had been standing close to the front desks. He suggested that from then on Lyman stand with his back against the blackboard so that he would remember to throw his voice to the rear of the room.
One speaker said that Dr. tenBroek did more than use the Socratic method to teach his students that they could employ their intellects to explore both sides of a question. To them he was almost the embodiment of Socrates. The attorney who made this point most clearly went on to tell a story about a classmate of his who was always the first to shout out his own name for recognition. One day, when Dr. tenBroek had called on the young man, he said with great conviction, "Well, Dr. tenBroek, the answer to that question would require a value judgment."
After a brief silence Dr. tenBroek answered, "Phillips, don't you know that the most important judgments you will make in life are value judgments?" The speaker went on: "There was absolute silence in the room. It was the first time that Dr. tenBroek had told us that the content of our lives and of our decisions and of what we really thought was actually more important than the argumentation we were learning in his class. It's true, lawyers argue both sides, but the most important thing that a lawyer can do is to make his or her own value judgments. This was one of Dr. tenBroek's legacies, and I wanted to pass it on this evening."
One member of the audience had brought his wife and his son. Like seven other offspring of tenBroek students, the boy was named Jacobus tenBroek. After paying tribute to his former teacher as the man who had taught him to think and who had first persuaded him that there are more important things in life than having fun, he related the following recollection: "People have mentioned his academic prowess, but he was also an incredible advocate. I remember sitting in the hallway in Wheeler Auditorium when the December resolutions were being discussed in support of the Free Speech Movement [at Berkeley in the early sixties]. We [the students] couldn't go inside the Academic Senate, but we could sit on the outside and listen to that debate. Lo and behold, our beloved Professor tenBroek was leading the floor debates on behalf of the resolution that would have supported the students. We saw him in a much different role, not talking academically about the importance of the First Amendment, but in life, on the floor, as an advocate conducting that debate. The man was absolutely awesome. I would never want to face an advocate like Professor tenBroek in a court room. I doubt if any of us could go toe to toe with him. He wasn't just an academic in the academic setup; he was also on the street with the students.
"One of the lasting impressions I have of him is--certainly that great demeanor he had and how erect he was--standing on the corner of Telegraph and Bancroft after all the kids had been arrested in the Free Speech Movement. He was about to go down to Berkeley Municipal Court to make an argument that all the charges should be dismissed in the interest of justice. He stood there, a very tall man on a little riser, making his argument about why it was unjust and in conflict with the First Amendment to proceed with those prosecutions. I learned a lot from him about the First Amendment, that it wasn't just a sterile document; it was something to be lived and fought for among professors and on the streets of the country. The other thing I learned from him was how important the Fourteenth Amendment was, and the true meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. I have since become a civil rights attorney, and I feel that in a small way my life is dedicated to what I learned from him about the importance of equality in the Constitution and how hard it is to obtain that equality. The lessons all derive from Jacobus tenBroek.... I learned a lot of lessons from him, and my life would not be what it has been without having had the wonderful opportunity to meet this truly incredible man."
A woman who had been Dr. tenBroek's student in a constitutional law class during the early forties recalled the time when she saw his passion break through his professorial calm. The class was discussing welfare, and the students were "spouting our own attitudes which we had picked up from the popular press." She noticed that Dr. tenBroek's face was growing redder and redder until he finally exploded, "Poverty is not a crime!"
She went on, "That burned into my mind; I have never forgotten it, and I think that more than anything else it has helped to guide my life."
An attorney with a particularly distinguished legal career stood to make a confession of what he had learned from Dr. tenBroek about ethics. In 1962, while he was in law school, he received a call from Dr. tenBroek offering him a job as reader. The preceding day another professor had also offered him a job as a course reader. The student told Dr. tenBroek that he had to call the other man "because we had kind of a tentative agreement. I need to talk to him, and then I'll get back to you." Dr. tenBroek inquired what he meant by using the word "tentative." The student stammered that he was sure that the other professor would understand.
Dr. tenBroek said with great firmness, "Well I understand. You're in law school now?"
"Do you know what an offer is?"
"Well it's withdrawn."
One man invited the audience to remember their dismay upon being told that speeches in tenBroek classes could be no longer than five minutes. When the students protested about the limitation, Dr. tenBroek's response was, "There is no subject on Earth about which any of you knows enough to speak for more than five minutes."
The final speaker of the evening was Fred Korematsu, whose case (Korematsu v. the United States) went to the Supreme Court in 1944. He had resisted the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War, but he lost the case. In 1954 Dr. tenBroek wrote a book, Prejudice, War, and the Constitution, which argued powerfully that the First Amendment rights of Japanese Americans had been trampled by the mass internment and that the decision of the Supreme Court had been in error. As everyone now knows, the case was retried several years ago, and this time Fred Korematsu won. Everyone who referred to this case during the testimonial dinner acknowledged what is commonly recognized in legal circles: that Dr. tenBroek's book had irrevocably altered the way in which the legal world views Korematsu v. the United States and was the direct cause of the reversal in the Supreme Court's decision.
So the evening ended. It would be well for all of us to recognize the importance of what Dr. tenBroek's former students have taught us. The founder of the National Federation of the Blind made contributions to the world far beyond his work in the organized blind movement. His influence is still being felt as a force in legal thought today. His students recollect and pass on the principles and habits of thought that he taught them, just as we do, and his wisdom, integrity, and clarity of vision will continue to change the world in the coming century, not only in the field of work with the blind, but in the entire sweep of American society.
But perhaps the most fitting way to conclude this tribute to Jacobus tenBroek is to quote a poem written by his granddaughter Kelly after she visited her two grandmothers last year and read at the dinner by her father Dutch tenBroek. The family went to the cemetery in which Dr. tenBroek is buried, and this is the poem she wrote. It expresses a sentiment that is true for all of us:
was amongst the many,
And I had to help search for it.
There it was, looking out across the valley,
the bay, and the trees.
I could feel the wind rushing through my hair
As I looked at the overwhelming sight.
There he has rested for twenty-four years.
As I looked at the worn-away Braille,
The tears came flowing into my eyes and would not stop,
For this man I've never known was a large part of my life.
He is more a part of me than I have ever known.
[PHOTO: Daryel White standing at podium microphone. CAPTION: Daryel White.]
EARNING OUR DAILY BREAD: THE BLIND IN AUTO BODY REPAIR
by Daryel White
From the Associate Editor: Some of the most lively, interesting, and inspirational agenda items at our national conventions are the presentations made by our own members who are earning their daily bread in occupations that many people would think closed to blind employees. At the 1992 convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, one young man captivated the audience with his story of returning to auto body repair after he became blind. Now meet Daryel White, vice president of the St. Louis County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri and a first-rate employee at Marty's Body Works:
I'm proud to be here today to tell you a little bit about what I do to earn my daily bread. I'll begin by telling you where I was and how I got to where I am today.
I'm from St. Louis, Missouri. Approximately five years ago I lost my eyesight. For about six months I sat and thought I was never going to amount to anything in life. A rehab counselor came to my home, and by the time he left I was even more convinced that I had no future. Then about six months later a rehabilitation teacher knocked on my door. I said, "Who are you?" It had been about six months since the rehab counselor had come, and here she was. She asked me a few questions, which I answered. She said to me, "What did your rehab counselor tell you?"
I said, "Well, he looked at me and said I wasn't going to do anything with my life but be what I call a housewife." At that time I didn't know any different. I had just lost my sight, and I thought maybe that's all I could ever be. This bright young lady really impressed me when she first came into my home. She showed me how to do things that I didn't think I could do, but more than anything else, she told me something I could hardly believe: she said that I could do whatever I wanted to--that I could do what I had done before I became blind.
This lady's name was Patty Page. She introduced me to her brother, a man who has taken me as far as I can go in making my life better. His name is Homer Page, and he is president of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and one of the Boulder County Commissioners. I went to meet him while he was visiting at his sister's home. I'll remember this till the day I die; we were sitting at his sister's table, and he asked me what I wanted in life. I told him that I wanted to do what I had been doing when I was sighted--have my own home, have my own job, and live as I was then. He looked at me and said, "You will have that."
I said "o.k." But in my mind I thought, "Well, this guy's really lost it."
He went over to the phone and made a call to a lady who in my heart has really become like my mother.
I first met her in Denver when I came off the plane from St. Louis. I could hardly even walk. I mean I had hold of this stewardess like she was my savior! When I got into the gate area, this woman came up to me and said her name was Diane McGeorge. Then she took me with her--here I am, totally blind, and she says, "I'll take you to get your luggage." And she was totally blind. I thought to myself, "This lady's lost it too!" But I hung on to her because I was frightened. We got the luggage and went to her home, and then I went to the apartments for students at the Colorado Center for the Blind. Diane McGeorge and Homer Page had managed to enroll me as a student at the Center.
From that moment on I began building my confidence. I learned how to travel. I had had a cane, but I couldn't even find my feet! The staff helped me with cane travel, Braille, and self- confidence. They also introduced me to the organization that is really my support and backbone today--the National Federation of the Blind.
I spent about ten months in Colorado, and toward the end I made some phone calls looking for a job. Even on the day I graduated from the CCB, I made a couple of phone calls and got turned down. But eventually I got lucky with Marty's Body Works, which is in St. Louis, Missouri. I do auto repair, paint cars, and put fenders and doors on. I even do welding.
Now I want to tell you a little story. When I came back from the Colorado Center for the Blind, my confidence level was taller than the highest building that was ever built, so my first job with the public's eye on me was a hard one. I went to work for Marty's Body Works two weeks after I got back from Denver, Colorado.
There's a man named Charlie Collins who owns a big diesel shop in St. Louis. He wrecked his brand new pick-up truck in a front end collision. He had it towed to Marty's. He looked at Marty and he looked at me. Then he said, "I do not, do not want that blind man to work on my truck!" Marty looked at me and kind of smiled, and Charlie went on home.
Then Marty said, "Daryel, you're going to do that job." So I brought the truck in and did the job. I put it all together and painted it. I mean, I did a superb job. There was nothing wrong with that truck when I got done.
When Charlie came back to pick it up, Marty told him, "Charlie, I don't want you to pay for that job right now. I know how you are; I've done work for you before. You take the truck back to your shop. I want you to check it over just as close as you can for fender and hood gaps." (These gaps are the distance between the pieces of the car you build or rebuild.) He said, "I want you to bring it back tomorrow and tell me if you find anything wrong."
So Charlie took it to his shop, and he brought it back the next day. He said, "Marty, that's the most fantastic job I've ever seen!"
Marty looked at him, and he looked at me. Then he told Charlie right there, "That is what a blind man can do."
Charlie owns two eighteen-wheelers over the road. About two weeks later he wrecked one of his eighteen-wheelers. He brought it back to Marty's, and do you know what his first words were? "Let that blind man work on my truck."
I want everyone to know one thing: I thank you for the support of the NFB, of all you people who are listening to me and holding this organization together. People like Dr. Jernigan, President Maurer, Diane McGeorge, and Homer Page are the ones that really have made me the person I am today. I think we all can do it, don't you? Thank you.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Dennis Groshel.]
VICTORY IN THE DENNIS GROSHEL CASE
by Marc Maurer
The National Federation of the Blind has always stood as the only truly effective protector of the rights of blind vendors. We have advised and advocated, served on arbitration panels, and fought for legislative reform; and when necessary, we have gone to court to battle for the justice that vendors deserve. The organized blind of America recognize that what is good for blind vendors will benefit all blind people, and the National Federation of the Blind has always been dedicated to improving the lives of all blind people.
In October of 1992 a landmark decision in Federal District Court came down that has sweeping implications for blind vendors. It was an unqualified victory in the Dennis Groshel case, and it is important for all of us to understand what was accomplished.
In July, 1987, the Groshel case made its first appearance in Federal Court. It was not an ideal time for such a case because the judicial climate was particularly unfavorable. In 1985, the American Council of the Blind--through its vendors' group The Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America--joined by the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind, charged precipitately into Federal Court. The action, ineffectively and untimely brought, was against the Defense Department which had sought to contract with fast-food chains for service at military installations. The point of the litigation, to assert the priority for blind vendors, was in order, but use of the federal courts as the first avenue of appeal proved both dangerous and ineffective. The Defense Department contended that the priority provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act did not prohibit competition by fast-food chains, and the district court, where the case was originally brought, agreed. The potential blow to blind vendors was severe, and the Federation mounted an appeal.
Fortunately for the entire blind vendor program, we were successful. In June of 1986 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed the district court decision and declared that the issue concerning fast-food chains at military bases should have been considered first by a three- member arbitration panel as the law requires. This is precisely the position which the National Federation of the Blind had taken before the court in filing an effective amicus curiae. With the briefs in hand the court concluded as we did that the suit against the Department of Defense should never have been brought in the first place and that the arbitration procedures contained in the Randolph-Sheppard Act were to be used before recourse to the courts. In reaching this conclusion the court found that the previous decision was in error, and the effect of this ruling saved the blind vendor priority on federal property. Competition from fast-food chains or any other commercial enterprise would be subject to the arbitration procedures and could be challenged by any state agency.
Then in 1986 the Department of Veterans Affairs made a new attack upon the blind vendor priority. At that time there were one hundred and seventy-two hospitals and homes operated by the Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs). Food service at each of these sites has been provided by the Veterans' Canteen Service. The Veterans Canteen Service had allowed a blind vendor to conduct business at only one of these sites--the Medical Center for Veterans in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
In 1986 Dennis Groshel was the vendor at that location. He was licensed by the Minnesota Department of Jobs and Training. The Department of Jobs and Training is the state licensing agency for blind vendors in Minnesota operating under the federal Randolph-Sheppard Act. The Department was rightfully concerned that Dennis Groshel had been required to pay the Veterans' Canteen Service a commission of approximately seventeen percent of his gross sales, cutting his net profit (the amount which Dennis Groshel actually received from the business) approximately in half.
With the urging of the National Federation of the Blind, Minnesota state officials vowed to remedy this situation. Their first step was to request a commission-free "permit" to maintain a vending facility at the St. Cloud Medical Center. The facility had been operated under a "contract" between the Veterans' Canteen Service and the state. The contract required commission payments. Also, the contract expired periodically and was scheduled to expire in 1987. A permit, issued by a federal agency for vending facility service to be provided under the Randolph- Sheppard Act is permanent. So, the battle between the State of Minnesota and the Department of Veterans Affairs was joined when the state applied for a permit, free from a sales commission, and the Department of Veterans Affairs insisted upon having a contract and receiving a substantial share of the proceeds.
This is another instance where knowledge of the law and clear judgment in how to enforce it were essential. The wrong action could mean a decision which would threaten the priority for all blind vendors. In this respect the Minnesota case was evolving as another test of both will and competence in advancing the rights of blind vendors. But in this instance, as compared to the Department of Defense case, there was one important difference: The National Federation of the Blind.
The Minnesota state agency turned to us for advice. However, state officials were mindful of that fact that the Federation represented Dennis Groshel, the licensed blind vendor. His interests in the dispute with the Department of Veterans Affairs were arguably different from the state's interest, but we could still be allies in attempting to preserve the vending facility. Acting on our advice in early 1987, the state requested the convening of an arbitration panel--the very step which the American Council and its allies should have taken in the Defense Department case. Then, to protect Dennis Groshel during the unknown duration of the arbitration proceeding the Minnesota attorney general, with our urging, sought and obtained an injunction from the Federal Court that would prevent the Veterans' Canteen Service from removing Mr. Groshel from his location.
Meanwhile, the State of Minnesota also named James Gashel, Director of Governmental Affairs for the National Federation of the Blind, as its representative on the arbitration panel. Mr. Gashel is a nationally-recognized expert on Randolph-Sheppard matters. After due consideration the arbitration panel ruled in 1988 that no commission should be charged and that the interested parties should negotiate the remaining issues. But after prolonged efforts to resolve their differences, the two sides were forced to admit that they were unable to settle the remaining issues, and the case went back to the arbitration panel.
Again the panel convened, heard testimony, and considered the issues. It all took time (by now it was late 1991), and during the almost four years that had elapsed Dennis Groshel had continued to manage his vending facility while paying no commission. He didn't have much job security, but because of the court order and the earlier arbitration panel decision that no commission on sales could be charged, his income was effectively doubled, as long as his facility remained open.
In August, 1991, the arbitration panel reached its final decision. The panel confirmed that the Randolph-Sheppard Act priority applies to the hospitals and homes of the Department of Veterans Affairs just as much as it does to any other federal property. Following that premise the panel directed that the state (and, by implication, Dennis Groshel) had a continuing right to a vending facility at the St. Cloud Medical Center. Also, by implication, the same would be true for any other similar facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs. That was the good news, but surprisingly two members of the panel agreed with the position of the Department of Veterans Affairs, finding that a sales commission of seventeen percent to be charged against the gross proceeds of a blind vendor was acceptable. Mr. Gashel filed a strong dissent to this portion of the decision which was published as part of the arbitration panel's opinion. Nonetheless, he was in the minority.
Fortunately because of the same panel's earlier rulings Dennis Groshel had been able to operate his vending facility without paying commissions since September, 1988. This status was now threatened, and the potential danger was real. However, unlike the case with the Defense Department, the legal groundwork had been carefully laid with compelling testimony from a blind vendor who stood to lose a substantial part of his livelihood. The arguments had been carefully thought through and articulated before the Federal Court was ever asked to hear the case. There had been a full arbitration of the dispute, and the panel had made the most important decision of all, finding that the Randolph-Sheppard Act applies. Its acceptance of a commission was a glaring inconsistency with this finding. It would now be up to the courts to uphold the Act and overturn the inconsistency.
This was the situation in the fall of 1991 shortly after the arbitration panel's ruling became effective. Here is what I said about the case in my report to the convention on Wednesday, July 1, 1992:
We continue to be active to protect the interests of blind vendors in the Randolph-Sheppard program. As Federationists know, Dennis Groshel is a blind vendor in Minnesota who operates a facility at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in St. Cloud. The income from this facility is about $30,000 a year. The Department of Veterans Affairs first argued that Dennis should not be permitted to have a vending facility at the VA Hospital at all, but the arbitration panel convened to hear the case ruled against them. However, the VA asked that it be paid a commission amounting to seventeen percent of the gross receipts from the vending facility (about $15,000, or half of the profit). The arbitration panel erroneously granted this request, so we are helping with an appeal.
The Dennis Groshel arbitration is, to say the least, quite unusual. The vending facility in question is operated by Dennis Groshel; the money being taken is the income of Dennis Groshel; and the person who reports to work is Dennis Groshel. It seemed only reasonable that one of the parties in the case should be Dennis Groshel. However, the lawyer for the Department of Veterans Affairs has tried to keep him out. But this is simply not fair. We are helping Dennis intervene in his own case. He will be involved, and we intend to help him keep the money that is rightfully his under the law. Incidentally, all other vendors should take note, for this case has implications for every one of them throughout the nation.
That is what I reported at the 1992 convention of the National Federation of the Blind, and we were as good as our word. The National Federation of the Blind filed an amicus brief which supported the position taken by the state of Minnesota, and we represented Dennis Groshel, enabling him to enter the case as the plaintiff-intervenor. The case went to the United States District Court in September and was heard by Judge Harry H. MacLaughlin, who rendered his decision on October 13, 1992.
The judge's opinion completely vindicated Dennis Groshel's position: a veterans hospital was found to be an appropriate location for a Randolph-Sheppard facility. This means that all veterans hospitals and homes across the country can have Randolph-Sheppard vending facilities. Moreover, the permit application and approval procedure normally employed to establish Randolph-Sheppard facilities other than cafeterias was found to be the appropriate instrument for use in establishing a Randolph- Sheppard food service facility in a veterans medical center. The Veterans' Canteen Service's demand for a seventeen percent commission on sales--or, for that matter, any commission at all-- was found to be inappropriate. The Groshel decision is of critical importance to blind vendors across the country and to all who work to protect their right to earn a reasonable living in food-service facilities under the Randolph-Sheppard Program. The decision is so significant and potentially far-reaching that we are reprinting it in its entirety so that those who need to understand Judge MacLaughlin's well-reasoned opinion will have it at their finger tips. Here it is:
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff's and plaintiff-intervenor's motions for summary judgment, defendants' motion for summary judgment against plaintiff, and defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint of plaintiff-intervenor.
In this action the State of Minnesota, on behalf of the Department of Jobs and Training, State Services for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (DJT) appeals from a decision of an arbitration panel convened under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, 20 U.S.C. 107 et seq. The action arises out of the relationship between the DJT and the Veterans' Canteen Service (VCS), which is a department within the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In April 1977, following a competitive bidding process, the DJT entered into a contract with the VCS under which the DJT would provide vending services at the VA Medical Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The contract, which was renewed for four consecutive one-year terms, provided that the DJT would pay the VCS commissions on sales from the vending facility. In April 1982, again following a competitive bidding process, the DJT and the VCS entered into another contract for the provision of vending services at the medical center. That agreement was also renewed for four consecutive one-year terms and provided that the DJT would pay the VCS a commission of approximately 17 1/2 percent on vending sales.I 1
The DJT in turn subcontracted with blind vendors to operate the vending facility.2 Since 1985 the subcontractor has been Dennis Groshel, the plaintiff-intervenor in this action.3 The DJT operates other vending facilities on federal property in addition to the one at the medical center. The other facilities, however, are not operated under contract, but under permits acquired by the DJT under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, which authorizes blind persons who are licensed by an appropriate state agency to operate vending facilities on federal property. Where the DJT operates vending facilities under Randolph-Sheppard permits, it does not pay commissions to the federal agency on whose property the facility is located.
In 1979 the DJT raised the issue of whether the vending facility at the medical center fell within the provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act; despite its questions, however, the DJT continued to operate the facility under contract with the VCS. When it came time to renegotiate the contract in June 1986, the DJT took the position that the medical center's vending facility was governed by the act. Rather than renegotiate the contract, the DJT applied for a permit to operate the facility in accordance with the procedure set forth in the regulations governing the Randolph-Sheppard Act.4 The VCS denied the permit application on the grounds that the VCS was exempt from the Randolph-Sheppard Act.5
Pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 107d-1(b), the DJT filed a complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Education (DOE), alleging that in denying the permit application, the VCS had failed to comply with the provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act.II 6 The Secretary convened a three-member arbitration panel to resolve the dispute, in accordance with 20 U.S.C. 107d-2. In September 1988 the panel held that the VCS was not exempt from the Randolph-Sheppard Act and ordered the parties to negotiate an arrangement under which the DJT could continue to operate the vending facility at the medical center. Because the parties were unable to negotiate such an arrangement, the arbitration panel was reconvened. In August 1991 the panel held, with one dissent, that the normal permit application and approval process did not apply to the relationship between the DJT and the VCS, that the DJT should pay the VCS a commission of seventeen percent on the gross sales of the vending facility, and that the arrangement should be for a five-year term subject to renegotiation.III
Plaintiff filed this action, seeking review of the panel's decision under 20 U.S.C. 107d-2(a). Plaintiff and defendants have made cross-motions for summary judgment. In addition, defendants move to dismiss the plaintiff-intervenor's complaint for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, and plaintiff-intervenor moves for summary judgment on his claims.
A movant is not entitled to summary judgment unless the movant can show that no genuine issue exists as to any material fact.7 In considering a summary judgment motion, a court must determine whether "there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party."8 The role of a court is not to weigh the evidence but instead to determine whether, as a matter of law, a genuine factual conflict exists.9 "In making this determination, the court is required to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and to give that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences to be drawn from the facts."10 When a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported with affidavits or other evidence as provided in Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), then the nonmoving party may not merely rest upon the allegations or denials of the party's pleading, but must set forth specific facts, by affidavits or otherwise, showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.11 Moreover, summary judgment must be entered against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.12
I. Standard of Review
Decisions of an arbitration panel convened under the Randolph-Sheppard Act are reviewable as final agency actions under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 500, et seq. 20 U.S.C. 107d-2(a). The standard of review applicable to agency actions depends upon whether the challenged action rests upon factual findings or legal conclusions. Where, as here, a case is reviewed on the record of an agency hearing provided by statute, an agency's findings of fact must be upheld if they are supported by substantial evidence.13 Agency interpretations of statutes present questions of law that are normally subject to de novo review; however, where an agency has been given authority to interpret and administer the statutes in question, the reviewing court must defer to the agency's interpretation, so long as the interpretation is a reasonable one.14
Plaintiff argues that in the instant case no deference is owed the legal conclusions of the arbitration panel. The Randolph-Sheppard Act mandates that, where a panel is convened to hear complaints raised by a state licensing agency, the panel must consist of one individual designated by the state agency, one individual designated by the federal agency controlling the property over which the dispute arose, and one individual jointly designated by the parties.15 Although the DOE is the agency authorized to interpret and administer the Randolph-Sheppard Act, it is not represented on the panel, has no input into the panel's decision, and does not review the panel's decision. Thus, plaintiff argues, the panel's legal conclusions are not entitled to deference.
In similar circumstances the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has held that an administrative decision maker's resolution of legal questions is owed no special deference.16 In Brock, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission vacated a citation against an employer for failure to provide a guardrail around an open-sided floor. The Secretary of Labor appealed the commission's action. In discussing the appropriate standard of review, the court noted that because the Secretary, not the commission, exercised policy-making and prosecutorial authority under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the commission's legal conclusions were not entitled to deference. Moreover, the Third Circuit has held that review of a panel's decisions under 20 U.S.C. 107d-2(a) is plenary and that the arbitrators are owed no deference on questions of law.17 Because the arbitration panel is not the entity charged with interpreting and administering the Randolph-Sheppard Act, the Court will review the questions of law presented in this appeal de novo.
II. The Statutory and Administrative Background
The arguments in this case are based on two federal acts, the Randolph-Sheppard Act and the Veterans' Canteen Service Act, 38 U.S.C. 7801 et seq.
A. The Veterans' Canteen Service Act
The Veterans' Canteen Service Act created the VCS "for the primary purpose of making available to veterans of the Armed Forces who are hospitalized or domiciled in hospitals and homes of the [VA], at reasonable prices, articles of merchandise and services essential to their comfort and well-being."18 The Veterans' Canteen Service Act authorizes the Secretary of the VA to establish, maintain, and operate canteens in VA establishments; make and carry out all necessary contracts to purchase or sell merchandise, supplies and services; fix the prices of merchandise and services in canteens to carry out the purposes of the statute; and make the rules and regulations deemed necessary to effectuate the statute.19 The Act also provides that the VCS "shall function as an independent unit in the [VA] and shall have exclusive control over all its activities including sales; procurement and supply; finance, including disbursements; and personnel management...."20
The legislative history of the Veterans' Canteen Service Act indicates that Congress generally intended the VCS to be financially self-sustaining.21 Nonetheless, the act authorizes appropriations to the VCS.22 In addition, the act requires the VCS to submit a budget that includes an estimate of the amount required to make up any deficits in the operating fund.23
While the VCS is as a whole financially self-sustaining, many individual canteens operate at a loss; in fiscal year 1987, for example, sixty-six of one hundred seventy-two canteens suffered a net loss.24 The VCS uses revenues from competitively bid vending contracts to offset operating losses. Factors considered in awarding contracts are quality of product, quality of service, and commissions paid to the VCS.25 To assure quality products, the VCS uses a centralized product-screening system, which restricts the sale of products deemed to pose health and safety risks and limits the selection of brands available for sale.26 Some of the VCS health and safety requirements are more strict than those set by state law; for example, certain perishable foods, such as mayonnaise, cannot be sold in VCS vending facilities.27 The VCS also controls the price of the merchandise sold, taking into account the fact that VA patients are often indigent and the fact that VA patients and staff sometimes lack access to alternative sources of merchandise.28
B. The Randolph-Sheppard Act
The other federal act at issue in this case is the Randolph- Sheppard Act. As noted above, the Randolph-Sheppard Act authorizes blind persons licensed by state agencies to operate vending facilities on federal property. The Randolph-Sheppard Act was enacted "for the purposes of providing blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarging the economic opportunities of the blind, and stimulating the blind to greater efforts in striving to make themselves self-supporting."29 As originally enacted in 1936, the act provided that blind persons would be allowed to operate vending facilities at the discretion of the head of the department or agency in charge of maintaining a particular federal building.30 In 1954 Congress amended the act to require each agency to issue regulations designed to assure preference to licensed blind people in establishing vending facilities.31
Despite the 1954 amendments some agencies failed to carry out the purposes of the act. In some cases federal authorities resisted the initial establishment of blind vending facilities on federal property; in other cases federal authorities imposed harmful and arbitrary limitations on blind vendor operations regarding the types of merchandise sold, the location of the vending facilities, and the amount of income permitted to accrue to the blind vendor.32 To address these problems, Congress enacted several amendments to the Randolph-Sheppard Act in 1974.
First, Congress made the preference for blind vendors mandatory, providing that "[i]n authorizing the operation of vending facilities on Federal property, priority shall be given to blind persons licensed by a State agency as provided in this chapter...."33 (emphasis added). Second, the amendments established that income from vending machines on federal property, including those that are in direct competition with a blind vending facility, must accrue to the blind vendor operating the facility or to the state licensing agency in whose state the property is located.34 Congress specifically provided, however, that the income-sharing provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act would not apply to income from vending machines operated by the VCS.35
Finally, Congress removed the implementation of the Randolph-Sheppard Act from the control of each individual agency and placed regulatory control within the authority of the DOE. The act now requires the Secretary of the DOE, after consultation with those in control of the maintenance and operation of federal property, to promulgate regulations designed to insure that priority is given to licensed blind persons and that "wherever feasible, one or more vending facilities are established on all Federal property to the extent that any such facility or facilities would not adversely affect the interests of the United States."36 Any limitation on the placement or operation of vending facilities must be based on a finding that the placement or operation would adversely affect the interest of the United States and must be justified to and approved by the Secretary of the DOE.37
In implementing the provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act, the DOE defined "vending facility" broadly to include not only automated vending machines, but also "cafeterias, snack bars, cart service, shelters, counters, and such other appropriate auxiliary equipment which may be operated by blind licensees and which is necessary for the sale of...articles or services dispensed automatically or manually."38 The DOE then established two procedures by which blind vendors could obtain authorization to operate vending facilities on federal property.
Blind vendors may be afforded priority in the operation of cafeterias "when the Secretary determines, on an individual basis, and after consultation with the appropriate property managing department...that such operation can be provided at a reasonable cost, with food of a high quality comparable to that currently provided employees, whether by contract or otherwise."39 The regulations provide that, in order to establish the ability of blind vendors to operate the cafeteria, the state licensing agency may be invited to submit a bid which will be judged under criteria set forth in the regulations.40 Alternatively the federal agency in control of the property at issue may afford priority in cafeteria operations by negotiating directly with the state licensing agency.41
Authority to operate a vending facility other than a cafeteria is not conferred through a process of competitive bidding or contract negotiation, but is conferred through a permit application and approval process.42 Under that process a state licensing agency submits a permit application to the federal agency on whose property it proposes to operate a facility. The permit application must set forth the location and type of facility proposed, certain terms prescribed by the regulations, and the other terms and conditions that the state agency desires.43 If the federal agency disapproves the permit application, the head of the agency must give the state licensing agency written notice of the decision and the reasons underlying it.44 The state licensing agency may challenge the disapproval of a permit by filing a complaint with the Secretary of the DOE, as the DJT did in this case.45 Upon the filing of a complaint, the Secretary of the DOE convenes a panel of arbitrators to resolve the dispute, in accordance with 20 U.S.C. 107d-2.
III. The Application of the Randolph-Sheppard Act to the VCS
As noted above, the arbitration panel in this case concluded that the Randolph-Sheppard Act's mandatory priority for blind vendors applied to the VCS. That holding is not challenged on appeal. Plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor argue, however, that the panel did not follow its conclusion to its logical end by applying all requirements of the act and its accompanying regulations to the vending facility at the medical center. Specifically plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor challenge the panel's conclusions regarding the permit application and approval process, the duration of the permit, and the payment of commissions.
A. The Permit Application and Approval Process
The arbitration panel found that, while the Randolph- Sheppard Act priority requirement was normally met through the permit application and approval process, a negotiated arrangement could be substituted for that process in this case.46 Plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor argue that the arbitration panel's finding that the VCS is not exempt from the Randolph-Sheppard Act compels the conclusion that the VCS is subject to all the provisions of the act, including the regulations governing the permit process. Thus, they argue, the panel's determination that the parties should negotiate an agreement rather than follow the permit process applicable to vending facilities other than cafeterias is erroneous.
Defendants argue that negotiation between the DJT and the VCS is critical if the VCS is to fulfill its statutory mandate to provide high quality goods at reasonable prices to veterans hospitalized or domiciled in VA facilities. Defendants characterize plaintiff's position as requiring the VCS to give blanket approval to any permit the DJT drafts, even if it contains terms and conditions that undermine the VCS's statutory mission. Defendants argue that allowing a negotiated arrangement would not violate the terms of the Randolph-Sheppard Act, because the regulations define "permit" broadly as "the official approval given...by a department, agency, or instrumentality in control of the maintenance, operation, and protection of Federal property."47 That definition does not, in defendants' view, preclude a process of negotiation in the award of a permit.
Moreover, defendants point out that nothing in the language of the Randolph-Sheppard Act gives state licensing agencies the authority to dictate the terms of a permit, grants blind vendors an unqualified right to operate vending facilities, or strips the VCS of its authority to control vending facilities at VA hospitals. In short, defendants argue that the best way to harmonize the purposes of the Veterans' Canteen Service Act with those of the Randolph-Sheppard Act is to allow the parties to reach a negotiated agreement.
The Court agrees with plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor that the conclusion that the VCS is not exempt from the Randolph- Sheppard Act compels the conclusion that all provisions of the regulatory scheme apply to the parties' relationship. As noted above, section 107d-3(d) of the Randolph-Sheppard Act specifically exempts the VCS from the income-sharing provisions of the act; this limited exemption indicates that Congress considered the effects of the Randolph-Sheppard Act on the VCS and determined to exempt the VCS from only the income-sharing provisions. Once it is determined that the Randolph-Sheppard Act governs the relationship between the parties, it cannot be argued that only some of its requirements apply.
The regulations specifically set forth the process by which authority to operate vending facilities shall be conferred: authority to operate cafeterias is conferred through a competitive bidding process or through direct contract negotiations, while authority to operate facilities other than cafeterias is conferred through a permit process. Because the facility at issue in this case is not a cafeteria, authorization to operate it must be conferred through the permit process.
The Court rejects defendants' contention that applying the permit application and approval process to the parties' relationship will undermine the statutory mission of the VCS or strip the VCS of its authority over VA vending facilities. Nothing in the regulations requires the VCS to approve the DJT's permit; in fact, the regulations specifically give the VCS authority to disapprove a permit application.48 Nor do the regulations prohibit the parties from negotiating the terms of the permit, so long as the permit also includes the terms mandated by the regulations. Indeed the record shows that the parties have negotiated regarding the terms of the permit and that the DJT has been willing to modify the terms to meet the VCS's concerns regarding what products are appropriate for its patient population.49
The DJT's proposed permit does not give the DJT blanket authority to sell products without regard to the VCS's concerns. The proposed permit provides only for the sale of products that are already being offered for sale at the St. Cloud medical center and for other articles that "are determined by the State licensing agency, in consultation with the on-site official responsible for the Federal property...to be suitable for a particular location."50 In addition, the VCS's health and safety concerns are addressed in both the DJT's proposed permit and the regulations, which provide that the vending facilities must comply with all applicable health, sanitation, and building regulations.51
Finally, as the DJT points out, the Randolph-Sheppard Act provides a procedure by which a federal agency may limit a permit. The Randolph-Sheppard Act requires agencies to permit blind-operated vending facilities only insofar as the facility would not adversely affect the interests of the United States.52 The placement or operation of a vending facility may be limited if the Secretary of the DOE determines that the limitation is justified.53 Thus, if the DJT were to insist upon a permit term that is allowed under the Randolph-Sheppard Act but that the VCS finds inconsistent with its statutory purpose, the VCS could seek a determination from the Secretary of the DOE that a limitation of the permit is justified.
In conclusion, the Court finds that the determination that the VCS is subject to the Randolph-Sheppard Act compels the conclusion that it is subject to all provisions of the act and that the arbitration panel erred in concluding otherwise. Under the Randolph-Sheppard Act and its regulations, the authority to operate the medical center's vending facility must be conferred pursuant to the permit process. Such a holding does not strip the VCS of its authority to regulate the sale of goods at VA facilities, because the Randolph-Sheppard Act provides the VCS with a means to limit the permit. Therefore, the Court will grant the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on this issue.
B. The Duration of the Permit
Plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor also challenge the panel's conclusion that the agreement to operate the vending facility should be for a term of five years, subject to renegotiation. Plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor argue that the panel's conclusion directly conflicts with the regulations, which provide that permits to operate vending facilities "shall be issued for an indefinite period of time, subject to suspension or termination on the basis of compliance with agreed upon terms."54 Defendants argue that the five-year term is necessary to allow the VCS to conduct a periodic review of the agreement terms and to renegotiate those terms if necessary.
The Court has already concluded that the relationship between the DJT and the VCS is governed by permit and that the VCS is bound by all provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act, except those from which it has been exempted by Congress. Neither the Randolph-Sheppard Act nor its regulations exempt the VCS from the requirement that permits be of an indefinite duration. If, however, the VCS sees a need for renegotiation, it has two alternatives under the Randolph-Sheppard Act. It may either reach an agreement with the DJT to include in the permit a provision for periodic renegotiation of certain terms or, barring that, apply to the Secretary of the DOE to limit the permit under the procedure set forth in 20 U.S.C. 107(b). Because the regulations specifically provide that permits shall be for an indefinite term, the Court holds that the panel's determination that the agreement could be for a limited term is contrary to law.
C. The Payment of Commissions
The dispute about commissions is at the heart of this action. The arbitration panel determined that the DJT should pay the VCS commissions on vending sales and that a commission of seventeen percent was reasonable. Plaintiff and plaintiff- intervenor assert that the Randolph-Sheppard Act precludes the payment of commissions and that in any event a seventeen percent commission is unreasonable. Defendants assert that the Randolph- Sheppard Act does not preclude the payment of commissions, that the payment of commissions is necessary to carry out the purposes of the Veterans' Canteen Service Act, and that the panel correctly concluded that a commission of seventeen percent was reasonable.
1. Commission Payments under the Randolph-Sheppard Act
In arguing that the Randolph-Sheppard Act precludes the payment of commissions, plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor point out that the primary purpose of the 1974 amendments to the Randolph-Sheppard Act was to ensure that blind vendors could operate free from impediments imposed by federal agencies. One of the abuses identified in the legislative history of the amendments was the practice of diverting income from blind vendor facilities into employee recreation and welfare programs.55 The Senate report accompanying the amendments noted that Commanders of military installations are singularly insensitive to the need to develop the [blind vendor] program.... The parent Defense Department association at a major Federal space installation demanded that blind vendors give a portion of their income to the association--precisely the reverse of what should be taking place on Federal property.56
Plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor argue that Congress addressed the problem of diversion of funds through three statutory provisions. The first of these provisions is section 107(b), which provides that any limitation on the placement or operation of a vending facility must be based on a finding by the Secretary of the DOE that placement or operation of the facility would adversely affect the interests of the United States.57 The second provision is section 107d-3(a), which provides that "[n]o limitation shall be imposed on income from vending machines, combined to create a vending facility, which are maintained, serviced, or operated by a blind licensee."58 The third provision addressing income diversion is section 107b(3), which allows a state licensing agency to set aside funds from the net proceeds of a Randolph-Sheppard facility for five purposes: 1) maintenance and replacement of equipment, 2) purchase of new equipment, 3) management services, 4) assuring a fair minimum return to vending facility operators; and 5) funds for vendor benefits such as retirement, insurance, sick leave, and vacation time.59
Plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor argue that these provisions, together with the legislative history of the Randolph-Sheppard Act, establish that diversions of vendor income are prohibited unless they are for the narrow purposes set forth in section 107b(3). Any other diversion of income is in their view a limitation on the operation of a vending facility that must be justified to the Secretary of the DOE as necessary to prevent adverse effects on federal interests.
Defendants argue that the Randolph-Sheppard Act permits the payment of commissions. They first argue that the payment of commissions is not a limitation on the operation of a vending facility within the meaning of section 107(b). They rely on the legislative history of the 1974 amendments to argue that Congress was concerned with ad hoc limitations placed on blind vendors by employee recreational associations that operated without statutory authority, not with limitations imposed by another agency pursuant to that agency's own statutory authority.60
Defendants next argue that plaintiff and plaintiff- intervenor have read section 107d-3(a) out of context. Section 107d-3(a) sets up a system by which income from vending machines not operated by blind vendors is paid to the blind vendor or the appropriate state licensing agency. The section provides that, where the income is shared with a blind vendor rather than with the state agency, regulations may be prescribed to impose a ceiling on the income that an individual vendor may obtain from machines not operated by blind vendors. The section then provides that no limitation may be imposed on income from vending machines operated by a blind licensee.61 Thus, defendants argue that read in context, section 107d-3(a) merely prohibits the DOE from placing a ceiling on income earned by blind vendors from the operation of their own machines. They argue that in the instant case neither the VCS nor the DOE is placing a ceiling on the plaintiff-intervenor's income; the payment of commissions may reduce Groshel's income, but it does not place a limit on it.
Finally, defendants argue that section 107b(3) and 34 C.F.R. 395.9, which strictly limit the purposes for which a state licensing agency may set aside funds from a vending facility, are simply inapplicable to the case at hand. Defendants point out that the regulations define "set-aside funds" as "funds which accrue to a State licensing agency from an assessment against the net proceeds of each vending facility in the State's vending facility program...."62 Defendants argue that, because the commissions at issue here would accrue to the VCS and not to the state licensing agency, they are not "set-aside funds" and are not governed by 20 U.S.C. 107b(3) and 34 C.F.R. 395.9.
The question of whether the Randolph-Sheppard Act precludes the payment of commissions is a difficult one because, as defendants point out, nothing in the act or its accompanying regulations deals expressly with commission payments. Nonetheless, the Court concludes that requiring commission payments is a limitation on the operation of a vending facility which may not be imposed without authorization from the Secretary of the DOE.IV
The Randolph-Sheppard Act grants a mandatory priority to licensed blind vendors who wish to operate on federal property. While the right to operate a Randolph-Sheppard facility other than a cafeteria may be qualified by permit terms that are mandated by the regulations or negotiated by the parties, other limitations on the right are governed by section 107(b)'s requirement that limitations on the placement and operation of vending facilities be approved by the Secretary of the DOE. The Court is not persuaded by defendants' argument that Congress intended section 107(b) to apply only to the limitations placed on vending operations by employee associations operating without statutory authority. The legislative history does indicate that Congress was concerned with the diversion of funds from blind vendors to employee associations. But the legislative history also reveals Congressional concern with other practices that impeded the purposes of the act by impairing the financial viability of blind vendor operations, such as unfair limitations on the goods sold, the location of facilities, or the hours of operation.
The conclusion that Congress's concern was not limited to the diversion of income to employee associations is bolstered by the provisions of the act itself. The Randolph-Sheppard Act applies explicitly to all federal agencies (not merely to their employee associations) and subjects "[a]ny limitation on the placement and operation of a vending facility" to the oversight of the Secretary of the DOE.63 It is difficult to square this broad language with defendants' argument that "limitation" refers only to diversion of funds to employee associations.
In addition, the fact that the act limits the extent to which state licensing agencies may divert the proceeds of vending facilities is evidence that Congress was concerned with a broad variety of factors that could impair the effectiveness of the Randolph-Sheppard Act in providing a source of income to the blind. In section 107b(3) Congress provided a very specific list of purposes for which a state licensing agency could set aside funds from the proceeds of vending operations. Allowing the state to set aside funds from vending operations is an important part of the regulatory scheme, because under the Randolph-Sheppard Act the state licensing agencies obtain authorization to operate the vending facilities and then delegate that authorization to licensed blind vendors. Section 107b(3) allows the state agency to collect from the licensed vendor the funds needed to fulfill the state agency's obligations under its permit, as well as to ensure that the Randolph-Sheppard program achieves its statutory objectives. Under this scheme the state agency acts as a conduit, collecting money from the vendors and then redistributing it for the statutorily authorized purposes. Congress' failure to authorize state licensing agencies to set aside funds for commissions suggests strongly that Congress did not intend those commissions to be assessed. If the VCS were to assess the DJT a commission, section 107b(3) would preclude the DJT from collecting the fee from the blind vendor; in that case the DJT would not act as a conduit for funds or a facilitator of the Randolph-Sheppard program, but as the source of funds for that program. Nothing in the Randolph-Sheppard Act, however, contemplates that sort of role for the state.
Moreover, the Court is not persuaded by defendants' argument that because the commission payments ultimately accrue to the VCS's benefit, they differ fundamentally from the set-aside funds authorized in section 107b(3). Funds retained and expended for a statutorily authorized purpose such as replacing vending machines could be seen as ultimately accruing to the seller of the machines. Nonetheless, the regulations view funds set aside to replace vending machines as accruing to the benefit of the state licensing agency, because the funds allow the agency to provide the vending facilities that its permits require it to provide. In the Court's view funds set aside for commission payments would accrue to the benefit of the state agency in the same way that funds set aside for other authorized purposes do: they would allow the agency to meet the obligations imposed on it by its permits and the Randolph-Sheppard Act.
In summary, the provisions and legislative history of the Randolph-Sheppard Act indicate that the payment of commissions is a limitation on the operation of a vending facility that may not be imposed without authorization from the Secretary of the DOE. Thus, the Court holds that the arbitration panel erred in concluding that the VCS could charge the DJT commissions without such authorization.
2. Commission Payments under the Veterans' Canteen Service Act
Defendants argue that reading the Randolph-Sheppard Act to preclude the VCS from charging commissions is inconsistent with the provisions of the Veterans' Canteen Service Act. They base this argument on provisions in the Veterans' Canteen Service Act that authorize the VCS to "make all necessary contracts or agreements to purchase or sell merchandise, fixtures, equipment, supplies, and services...."64 The VCS has chosen to exercise its authority by providing vending services through contract. Consistent with Congress's intent that the VCS be self- sustaining, the VCS has used its vending service contracts to raise revenue by charging commissions. Reading the Randolph- Sheppard Act to preclude the VCS from collecting commissions from Randolph-Sheppard vending facilities would in defendants' view be tantamount to finding in the Randolph-Sheppard Act a silent repeal of the VCS's statutory authority. In addition, defendants argue that allowing state licensing agencies to operate vending facilities without paying commissions would deprive the VCS of needed revenue. That in turn would require the VCS to cut services, raise prices, or seek appropriations from Congress, any of which would undercut the VCS's statutory mission. Finally, defendants point out that the Veterans' Canteen Service Act provides that the Secretary of the VA "shall...fix the prices of merchandise and services in canteens so as to carry out the purposes of this chapter."65 They argue that the VCS's need to control prices is equally compelling regardless of whether a vending facility is operated by a Randolph-Sheppard vendor or a non-Randolph-Sheppard vendor.
Plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor respond that, while the VCS has authority to charge commissions on vending contracts, it is not required to do so. Nor does the Veterans' Canteen Service Act require the VCS to be self-sustaining. Even if it did, plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor argue that the Veterans' Canteen Service Act neither requires nor authorizes the VCS to meet that objective by diverting income from blind vendors. Thus, they argue, there is no conflict between the Randolph-Sheppard Act and the Veterans' Canteen Service Act; the VCS may adhere to the provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act without violating those of the Veterans' Canteen Service Act. To the extent that there is a conflict between the Veterans' Canteen Service Act and the Randolph-Sheppard Act, plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor contend that the Randolph-Sheppard Act should prevail because, in amending the Randolph-Sheppard Act, Congress balanced the interests of the VCS and the blind vendors and determined that the interests of both were best met by exempting the VCS only from the income-sharing provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act. Finally, plaintiff points out that, if compliance with the Randolph-Sheppard Act causes the VCS a significant loss, the VCS may either seek appropriations from Congress under 38 U.S.C. 7804 or apply to the Secretary of the DOE to place limitations on Randolph-Sheppard permits under 20 U.S.C. 107(b).V
The Court agrees that the VCS can comply with the Randolph- Sheppard Act without violating the Veterans' Canteen Service Act. The stated purpose of the Veterans' Canteen Service Act is to provide merchandise and services at VA facilities at reasonable prices.66 Applying the Randolph-Sheppard Act's requirements to the VCS does not interfere with this purpose; indeed, as plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor point out, charging commissions on vending sales could result in higher prices on the goods sold. The application of the Randolph-Sheppard Act could make it more difficult for the VCS to be self-sustaining; however, the Veterans' Canteen Service Act does not require the VCS to be self-sustaining, and it does not require the VCS to charge commissions on vending contracts. The Veterans' Canteen Service Act merely grants the VCS broad and generalized authority to provide services. That general grant of authority cannot be read to override the explicit provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act. In fact, it seems clear that in determining that the VCS should be exempt from the income-sharing provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act, Congress considered the VCS's need for vending machine revenues, balanced that need with the purposes of the blind vending program, and struck a compromise. The fact that Congress specifically addressed the VCS's needs in amending the Randolph-Sheppard Act indicates a Congressional intent to subject the VCS to the Randolph-Sheppard Act; thus, to the extent that its provisions conflict with those of the Veterans' Canteen Service Act, the provisions of the Randolph-Sheppard Act must prevail.
In this action the VCS in effect argues that Congress' compromise gave Randolph-Sheppard vendors too much and left the VCS too little. That, however, is another way of arguing that compliance with the Randolph-Sheppard Act would adversely affect the interests of the United States. The Randolph-Sheppard Act has an escape clause for such cases: the VCS may apply to the Secretary of the DOE for permission to limit the operation of Randolph-Sheppard facilities on VCS premises.VI
IV. The Claims of the Plaintiff-Intervenor
In addition to joining in the DJT's complaint, the plaintiff-intervenor raises a due process claim, asserting that the VCS has violated his Fifth Amendment right to due process by charging him commissions without legal authority and by refusing requests for price increases and additional vending machines at the St. Cloud medical center during the pendency of this action. In making this claim, plaintiff-intervenor relies on the testimony of the Deputy Director of the VCS, who stated that
[B]asically as long as this dispute lasts the guy who is going to suffer over it is going to be Dennis [Groshel] because prices are going to continue to go up, and we are going to continue to hold until this is resolved. The longer it goes on the less money he is going to make.67
Plaintiff-intervenor also relies on settlement proposals in which the VCS proposed to increase prices in exchange for commissions.68 Although he originally asked for a retroactive refund of the commissions paid prior to the arbitration, plaintiff-intervenor now concedes that, because this action names defendants in their official capacity, he cannot pursue a damages claim against them.69 He asserts, however, that he is entitled to a declaration that defendants violated his right to due process by misusing their power to pressure him and the DJT to drop this action. He also asserts that he is entitled to an injunction requiring the VCS to approve price increases.
Under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, a vendor may not bring a grievance directly against a federal agency; instead the vendor must bring his complaint to the state licensing agency. If the vendor is dissatisfied with the decision of the state licensing agency, he may file a complaint with the Secretary of the DOE, who will convene a panel to arbitrate the dispute.70 Defendants argue that, because plaintiff-intervenor has no right of direct action against the VCS and because plaintiff-intervenor has failed to exhaust his remedies by bringing a complaint before the DJT, this Court lacks jurisdiction over his claims. Plaintiff- intervenor has not addressed defendants' jurisdictional arguments.
It appears, however, that plaintiff-intervenor is not raising a claim under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, but is instead raising a direct claim against the VCS under the United States Constitution. In support of his claim, plaintiff-intervenor cites cases in which courts have held that 42 U.S.C. 1983 prohibits state actors from taking retaliatory actions against individuals in order to punish them for exercising their constitutional right to seek judicial relief.71 Section 1983, however, applies to actions taken by state officials under color of state law.72 It does not apply to this action, in which plaintiff-intervenor challenges actions by federal officials.
More importantly, plaintiff-intervenor's constitutional claim is simply beyond the scope of this action. The DJT brought suit under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, seeking review of the arbitration panel's decision regarding the relationship between the DJT and the VCS. Groshel was allowed to intervene in order to protect his interests in that action. His claim that the VCS infringed upon his constitutional right of access to judicial review is outside the scope of the Randolph-Sheppard Act and outside the scope of the DJT's appeal. Therefore, the Court will dismiss plaintiff's constitutional claim without prejudice.
Accordingly, based on the foregoing and upon all the files, records, and proceedings herein, it is ordered that: 1) defendants' motion for summary judgment is denied; 2) plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is granted; 3) the plaintiff- intervenor's constitutional claim is dismissed without prejudice; and 4) the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and defendant James B. Donohue, in his capacity as Administrator of Veterans' Canteen Services, shall follow the permit application and approval procedures of the Randolph-Sheppard Act and its accompanying regulations, as they are construed in this memorandum and order, with regard to the vending facility at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Let judgment be entered accordingly.
Judge Harry H. MacLaughlin
United States District Court
October 13, 1992
I. The record in this case consists of the transcript of a hearing held by the arbitration panel in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Minn. Tr.), the transcript of a hearing held by the arbitration panel in Washington, D.C. (D.C. Tr.), the administrative record compiled in the arbitration (Admin. R.), exhibits submitted by plaintiff (DJT Ex.), and exhibits submitted by defendants (VCS Ex.).
II. In addition to filing an administrative action, plaintiff filed a separate action seeking to restrain the VCS from awarding a contract for the medical center vending facility pending the outcome of the administrative action. This Court granted plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order in July, 1987. The restraining order remains in effect, and Groshel continues to operate the vending facility at the medical center.
III. The panel also unanimously held that no commissions were due to the VCS from September 2, 1988 to the date of the panel's final order, that the DJT was not liable for the storage and utility costs of the vending facility, that the VCS did not have the right to install or operate its own machines at the medical center, and that all future disputes between the parties should be resolved in accordance with the procedures of the Randolph- Sheppard Act. Plaintiff does not challenge these holdings on appeal.
IV. This conclusion must be distinguished from a conclusion that the Randolph-Sheppard Act precludes the charging of commissions in all instances. The Court expresses no opinion on whether the payment of commissions would be an acceptable limitation on a Randolph-Sheppard permit.
V. Plaintiff also notes that the VCS's assertion that complying with the Randolph-Sheppard Act will cause it significant loss is purely hypothetical; of the VCS's 150 vending contracts, the contract for the St. Cloud medical center is the only one involving a blind vendor. Minn. Tr. at 277.
VI. Because the Court has determined that the arbitration panel erred in holding that the VCS could charge the DJT commissions absent authority from the Secretary of the DOE, it does not reach the issue of whether the panel correctly determined that a seventeen percent commission was reasonable under the facts of this case.
1. D.C. Tr. at 27; DJT
2. D.C.Tr. at 61
3. Minn. Tr. at 240
4. Admin. R. 5-25
5. Admin. R. at 26
6. Admin. R. at 2
7. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)
8. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986)
9. AgriStor Leasing v. Farrow, 826 F.2d 732, 734 (8th Cir. 1987)
10. AgriStor Leasing, 826 F.2d at 734
11. Lomar Wholesale Grocery, Inc. v. Dieter's Gourmet Foods, Inc., 824 F.2d 582, 585 (8th Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 108 S.Ct. 707 (1988)
12. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)
13. City of St. Louis v. Dept. of Transportation, 936 F.2d 1528, 1533 (8th Cir. 1991); 5 U.S.C. 706(1)(E)
14. City of St. Louis, 936 F.2d at 1533
15. 20 U.S.C. 107d-2(b) (2)
16. Brock v. Dun-Par Engineered Form Co., 843 F.2d 1135, 1137 (8th Cir. 1987)
17. Delaware Dept. of Health v. U.S. Dept. of Educ., 772 F.2d 1123, 1139 (3d Cir. 1985)
18. 38 U.S.C. 7801
19. 38 U.S.C. 7802
20. 38 U.S.C. 7808
21. S. Rep. No. 1701, 79th Cong., 2d Sess. 4 (1946)
22. 38 U.S.C. 7804
23, 57, 63. 38 U.S.C. 7806
24. D.C. Tr. at 614-15, 629-30
25. D.C. Tr. at 527-28, 625, 654-59, 958-60
26. D.C. Tr. at 521-23
27. D.C. Tr. at 621-22
28. D.C. Tr. at 530-705
29. 20 U.S.C. 107(a)
30. Pub. L. No. 74-732, 1, 49 Stat. 1559 (1936)
31. Pub. L. No. 83-565, 4, 68 Stat. 652, 663 (1954)
32. S. Rep. No. 937, 93rd Cong., 2d Sess. 14-16 (1974); Hearings on S. 2581 before the Subcomm. on the Handicapped of the Senate Comm. on Labor and Public Welfare, 93rd Cong., 1st Sess. 71 (1973)
33. 20 U.S.C. 107(b)
34. 20 U.S.C. 107d-3(a), (b)
35. 20 U.S.C. 107d-3(d)
36. 20 U.S.C. 107(b)(2)
38. 34 C.F.R. 395.1(x)
39. 34 C.F.R. 395.33(a)
40. 34 C.F.R. 395.33(b)
41. 34 C.F.R. 395.33(d)
42. 34 C.F.R. 395.35(f)
43. 34 C.F.R. 395.16, 395.34, 395.35
44, 48. 34 C.F.R. 395.16
45. 34 C.F.R. 395.37
46. Admin. R. at 481-82
47. 34 C.F.R. 395.1(o)
49. D.C. Tr. at 67, 87-89
50. Admin. R. at 25
51. 34 C.F.R. 395.35(d); Admin. R. at 25
52. 20 U.S.C. 107(b)(2); 34 C.F.R. 395.30(a)
53. 20 U.S.C. 107(b)(2); 34 C.F.R. 395.30(b)
54. 34 C.F.R. 395.35(b)
55. Hearings on S. 2581 before the Subcomm. on the Handicapped of the Senate Comm. on Labor and Public Welfare, 93d Cong., 1st
Sess. 24 (1973)
56. S. Rep. No. 937, 93d Cong., 2d Sess. 10 (1974)
58, 61. 20 U.S.C. 107d-3(a)
59. 20 U.S.C. 107b(3); see also 34 C.F.R. 395.9
60. See, e.g., Hearings on S. 2581 before the Subcommittee on the Handicapped of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, 93rd Congress, 1st Sess. 24, 46-47 (1973)
62. 34 C.F.R. 395.1(s)
64. 38 U.S.C. 7802(6)
65. 38 U.S.C. 7802(7)
66. 78 U.S.C. 7801
67. Minn. Tr. at 250
68. VA Ex. 109, 110
69. Pl-Int.'s Response at 13
70. 20 U.S.C. 107d-1(a); Georgia Department of Human Resources v. Nash, 915 F.2d 1482, 1484 (11th Cir. 1990)
71. Harrison v. Springdale Water & Sewer Commission, 780 F.2d 1422, 1428 (8th Cir. 1986); Graham v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, 804 F.2d 953, 958-59 (6th Cir. 1986) 72. 42 U.S.C. 1983
If you or a friend would like to remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:
"I give, devise, and bequeath unto National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation, the sum of $_____ (or "_____ percent of my net estate" or "The following stocks and bonds: _____") to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons."
[PHOTO: Young girl seated at table with Braille writers. CAPTION: Students at Kiva Elementary School enjoy the challenge of learning Braille.]
[PHOTO: Two young girls using Braille writers in classroom. CAPTION: Cooperative learning and competition help sighted students learn the basics of Braille.]
HOW TO MAKE A BRAILLE WAVE
by Bonnie Simons
From the Associate Editor: In the Fall, 1992, issue of Future Reflections, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind's Parents of Blind Children Division, an article appeared that demonstrates convincingly our contention that Braille does not have to create a barrier between children who use it and those who use print. It takes a gifted and dedicated teacher, an open learning environment, curious youngsters, and supportive staff and parents to bring sighted and blind students together in such a way that they all learn with zest and enthusiasm, but though these prerequisites are difficult to assemble in one school, doing so is not impossible. Here is the story of one success as Barbara Cheadle, Editor of Future Reflections, introduced it:
Sighted children are fascinated with Braille. Whenever my blind colleagues in the Federation or I demonstrate Braille to groups of children--such as school classes, Cub Scouts, Brownie Scouts, and so forth--we can always guarantee that it will be a big hit. Many of us have wondered if this natural curiosity and enthusiasm for Braille could be put to a constructive use. Of course, even one demonstration promotes a better understanding of blindness and a respect for blind persons, but couldn't more be done? Some high schools and colleges, for example, offer sign language courses to their students. Not only does this increase the number of hearing persons who can communicate with the deaf, but some of these students are undoubtedly inspired to go on to become professional interpreters.
What would happen if groups of sighted children and youth had the same opportunity to learn Braille? Would some of them be inspired to become professional or volunteer Braille transcribers? Would some of them become teachers of blind and visually impaired children? And even if they never used their Braille skills in a professional capacity, wouldn't there be other kinds of positive results? Until recently I could only speculate on what the benefits might be. I knew individual sighted children who had learned Braille--my own sighted daughter Anna began to read and write grade I Braille when she was five-- she is now ten--but I had never heard of a group of sighted children learning Braille. That changed last Spring when the following article appeared on my desk. I no longer had to speculate. Here was a woman teaching Braille to sighted children in an after-school Braille club, and the results, as she reports them, were every bit as good as, or better than, anything I had dreamed possible. I hope that Mrs. Simons's experience will inspire others as much as it did me. Here is what she says:
This is a story about a good friend made because of Braille and how I came to be a better teacher through this friendship. I first met Abigail Granger, who was a member of Joan Kennedy's second-grade classroom at Kiva Elementary School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Abbe was a sweet, occasionally shy eight-year-old, with a sharp intellect and keen interest in language. Abbe loved learning. Her good humor, winning smile, and outgoing manner all combined to make her a persuasive force. Abbe was a natural leader, one who would lead me into an experience I will never forget. In the space of one year this young girl would have me committed body, soul, and pocketbook to teaching Braille to sighted students in first through sixth grades at our school. You will learn more about other people responsible for promoting and supporting this project as this story unfolds. I believe that running this class and letting it run me have provided some of the most enjoyable experiences of my career.
Abbe's second-grade teacher had created a remarkable learning environment for the extraordinary group of children assigned to her that year. I was there to help integrate a blind student with whom I had been working into classroom activities, but it soon became evident that I would be working with other students as well. They were bright, sensitive, self-assured, and endlessly curious. The children watched in fascination as I worked with my student, using a variety of Braille and tactile materials. They were spellbound by the Braille writer and begged me to teach them how to write their names. Luckily their teacher encouraged curiosity, allowing them to explore the tactile world they thought they had left behind in preschool when they exchanged clay, finger painting, button-and-snap books, and blocks for textbooks. When I brought in my play-dough maps and Braille storybooks with tactile illustrations of felt, buttons, and beads, I must have struck a homey chord in their second-grade hearts.
My clearest memory of the beginning of my interest in teaching Braille to sighted students was of a warm April afternoon, my Braille writer sitting on a picnic table outside the school cafeteria. Although I had planned to attend a teachers' meeting, Abbe persuaded me my presence there wasn't required. She showed me the Braille writer set up with paper in a sunny, comfortable place, and I was convinced. A gentle Arizona breeze easily lifted the heavy manila paper that was rolled halfway out of the Braille writer. On the paper were the names of Abbe's family, which she had Brailled with my help. Next Abbe wanted to learn how to Braille numbers and capital letters. I loved teaching Braille to blind children and remember thinking this would be a pleasurable way to end the day--tutoring students like Abbe in Braille. She had quickly learned the basics of using a Braille writer and was also very interested in creating tactile designs using Braille dots. The Braille wave was one of our favorites, originally tapped out by her four-year-old sister when she came to visit my resource room. It can be made by Brailling dots three, two, one, four, five, and six (one dot to a cell) across the page, creating a tactile wave.
Abbe persevered in her goal to learn everything about Braille that she knew about print. We designed an independent study in Braille with the encouragement of her classroom teacher. At the close of the school year Abbe asked if she could continue studying Braille in third grade. I agreed, on the condition that the plan was approved by her new teacher. That August Abbe met me in the hall on the first day of school and introduced two friends who were interested in learning Braille. We decided it would be fun to have an after-school class for the three of them. That was the start of it all.
This weekly class of three students quickly grew into two classes of twelve students, thanks to Abbe's public relations. The Kiva teachers and staff were extremely patient as our class struggled to get organized. Teachers invited me to their classes to speak about Braille. I developed cartoon storyboards that helped tell the story of Louis Braille, explaining the various systems blind people used to read before and since the development of Braille. Students were fascinated by the knotted string and wooden letter alphabets, as well as by the talking electronic Braille keyboard my sixth-grade student uses to take notes in class. They began stopping me in hallways to ask when they could take Braille.
Classes soon turned into everyday, standing-room-only events. I begged and borrowed Braille writers for our newly named Braille Club. Soon we had twelve in my resource room. Students came in after school and during lunch recess to learn Braille. Approximately 125 students have attended Braille classes over the past two years. I've bought a gross of notebooks for students to keep their papers in and have watched in amazement as they have decorated them with fabric paints, creating delightful tactile pictures and designs.
We used cooperative learning techniques to teach Braille. My blind Braille students became student teachers in the Braille club. They, of course, were getting their own classroom Braille reading instruction and therefore came to Braille club with advanced skills. Even the younger blind student teachers (my youngest was Julie, age eight) could teach basic Braille reading and demonstrate the mechanics of using a Braille writer. (Believe it or not, putting paper into a Braille writer was one of the most difficult skills for the sighted club members to learn.) Older student teachers, such as sixth-grader Chris, taught club members advanced Braille math and science notations as he learned them in his Braille class with me.
After students learned the basics, they were asked to come up with ideas for Braille projects. They have developed some extraordinary ones. They wore blindfolds and tested each other to see how many Braille letters they could read with their fingers. They designed Braille alphabet cards for teachers to give students when reading about or discussing blindness. They wrote Twin Vision type storybooks--wonderfully imaginative stories in print and Braille, made by using ink stamp sets--for the teachers of primary-age children to keep in their reading centers. They have copied tactile concept books designed for preschool blind children by a parent group in California and donated them to our local preschool for blind children. A group of older students who are good artists designed a dictionary of tactile pictures for Braille storybooks. They also Brailled the children's menu for a local fast-food restaurant. Lunch recess has become a time for students who have learned the basics to work on projects or bring their friends along in order to teach them Braille.
Braille students love competitions, so we frequently put children in teams to compete against each other in Braille language games, and we designed a translator's contest to help students learn Braille contractions. This lively competition runs in four-week cycles. Students are given sentences containing unknown contractions and use the context of known letters and words in the sentence to guess them. Awards are presented to the winners in their classrooms so they can receive recognition in front of their classmates. The school principal has also given certificates of achievement in Braille at honors assemblies so outstanding successes can be acknowledged.
The first year of our Braille Club, before our school's winter holiday, it became evident that we needed financial support in order for the class to continue. I could no longer afford to buy supplies, so students were asked to come up with ideas on how to raise money. Many said their parents would be willing to pay a fee so they could take the class. We are fortunate to be part of a school community in which parents are interested in doing everything they can to help blind students feel that they belong. Children reflect their parents' beliefs when coming to Braille Club, learning to see beyond external differences when making and working with new friends.
Students had good ideas for money-raising projects and a strong determination to follow through on them, so we decided to try the projects first. To raise money, the children decided to create Braille notions to sell at the school's holiday boutique in December. They worked long hours after school and during lunch to produce Braille Christmas and Hanukkah cards decorated with tactile pictures of bears, bells, candles, and Menorahs. They made decorative magnets with names in Braille and Braille bookmarks. Then they set up a booth, advertising customized items that students would Braille and decorate as a buyer wished. Our first day netted a surprising $78, enough money to continue Braille Club for the remainder of the school year. That spring the Braille Club was featured in an article on mainstreaming in our local newspaper, and the school's parent group decided to fund us for the following year, alleviating what could have become a serious financial drain on my bank account or, more likely, the end of Braille Club.
At this point there were as many as twenty-five students coming in during lunch recess, working on projects needing supervision. Students were working in teams to make the campus more accessible to blind people; one team put Braille number labels on campus doors, while another created a large tactile map of the campus. Abbe and her friends decided to put together a videotape to introduce new students to the Braille Club so that I wouldn't have to spend time orienting them. The blind students, Abbe, and two other advanced sighted students became my student teachers, helping teach Braille basics.
I'm not able to relate all the activities and outcomes of our club here. What I have shared are some of the moments that have given me the most pleasure in my Braille Club experience. In particular the uniquely positive effect Braille Club has had on the integration of blind students at Kiva was unexpected and welcome. One day a student left a sign on my door: "Braille is cool." I realized then how the school's attitude toward Braille and therefore toward the blind students who use it had altered over the months. People on campus were no longer ignorant or shy of Braille but knowledgeable and interested. Students and teachers asked me questions about Braille and blindness with an ease that amazed me. People were talking more to the blind students, giving friendly greetings in the halls, stopping to talk. Blind students who had resisted Braille were now excited about learning it. Their Braille skills gave them status among their sighted peers. I began to notice a tremendous increase in confidence, assertiveness, and self-esteem in my blind Braille students.
In Braille Club the blind students were involved in everything. Because we were in a relaxed, cooperative learning situation, several interesting social interactions between blind and sighted students took place. Misunderstandings based on ignorance of either the sighted or blind student's perspective were now frequently resolved because of the new understanding of how the other was thinking or feeling. These explanations were accepted as help, not criticism, as they might have been in a different learning environment. We all began to understand one another better, and students developed satisfying friendships.
These positive effects became more evident to me when the mother of my youngest blind student mentioned that her child's new friend had described her only by name to her mother. It wasn't until she was invited to this friend's party that the mother learned her child's friend was blind. She was amazed that her daughter hadn't mentioned this important fact. It didn't surprise me, because I had seen this difference between the children become unimportant as they got to know each other. In Braille Club friendships are formed on the basis of common interests, not physical differences.
Over the past year I have developed Braille learning modules that continue to be used, modified and supplemented as Braille Club continues. Each day students come to me, interested in joining our club, and each day I say "yes" to their ideas. Students who come to Braille Club are as diverse as students in any classroom. They're interested in learning, achieving, laughing, and belonging. Each is welcomed with an open mind and heart. These students have given meaning to my work that didn't exist before, opening my eyes to the endless opportunities we have to learn from one another. Our endeavor couldn't have flourished as it has in another environment or under different conditions. So I thank the teachers, the office and custodial staff, and the principal for the help and unconditional support they have given us. I thank our school parent group for their generosity in funding the club. Other groups, I know, would not have seen the benefits of this for their children. I also owe thanks to my supervisor, who gave me an itinerant caseload that didn't require me to work many extra hours after school. This has enabled me to sponsor Braille Club, which I believe is the most successful mainstreaming technique I have yet used in eighteen years of teaching.
I owe a heartfelt thanks to my friend Abbe, who, whether she becomes a Braille teacher or not, will always remain my friend. She was the original Braille wave in my life--a welcome, dynamic, tidal wave.
I hope this may encourage others interested in teaching Braille to sighted students to try such an endeavor. I recommend it highly as one of the most pleasurable and exhausting experiences of my life. I would be happy to share materials and resources with other teachers. You can contact me at Kiva Elementary School, 6911 East McDonald Drive, Scottsdale, Arizona 85253. Just send it to the attention of "The Braille Teacher"; it will reach me.
[PHOTO: Sharon Gold standing at microphone. CAPTION: Sharon Gold.]
PERSONAL ASSISTANCE SERVICES: ANOTHER KIND OF PAS
From the Associate Editor: When many of us hear the acronym "PASS," we automatically think of the Supplemental Security Income Program to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), which Social Security Administration Commissioner Gwendolyn King discussed at the 1992 convention of the National Federation of the Blind and which James Gashel described in some detail in an article which appeared in the May, 1992, issue of the Braille Monitor.
But increasingly one hears discussion of the idea of a federally funded program called Personal Assistance Services (PAS), which would include provision of readers and perhaps drivers for blind people. Such benefits also include interpreter services for the deaf and hearing-impaired and other personal assistance such as dressing, bathing, feeding, toileting, etc. Developing a consistent, adequate program to provide such help has been under discussion for some time.
Recently the National Federation of the Blind was asked to take part in a panel discussion in which consumers were invited to explore the issues they thought most important in Personal Assistance Services. The result was a monograph entitled "Personal Perspectives on Personal Assistance Services." President Maurer asked Sharon Gold, President of the National Federation of the Blind of California, to represent the organized blind movement at this meeting. It is of particular importance that consumers of such services be heard in this debate, and we can only hope that the position articulated by Sharon Gold and the issues she raised will be incorporated in future plans.
The monograph is now available from the World Institute on Disability, 510 Sixteenth St., Suite 100, Oakland, California 94612-1502 at a cost of $10 a copy. It is already being used as a college textbook in an undergraduate course at George Mason University. It is encouraging to know that consumer views are being considered in some university programs. Let us hope that this trend will continue. Here is the introductory letter which begins the monograph, followed by Sharon Gold's testimony:
All of us at the Research and Training Center on Public Policy in Independent Living (RTC/PPIL) are extremely pleased to present this document to you. The World Institute on Disability (WID) has been studying Personal Assistance Services (PAS) for the past decade. Outcomes of this pursuit have included the pioneering document Attending to America; case studies of various state programs, detailed in several publications available from WID; and model legislation, including the Personal Assistance for Independent Living Act (PAIL) of 1989.
With the inception of the RTC/PPIL in 1990, these PAS efforts have intensified. In the fall of 1991 WID sponsored the symposium "Empowerment Strategies for the Development of a National Personal Assistance Services System." Representatives from over forty states and ten countries assembled at this Symposium, the first of its kind held in the U.S., to discuss PAS issues and refine strategies for addressing them. As a precursor to the Symposium, participants were asked to describe what PAS meant to them on a personal level. Their responses were the basis of this document.
WID has defined PAS as one person assisting another with tasks the individual would normally do for themselves if he or she did not have a disability. These tasks may include personal maintenance and hygiene, such as dressing, bathing, and catheter care; mobility assistance, such as transferring to and from bed or wheelchair; household maintenance, including cooking, cleaning, and child care; cognitive assistance, such as money- handling and budget-planning; and communication access, including interpreting and reading.
The essays that comprise this manuscript represent a wide range of experience with PAS as it relates to many different kinds of disabilities and life situations. But the document is not meant to be definitive; it is not representative of every PAS need for every group or individual. There is even some disagreement on the definition of PAS (most clearly seen in the discussion on PAS for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, where technological aids and devices are included in the definition of PAS). But on one issue everyone agrees: Personal Assistance Services are essential for independent living.
PAS is a highly-charged personal issue, as well as a crucial political concern. Due to the personal nature of the essays, we tried to maintain the writers' distinctive voices as much as possible, without sacrificing clarity. The purpose of Personal Perspectives on Personal Assistance Services is to present a sampling of personal perspectives in light of the national movement for implementation of a Personal Assistance Services system.
We would very much like to have your response to this effort. Would you please use the evaluation form provided at the back of this monograph to let us know what you think?
Steven E. Brown, Ph.D.
Training Director, RTC/PPIL
That was Dr. Brown's introductory letter, and it is followed by a number of statements provided by individuals invited to present their perspectives. Here are the remarks presented by Sharon Gold, who was representing the National Federation of the Blind:
PAS Issues for the Blind Community
by Sharon Gold
Testimony before the National Council on Disability: Las Vegas, Nevada, February 25, 1992
Good morning, Madame Chairman. My name is Sharon Gold. I serve as president of the National Federation of the Blind of California. My address is 5982 South Land Park Drive, Sacramento, California 95822; telephone (916) 424-2226. Thank you for inviting me to participate in this hearing.
As I understand it, this proceeding is being held to examine various policy issues and considerations relating to the establishment of a national program of personal assistance services for persons with disabilities. I assume that some of the questions before you are whether, in fact, there should be such a program at all, and, if there is such a program, how, and to what extent, the federal government should participate in making it possible. As one individual I certainly do not presume to have all of the answers, but I will do my best to highlight some of the major concerns which policy makers, and perhaps ultimately the Congress, will need to address.
The first principle flows from the word "personal." If a program of personal assistance is desirable, it will only be so to the extent that each person served is treated as an individual. It follows from this that individuals with different disabilities must receive services that are appropriate to the limitations imposed by the particular disability in question. I am aware that some people oppose categorical approaches or programs because they think of disability as a generic condition. My experience in California, where we have a large general rehabilitation bureaucracy, is that generic programs tend to misclassify people with very particular disabilities. Of course, I am most familiar with services to the blind and with the poor results obtained for blind persons served by our general agency.
The single specious advantage of generic disability programs is that they seem to fit neatly on an organizational chart. It is claimed that generic programs may save money, but I do not believe that they actually do. I think that they waste it. Day after day I encounter blind people who are unable to secure responsive services from our state. Many of the problems these people face would be eliminated if the agency and its counselors were more specialized. For example, when counselors do not understand blindness, there is a great deal of lost motion and extra expense just to get a client's needs evaluated. This happens more often than you might think.
I am not saying that categorical programs are perfect, but client services from specialized programs have been found to be notably superior to those from general agencies. In the case of personal assistance services, I can see many disadvantages to service delivery through generic programs. The experience of California's blind students trying to obtain satisfactory reader service through disabled students' offices would be enough to make my point. Such programs are rarely managed by blind people since they serve a much larger population. The reader services available from these offices are, in most instances, operated somewhere on a scale between wretched and punitive.
The rules governing service delivery are usually aimed at a much larger audience, with most of its members having substantially different needs. The persons who make the rules are usually sighted, even if they are disabled. They have no idea what elements should be present in a quality reader service arrangement for the blind. Corrections in the way the program should be run cannot really be made by advisory committees. I have served on my share of such committees, and generally they have very little effect. I am convinced that the best way to have a reader service program of high quality is to have a program which is specialized in providing reader service and to have blind people be in charge of the program.
My second principle is that a personal assistance program must not do for blind people what blind people can do for themselves. While blindness is appropriately classified as a severe disability, the significance of blindness can (with proper training and opportunity) be reduced to the level of a physical nuisance. One concern that I would have with a personal assistance program is that it might do too much. It may be a temptation for program officials to try to custodialize blind people into useless inactivity. In some colleges and universities some blind people are actually provided with notetakers. I have observed this as one of the unfortunate results of the generic disability offices on campuses throughout our state.
It may be true that some people with disabilities have conditions which prevent them from taking notes effectively. Persons who know very little about blindness may think that it is such a condition. I can tell you categorically that it is not. In fact, providing a notetaker for a blind person can do a great disservice. There are too many blind people who have received assistance in getting things done when they should have received training in doing things for themselves. Matriculation at college is intended to teach students how to manage their time and resources in such a way that the tasks of learning get done. One of those tasks is learning to take and use notes. I imagine that there would be general agreement on this principle. I think it is particularly critical for blind people. Many of us have been robbed of our ability to function because a family member or other person assuming a caretaker role thought that he or she could do things better than we who are blind. The program to provide personal services should encourage blind people to work rather than encouraging laziness.
Our freedom depends upon doing things for ourselves. In the case of the notetaker example, there is absolutely no justification on the grounds of blindness for a blind person to have someone else take and keep his or her notes. I am not saying that every blind person has learned effective notetaking skills, but I am saying that notetaking services will discourage the mastery of these skills.
My third principle is a corollary to the second. If a program of personal assistance is established, the scope of services for blind people should be limited to tasks for which few, if any, alternative techniques are fully satisfactory. Reader service is the only such form of assistance that comes to mind. It is my experience, based on my own life and my observation of thousands of other blind people, that we have managed to find suitable alternative methods of doing almost everything that we need and want to do. However, most information still comes in the form of print, which blind people obviously cannot read directly for themselves. Technology can help to some extent, but it is not a total solution.
In my experience there is really no adequate substitute for personalized, high-quality reader service that is available more or less on demand. It seems obvious to me that blind people, for the most part, do not have such a service available to them anywhere in the world today. However, many of us are able to come rather close to this ideal standard. Blind people are not without ingenuity. We all tend to develop our own systems for getting the things done that we need to do. Some people use volunteer readers extensively and quite successfully. Other people use paid readers or a combination. Spouses, other family members, and friends are used extensively to help with reading.
Apart from these personally developed arrangements, reader service programs designed to serve groups of blind people are largely limited to students at the post-secondary level. As I have already explained, employed blind adults are very much on their own, individually solving their needs for reader service. Employers may provide some help as a form of reasonable accommodation, but that covers only the work-related needs. Beyond this we usually fill in the gaps with friends, family members, volunteers, or paid readers. I think this describes the general pattern.
This patchwork approach works well for many blind people much of the time. However, there are times when reader arrangements completely fall apart. Then, on rare occasions, demotions or even job loss can result. In theory rehabilitation agencies can step in to provide post-employment services, but obtaining this assistance is not as easy as the law implies. A new program of personal assistance could be helpful in this type of situation. Alternatively the vocational rehabilitation program could be required to provide reader service without delay whenever justified on grounds of immediate employment-related need.
Individual responsibility is my fourth principle. If a program of personal assistance services is developed in this country, we will do a great disservice to blind people if we remove responsibilities from the individual person who needs assistance and place the burden on society as a whole. I am not saying that there is no social responsibility to make personal assistance services available. I am saying that, to the extent that this is done, the responsibility of each blind person to arrange his or her particular blindness-related services must be preserved and respected.
One advantage of the present system is that, if I fail to make arrangements for having the readers I need when I need them, I will not have them. I will suffer the consequences. Although this is unfortunate, it is much more desirable than it would be the other way around. If my reader service responsibilities are determined by somebody else, many of the opportunities available to me are determined by somebody else as well. There is a practical reason for this attitude. I have found that a program can never meet my needs as well as I can meet them for myself-- provided, that is, that I have the resources to do so. A program of personal assistance should provide the resources necessary to obtain the assistance. It should not diminish individual responsibility for determining the nature and kind of assistance required.
To use a frequent example, I will return to the situation in higher education. When a blind student does poorly in a course, it is sometimes said that the disabled students office failed to get the textbooks on time. I would call that line of thinking a "dependent mentality." The responsibility for knowing the material, attending classes, reading the textbooks, and taking the tests belongs to the student, whether the student is blind or sighted. Some of today's blind students, however, tend to think that they can forget about certain responsibilities such as getting taped or Brailled books because an entire office has been set up to take care of these matters.
This dependent mentality should concern all of us. It is not a healthy trend. The philosophy of the Americans with Disabilities Act espouses freedom and independence. I would not want to see a new program enacted that diminishes our ability to secure freedom and independence. There are many programs created by well-intentioned people that have gradually grown so big that they intrude on individual freedom. A personal assistance program must not do this--it must enhance freedom.
My fifth principle is that individuals should manage their own personal assistance services. Programmed services, offered on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, must be avoided. Again let me return to the example of higher education. When I was an undergraduate student, the management of the reader service that I received was completely within my control. The Department of Rehabilitation and I agreed on the amount of money I would need each semester, and I was then authorized to have my readers submit bills for direct payment. I hired each reader and determined the rate of compensation. I determined the reading schedule and the specific items to be read. I dismissed unsatisfactory readers and replaced them with others. I approved payment vouchers and kept track of the money remaining for use. I was fully accountable.
Some would say that today's students have it easier. There are programs that find, supervise, and pay their readers. All they really have to do is show up at the appropriate time for the reading sessions. Personal reader service tends to be viewed as a function of the institution. As an institutional program it is operated for the convenience of the university, not for the benefit of the student. Both the quantity and type of material to be read are determined by the program--not by the student. The selection and supervision of readers are done by the program.
By contrast the reader service that I received was far less programmed and far more responsive to my needs. I managed that reader service entirely. I had only myself to blame when things did not go right. The assistance I received from the State of California was definitely a resource and not a form of control. I fear that blind students today are far more controlled and regulated than they were in the past.
One fear I have is that a new program of personal assistance services would be administered in such a way as to gain control over individual blind persons. Those who dispense services have the power to grant or withhold those services. I think that blind persons are already subjected to far too many controls because of their need for services.
Therefore, if a program of personal assistance services is established, it should be designed to compensate the individual for personally chosen and personally managed forms of assistance without control. While I am not opposed to a certain amount of regulation in appropriate circumstances, the personal use of a reader for a blind individual must be managed by the blind individual. Look at it this way: a blind person's reader actually functions as an auxiliary pair of eyes. Directing their use must be for the blind person's benefit and for no one else's.
My sixth principle is that persons who are eligible for personal assistance services should be able to receive those services without regard to economic need or ability to pay. In the case of blind people, eligibility should depend upon a statement of needs relating to the blind person's inability to obtain suitable and timely access to printed information. The eligibility criteria should focus on need for reader service--not on financial need.
I think we make a great mistake when service programs for persons with disabilities screen out individuals who seem to have enough money to pay for assistance that is provided at taxpayer expense to persons who are less well off. For one thing, the administration of financial need standards is often filled with abuse. I know of situations in which Social Security beneficiaries are being required to pay for the costs of their vocational rehabilitation. That is a disincentive, and it is wrong.
In my opinion the very nature of the means test leads to this kind of abuse. Therefore the provision of services under this program, if it is created, should be based on service needs- -not on financial needs. It is a cruel joke when, for example, a person is found otherwise eligible for vocational rehabilitation but is told that the services for which he or she is eligible will be provided only when the individual, not the agency, pays the bill. I hasten to add that the means test is not a federal requirement in vocational rehabilitation, but it is discretionary with the states. I think it is time for policymakers to rethink this entire issue and to eliminate the means test altogether.
The means test also creates a two-class system. Those in one economic category receive one kind of service, and those in the other category receive a different service. Separate but equal is unworkable in services as surely as it is in race relations. Therefore there should be no means test.
This is my list of six principles. It may not be exhaustive, but certainly the major concerns are addressed. There is undoubtedly a need for personal assistance services. The need is probably more profound for persons with some types of disabilities than for persons with other conditions.
For example, a person who must have some form of attendant care during the day certainly faces a different situation from that of a blind person who needs to get something read. I think that each type of situation must be looked at separately. Programs to provide reader service to blind persons are inadequate, and blind people often get left out. This is a disadvantage, but a program that ignores the principles outlined here would become a greater disadvantage.
I cannot speak to the situation of persons with disabilities other than blindness. Each type of situation and need for personal assistance should stand or fall on its own merits. The practice of the National Federation of the Blind is to adopt positions on matters such as programs of personal assistance only after broad discussion and debate. At this point we have not taken a formal position on the desirability of having a personal assistance services program. However, the principles that I have mentioned will undoubtedly weigh heavily in our evaluation of various proposals. They will be considered in the position that we take.
Madame Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity to take part in these proceedings. I appreciate the fact that this Council's recommendations are an important first step which could lead to an expanded effort to provide personal assistance services on a national basis. Therefore I have tried to offer comments which could be helpful to you in accomplishing this task. Again I thank you.
[PHOTO: Fred Schroeder standing at microphone. CAPTION: Fred Schroeder.]
THE BLIND STUDENT TEACHER IN PUBLIC EDUCATION
by Fred Schroeder
From the Associate Editor: Reading the following article made me cast my mind back to my own student teaching experience many years before I found the National Federation of the Blind. At the time I had no idea how lucky I was. Oberlin College was broad-minded and dedicated to giving all its students an equal chance. I was scheduled to student teach high school English the fall of my senior year of college. No one had tried to discourage me from a teaching career during my preliminary course work, but it was clear as discussions about my classroom placement began that there was going to be some difficulty in finding a supervising teacher willing to work with me. Having done a little teaching in high school in conjunction with my history teacher, I never seriously considered that there could be any question about my ability to cope successfully with a mob of unruly teen-agers. To give my education professor the credit he deserves, he did not doubt my ability any more than I did. This was lucky for me, because he had to work hard to sell me and my credentials. He had to work his way through several school districts and a number of English teachers to find Mrs. Adams. She was a crusty old English teacher, close to retirement, and she had seen it all. I also suspect that she no longer cared much about the lofty goals of teaching or her moral responsibility to her students to impart the wonders of Silas Marner and Julius Caesar. She told him that she would take me on and warned me to come prepared to begin teaching by the second day. I did so, and neither of us ever had a problem. Grammar, poetry, drama, and novels--we tackled it all, and the students came away saying that English was more fun than they had ever thought it could be. They clearly believed they had been lucky to get a student teacher, and it made no difference to them that she happened to be blind.
I know that I was lucky to have had both the supervising teacher and professor I had. Student teaching experiences like mine do happen, but unfortunately they are rare. Most blind student teachers have a much more difficult time than I had. But complicated or simple, student teaching is always a watershed experience. Some people are not cut out to be teachers, and all of us have much to learn in the beginning about the art. Every young teacher must discern whether he or she is suited to be a teacher. This problem is usually compounded for blind teachers by the prejudice and misconceptions of most professionals in the education field, both classroom teachers and college professors of education. Blind students who are contemplating careers in teaching must understand the complexity of the situation they find themselves in and must be prepared to work their way through it.
Fred Schroeder is the Director of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind. He is also an experienced teacher, and for a number of years he administered the program that serves youngsters with low-incidence disabilities in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, School District. He has supervised student teachers and hired many teachers during his career.
He addressed the National Association of Blind Educators (NABE) at its annual meeting during the 1991 convention of the National Federation of the Blind. His remarks were reprinted in the spring/summer, 1992, issue of the Blind Educator, the publication of NABE. This article is taken from Mr. Schroeder's remarks:
I have worked with a number of blind student teachers over the years. Unfortunately, I frequently see recurring patterns of discrimination. A very long time ago I was a student teacher myself. Therefore, I understand the problems they encounter. The negative experiences that blind student teachers face are similar to the problems blind people have entering almost any other profession.
By virtue of being a minority, the blind are subject to discrimination which comes primarily from public misunderstanding about blindness. The general and undefined anxieties and misconceptions lead to fears about how blind teachers will function, and these result in discrimination. The way this discrimination plays itself out for blind student teachers is different in form, but not in substance, from that which blind people face in all areas of employment. The problem is recognizing precisely when it is taking place. If you are reasonably qualified for a job and you interview for it, can you say that you have been discriminated against if you are turned down? I do not think so, unless you are told that you are not being hired because of blindness. Mostly that does not happen.
Usually you are thanked, you leave, and then you receive a letter or call telling you the bad news. But when you apply for five jobs, then ten, then fifty, then one hundred, but still don't get a job, and people who are similarly situated are getting jobs with many fewer interviews, then you can say without doubt that discrimination exists. And you can because of the pattern of treatment that you as a blind person have received.
What happens to most blind student teachers is something like this. You are likely to go into your student teaching assignment among people who start with the assumption that you cannot possibly function effectively as a teacher. Because they are looking for trouble, they begin to find fault with the way you are doing things and identify certain aspects of your work (mostly those things that you do a little differently from their methods) as problems. Is this discrimination? Probably.
But the dilemma is, because you are at the beginning of your student teaching, you are most assuredly not a perfect teacher. You probably are making some mistakes; every student teacher does. The caution I would give supervising personnel is to consider what can be reasonably expected from any blind student teacher. All student teachers, by virtue of their lack of experience, are going to make mistakes. The question is not whether but what kind of mistakes are being made and what is their magnitude. Student teachers make mistakes. That is why they are student teaching; it is the whole point of the exercise.
But when you factor in society's misunderstandings about blindness, very often the problems, the mistakes, and the simple things which go wrong for blind student teachers are blown out of proportion. For example, there has never been a class in which somewhere along the line a student or two didn't act up. Kids misbehave, in school as well as at home. Yet very often even the mildest behavior problem in a class is held up as evidence that the blind student teacher lacks the ability to maintain order.
One of the best examples I know of imagining a problem and then attributing it to blindness occurred to a blind student teacher who had developed her own system for giving spelling tests. The teacher would dictate the spelling words to the class. Then the students would exchange papers and mark them as the teacher spelled the words correctly. The blind student teacher's university supervisor heard about this procedure and pronounced herself horrified. She said this was a terrible system. The student teacher was mistreating her students emotionally and was very likely scarring them for life. The children were being subjected to emotional mistreatment because the blind student teacher was unable to correct the spelling tests herself. Yet this grading technique has been used by sighted teachers for as long as there have been teachers, classes, and quizzes.
In my view this professor's behavior toward a blind student teacher was discriminatory. It was because something ordinary was twisted by the university supervisor, perhaps unconsciously, until she convinced herself that poor teaching was taking place. This discrimination arose from the professor's assumption that blind persons are not capable of teaching with equal effectiveness and, therefore, that their methods cannot be equally good. That professor's misconception about blindness and her resulting prejudice against blind teachers and our methods is the kind of thing we must guard against. When this cycle begins, the professor and those like her consider everything that the blind do differently as necessarily inferior.
Blind people can get into a terrible spiral when we accept this assessment of our alternative techniques as inferior. We are not sighted, and therefore we do not always operate in the same way that sighted teachers do. I cannot reiterate too many times that blind people always get into trouble when we try to function using techniques requiring sight. What we must do is realize that the techniques we use, many of which are particular to blind people, are legitimate and effective. We have a long tradition of blind teachers performing at a superior level. We do things differently, but so what? Sighted teachers use a wide range of strategies and techniques in their work, yet presumably the effectiveness of their teaching is measured by their students' success rather than through dissection and scrutiny of each teaching method. Our techniques as blind teachers allow us to function just fine.
The bottom line is that blind people can be confident and successful teachers. We cannot let other people's attitudes about us trap us in a situation in which we are put on the defensive and forced to have our performance as blind persons questioned. If a sighted person is alive and pays tuition, most universities will certify him or her to teach. Yet when a student is blind, suddenly the institutions become agonizingly conscious of their lofty responsibilities and suggest that it would somehow be immoral to graduate a blind teacher who has failed to achieve arbitrary and vision-centered standards of student-teaching excellence. Such standards can usually be boiled down to maintaining hand-written attendance records, seating charts, and grade books; writing and drawing flawlessly on the chalk board; and checking work assignments in class while the students are doing assignments at their desks.
As I said in the beginning, it is not difficult to recognize a pattern of discrimination, but it is often very difficult indeed to identify specific instances of it. Blind student teachers make errors, and so do sighted student teachers. The question is not whether errors are made, but whether the blind student teacher's entire performance and results are compared fairly with those of his or her sighted peers. I am talking about considering such questions as the following: Is learning taking place in the classroom? Are the students happy and interested in what is going on? Is the teacher in control of the classroom and the paperwork? These represent reasonable standards.
A healthy and balanced perspective is necessary if an inexperienced teacher is to succeed. In order to maintain this perspective, blind student teachers must maintain ongoing, regular contact with practicing blind teachers, who can serve as a source of encouragement and information, as well as a bench- mark for reasonable expectations. In short, every blind student teacher should become an active member of the National Federation of the Blind. The discrimination blind student teachers face is one more manifestation of the discrimination associated with blindness generally. It is only through collective action that the members of a minority group can reshape the public's understanding and eradicate its misconceptions, thereby promoting true equality of opportunity. And for blind people effective collective action comes through the National Federation of the Blind.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Ed Bryant.]
THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
AND THE AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION
From the Editor: Ed Bryant of Columbia, Missouri, is the highly respected editor of the Voice of the Diabetic. He not only gives tirelessly of his time and devotion but also knows how to speak plainly and cut through verbal nonsense when the situation warrants. The Voice of the Diabetic, which is the publication of the Diabetics Division of the National Federation of the Blind, has experienced phenomenal growth during the past few years. It has a current circulation of almost 50,000, with every prospect that this figure will double in the not-too-distant future. I think Monitor readers will find the following correspondence interesting. It has implications far beyond the situation of those who have diabetes. It requires no explanation, so here it is:
American Diabetes Association
October 30, 1992
Ed Bryant, Editor
Voice of the Diabetic
Dear Mr. Bryant:
The President of our association, F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, M.D., recently shared with me your letter seeking subscriptions for the Voice of the Diabetic. We are extremely concerned about the language used in the letter and the newsletter. The way in which you describe diabetes leads us to believe that you have not had access to up-to-date information about the disease and some of the issues confronting people with diabetes.
For example, people with diabetes prefer not to be labelled "diabetic." They are people first, not the disease. As a friend said, "People with hernias are not called `hernias'." Several years ago, the American Diabetes Association adopted a position that eliminates the use of the term "diabetic" as a noun from all of our communications, both verbal and written.
Other language used in your letter was even more disturbing. For example, stating that "diabetes can be ... a mere nuisance which if properly controlled, will not usually cause chronic problems," indicates a lack of awareness of the actual seriousness of the disease and the documented likelihood of complications.
The association realizes that you are attempting to offer a needed service to people with diabetes who are blind. However, we urge you to become more informed about the disease and other services available to people with diabetes. One way to do this is to become a member of the American Diabetes Association. For only $24.00 a year you can receive our comprehensive monthly magazine Diabetes Forecast. This consumer health magazine is for our lay members and is full of helpful articles and medical information, all based on the latest research and scientific and medical facts. The scientific and medical accuracy of Diabetes Forecast is ensured by an editorial board of diabetes experts who review each article for compliance with the association's Clinical Practice Recommendations (enclosed).
I have also enclosed a resource list indicating how and where to obtain American Diabetes Association materials in formats for the blind and visually impaired, as well as our general publications catalog.
In addition, I have enclosed membership information for your convenience. I sincerely hope that you will become a member and take other steps to become more informed in order to ensure that your readers are receiving accurate, up-to-date information.
Vice President, Programs
November 19, 1992
Dear Mr. Weinberg:
I have received a copy of your letter of October 30, 1992, which you sent to Mr. Ed Bryant, and I think that the patent misunderstanding that it contains should be cleared away. The National Federation of the Blind has from time to time invited the American Diabetes Association to work cooperatively to address the problems faced by blind diabetics. As far as I am able to determine, the American Diabetes Association decided to leave the solution of those problems to the National Federation of the Blind and its Diabetics Division.
In your letter you indicate that you think the language of Mr. Bryant's letter demonstrates that he does not appreciate the severity of the disease. Such a statement illustrates your lack of knowledge and understanding. Ed Bryant is a man who has built an organization to assist those who are facing the catastrophe of kidney failure and the other devastating effects of diabetes. His job (one he accomplishes with energy, skill, and a tremendous depth of understanding) is to help those who feel discouragement and despair find meaning and hope in their lives when too many others are urging them to believe that there is nothing left but deterioration and debilitation.
Mr. Bryant is himself a blind diabetic. He has suffered from severe kidney damage, and he has received a kidney transplant. Not only does he work with diabetes every day, but he also knows the disease firsthand.
Your letter suggests that the magazine edited by Mr. Bryant is not accurate, scientifically or medically. The Voice of the Diabetic has some of the best medical talent available to it currently practicing in the area of diabetes. I suspect that this magazine is at least as accurate as the publication you produce.
To speak plainly, Mr. Weinberg, one of the problems that we have in the National Federation of the Blind is that some of the advertising about diabetes is so tremendously negative. Blindness can be reduced to the level of a physical nuisance, but to the newly blinded it often appears to be a catastrophe. When the individual who has become blind also faces diabetes, which is frequently described as a catastrophe, the problem is compounded.
Unless individuals possess at least some hope, progress toward building a decent life is most unlikely. Ed Bryant has been given the task of finding a way to encourage those who are both blind and diabetic, and he does the job well.
Incidentally, your argumentative salvo about "people first" language is unimpressive. You say that "people are people and not diabetics." However, on your resource list, you are perfectly willing to denominate a class of people as "the blind." Consequently, it is obvious that you do not use "people first" language except in those instances when you feel like it.
I think the flap about "people first" language is mostly a bunch of nonsense. I am blind, and I don't mind being called blind. After all, that's what I am. I don't remember ever meeting a doctor who objected to being called a doctor. The analogies are legion, and your argument amounts to quibbling. I have suggested (humorously) to some people that we should not call the females of the species "women." They are "people" who possess female characteristics.
Leaving all of this to one side, I would like to renew the invitation of the National Federation of the Blind for the American Diabetes Association to cooperate with us in addressing the problems that blind diabetics have. I think the American Diabetes Association does some very worthwhile work. I think that your organization has some good advice that could help us. I think the National Federation of the Blind also does worthwhile work, and that we have some knowledge that can help your members.
I want to get beyond the argumentation stage of communication so that we may have substantive interaction. If it will help, I will change my form of speaking about those who suffer from diabetes. Perhaps there is more in the change in language than originally meets the eye. Please let me know whether there is a likelihood that we may discuss the possibility of joint projects.
Very truly yours,
Marc Maurer, President
National Federation of the Blind
National Federation of the Blind
November 30, 1992
Dear Mr. Weinberg:
Your letter dated October 30, 1992 stated that the president of your association, F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, M.D., and you are extremely concerned about the language I used in a letter seeking subscriptions to the Voice of the Diabetic as well as that used in the Voice itself. You wrote, "The way in which you describe diabetes leads us to believe that you have not had access to up- to-date information about the disease and some of the issues confronting people with diabetes. For example, people with diabetes prefer not to be labeled diabetic. They are people first, not the disease ...."
I have personally dealt with insulin dependent diabetes for more than 34 years. I am blind due to diabetic retinopathy; I have experienced renal failure and have undergone kidney transplantation. I know first hand the issues confronting people with diabetes. Furthermore, as editor of the Voice of the Diabetic, I am in constant communication with other diabetics, health care professionals such as physicians including specialists in diabetes, registered nurses, registered dietitians, and diabetes educators to name a few. I receive and review the information from the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes research organizations, and countless other documents as well. I have attended numerous seminars across the nation regarding the disease. Keeping myself well-informed is one of my duties as Editor of the Voice, which is part of the support and information network of the Diabetics Division of the National Federation of the Blind. I do not take lightly your opinion that I do not have access to up-to-date information and the issues confronting people with diabetes. Not only is such information available to me, I utilize the data to apprise Voice readers. Such communication demonstrates that diabetics have options. I ask you, sir, do you have diabetes and first hand knowledge of its ramifications?
Your statement about the use of the term diabetic is apparently a problem (perhaps denial) with leaders of the American Diabetes Association. Your problem is with lexicographers and semanticists, not me. I will not take issue with the use of words commonly found in dictionaries. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary (27th Edition) defines the word diabetic as "1. pertaining to or affected with diabetes. 2. a person with diabetes." The Merck Manual uses the word diabetic frequently to describe persons with diabetes. The word is used routinely in articles from scientific journals. The vast majority of newspaper clippings I receive concerning diabetes use the word diabetic; many are articles written by health care professionals. In conversations and written communications with health care providers, the word diabetic is used frequently and without hesitation. Participants in seminars on diabetes, including members of your association, have used the term diabetic in their presentations. Almost invariably individual PERSONS will say they are diabetic. I have served on the staff of a diabetic children's camp, and almost every young person present called himself/herself diabetic without a second thought. Had camp participants been "trained" not to use the word diabetic by health care professionals and others, they would not have used it. But, they did use the word because these adults had no problem with using this term.
I asked an insulin-dependent physician who specializes in treating diabetes, an ADA member no less, to comment on the use of the word diabetic. He said that grammatically there is nothing wrong with using the term diabetic or with referring to people who have diabetes as diabetics. In addition, he said, "Some have psychological hang-ups about using the term diabetic. Most of us who have diabetes could care less if we are called diabetics." When I remarked that the ADA doesn't use the term diabetic, he responded in disbelief stating, "It's just too much verbiage not to use the term diabetic." I find it interesting that your letter states, the ADA adopted a policy several years ago which eliminated the term diabetic. Out of curiosity I extracted a Diabetes Forecast from my literature library. This happened to be the July 1992 issue and on page 6 in the "Mail Call" column the word diabetic was used.
I am interested in documentation regarding your statement people with diabetes prefer not to be called diabetic. I am astonished that the ADA has eliminated the use of a word that is part of the accepted academic and common language. I resent your implication that my use of the word diabetic doesn't recognize that diabetics are people.
The third paragraph of your letter states "Other language used in your letter was even more disturbing." Using an example of a partial quote from me ("diabetes can be ... a mere nuisance which if properly controlled, will not usually cause chronic problems"), you stated the PARTIAL quote "indicates a lack of awareness of the actual seriousness of the disease and the documented likelihood of complications." What you have quoted is out of context. The whole sentence appearing in my letter states, "We at the NFB Diabetics Division know that diabetes can be quite devastating, or a mere nuisance which if properly controlled, will not usually cause chronic problems." How interesting that quoting the complete sentence changes the meaning entirely!
You apparently take issue with that part of my statement which refers to the FACT that diabetes can be a mere nuisance. Although it is well-known that diabetes causes catastrophic complications, I feel it is important for diabetics to know there are literally thousands of persons who have diabetes who do not experience severe problems, and for them it is a mere nuisance. A new book titled Diabetes: Beating the Odds by Elliot J. Rayfield, M.D. and Cheryl Solimini, illustrates my point. The news release for the book states, "Diabetes--while potentially fatal--can also be harmless and undisruptive if diagnosed quickly, treated correctly by the doctor, and managed carefully by the patient. It is even possible to prevent its onset altogether." Are you going to write those authors that the statement above "indicates a lack of awareness of the actual seriousness of the disease and documented likelihood of complications" as you have written?
Thank you for recognizing that I am "attempting to offer a needed service to people with diabetes who are blind." For seven years I have been attempting to educate not only blind diabetics but diabetics in general about the disease, its ramifications, and options. In seven years time the circulation of the Voice has grown from 600 to more than 49,000, which indicates that our publication is needed and used. I receive many compliments about the Voice from diabetics as well as from professionals, including members of your association.
You state, "However, we urge you to become more informed about the disease and other services available to people with diabetes. One way to do this is to become a member of the American Diabetes Association." Although I appreciate your soliciting my subscription to Diabetes Forecast, you should be aware that I already receive it and many other publications regarding diabetes. I am sure that ADA publications are accurate and are based on the latest scientific research. I periodically make Voice of the Diabetic readers aware of some of your publications and provide ordering instructions.
For your information, I am a past member of the ADA and was very active in my local chapter, giving considerable time and business expertise to your group. Although I was losing vision at the time, no one seemed to mind until the day I became blind. From that point on, I was never again invited to attend another American Diabetes Association function. I was never again asked to help with fund raising, membership recruitment, and so on. From the time I became noticeably blind, your association excluded me. Once again, a few years later, I joined your group because the local leaders seemed a bit more professional. Unfortunately, I still was never asked to participate in any ADA activities. The only thing asked of me was to make donations to help your association.
I, along with thousands of members of the National Federation of the Blind, know that blindness is a physical nuisance but does not preclude one from having a full life. It is well-documented that thousands of blind men and women enjoy life and are involved in the mainstream, raising families, working as educators, lawyers, production workers etc. Our Federation assists people with all aspects of blindness, providing support and information.
In 1986 Karen Mayry, president of our NFB Diabetics Division at the time, received and responded to a letter from Frank Vinicor, M.D., Chairman, Committee on Affiliate Associations of the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Vinicor seemed concerned about problematic areas which might make it difficult for individuals to become involved in ADA activities. Mrs. Mayry asked me to also respond in order to help document such problems. (Dr. Vinicor did not contact either Mrs. Mayry or myself.) Unfortunately, we find that exclusionary practices still exist in your association. I continue to receive reports from blind men and women who do not feel welcome at ADA meetings.
In 1990 ADA chapter offices received a questionnaire regarding a new product; one section was concerned with the use of the new product by diabetics with vision loss. The completed form was to be returned to Fred Meier, Affiliate Program Services, American Diabetes Association, Alexandria, Virginia. Because the document seemed to indicate an interest on the part of your association to find ways to assist diabetics who happen to be blind, I contacted Mr. Marc Maurer, President, National Federation of the Blind, regarding the possibility of a meeting between representatives of our Federation and Mr. Meier of your association for an exchange of ideas so the mission of each group could be discussed and to find ways we could work together. Mr. Meier accepted Mr. Maurer's invitation to meet with him, Mrs. Mayry, and myself. The meeting was to take place at our headquarters, located at the National Center for the Blind, Baltimore, Maryland. We had expectations that this conference would be fruitful because your association has a good name. Mrs. Mayry and I flew to Baltimore at the Federation's expense to participate in the meeting, but at meeting time, Mr. Meier did not show up. Moreover, he did not contact Mr. Maurer to let him know he would not be able to attend. Not informing Mr. Maurer's office demonstrated an extreme lack of courtesy and unprofessionalism on the part of the hierarchy of the ADA.
The aforementioned is lengthy. However, since you apparently take issue with my editorship of the Voice, my knowledge regarding diabetes and so on, an in-depth response was warranted. I am cognizant, as hopefully you are, that all diabetics, blind and sighted, will best be served by the American Diabetes Association's and the National Federation of the Blind's working together. Your association publishes comprehensive information regarding diabetes, and it is this important communication which helps to educate many more individuals who have the disease. Our Federation also publishes comprehensive information regarding all aspects of blindness which can be extremely helpful to many of your members. I urge you to "look at the entire picture" and contact us so we can productively work together. My door is always open to establish dialogue regarding our common mission of helping diabetics.
Editor, Voice of the Diabetic
From the Associate Editor: Illiteracy is not a problem plaguing the blind community exclusively. Interested as we all are in promoting Braille literacy, Federationists also find time to work on eradicating the general problem of illiteracy. Buck and Mary Ann Saunders of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, are two of these. Recently, Networks, a statewide literacy newsletter, carried a story about Mr. and Mrs. Saunders and their community service. Here it is:
Willis G. "Buck" and Mary Saunders, who live in Point Pleasant, are tutors and board members of the Mason County Literacy Council Program.
Buck has successfully tutored his student through Skillbook III of the Laubach Way to Reading. Buck's student is an active participant in the recently formed Student Support Group. Mary Ann's first student entered the local GED program. She has just matched with her second student.
Buck and Mary Ann are actively involved in the National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia, Huntington Chapter, where she serves as president and chairman of the Scholarship Committee and he as executive board member. Mary Ann proofreads Braille material for the West Virginia Braille Project at Huttonsville, West Virginia. Currently the Saunderses are negotiating to obtain print/Braille copies of the Laubach Way to Reading Teacher Manuals 1-4 and correlated readers from the West Virginia Library Commission.
Buck first learned to read Braille at the age of ten. Reluctant to learn Braille because it would set him apart as "different," he resisted all efforts to teach him. A wise teacher, knowing Buck loved mysteries, introduced him to mysteries in Braille by showing him a copy of The Yellow Room by Mary Roberts Rinehart. The rest is history.
Buck is a graduate of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind in Romney and of Marshall University in Huntington with studies in speech and psychology. He is employed by West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources at Lakin. Mary Ann is a graduate of Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind and Indiana State College (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania) at Indiana, Pennsylvania.
The Saunderses are members of the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church, where they first heard of the literacy program. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Teri (who is also a certified tutor) and Laura. Laura and her husband presented the Saunderses with their first grandchild this summer, Brandon Luke Bowen. Buck is an avid reader and a collector of old radio classics, particularly dramas. Mary Ann's hobbies include reading, especially health-related articles.
Tutoring for Buck and Mary Ann is a way of saying thanks for all the help the Federation and community have given in helping them lead normal, productive lives. They say, "The Federation instills the attitude `it can be done,' and the community provides the resources to do it."
NOTICE CONCERNING RESOLUTIONS
by Marc Maurer
The policies of the National Federation of the Blind are determined by resolutions adopted at the annual convention. The process goes like this: The Resolutions Committee (which is quite large, usually consisting of thirty-five or more) meets on the afternoon of registration day. This year it will be July 4, and as Monitor readers know, the place will be the Dallas-Fort Worth Hyatt in Texas. The meeting is open to all who want to come, and there are always close to a thousand in the audience.
There was a time when both the Resolutions Committee and our conventions were quite small, but that time has long since passed. A few years ago we initiated a new procedure, which prevailed through the 1992 convention. Under that procedure a resolution might come to the convention floor in one of two ways. It could either be reported out by the Resolutions Committee or it could come through the Board of Directors. Ordinarily the Resolutions Committee was the forum for discussion and action.
For a resolution to be considered by the Committee it had to be presented in writing to the Chairman no later than 2:00 on the afternoon of the Committee meeting. It would then be discussed and either 1) recommended to the convention for passage, 2) rejected by the Committee, with the right of the author to take it to the floor anyway, or 3) referred (with the consent of the author) to a subcommittee for redrafting. There would be another meeting of the Resolutions Committee later in the week to consider the redrafted resolutions.
Our conventions are now becoming so big and we are receiving so many resolutions that the procedure we have been using no longer seems workable. Therefore, the matter was considered at length by the National Board last fall, and it was decided that a new procedure would be tried at the 1993 convention in Dallas. Here is how it will work:
All resolutions should be presented in writing and should be in the hands of the President or the Chairman of the Resolutions Committee not later than two weeks before the day of the first meeting of the Resolutions Committee. Since the Committee will be meeting this year on July 4, the deadline date will be Sunday, June 20. If a resolution has not been received by the President or the Chairman of the Committee by June 20, it may still be considered if it is presented to the Chairman of the Committee by noon on the day of the Committee meeting (Sunday, July 4) and if it is signed by at least three members of the Resolutions Committee. Undoubtedly members of the Committee who are asked to sign resolutions that have not been presented on time will be reluctant to provide such signatures unless they are given a good reason why the deadline was not met.
When resolutions are considered by the Committee, they may still be recommended for passage; rejected, with the right of the author to take them to the floor (but only with the endorsement of five states); or (with the consent of the author) referred to a subcommittee for redrafting. However, the subcommittee for redrafting will only concern itself with style. It will make absolutely no change in substance, neither adding nor deleting. If the Resolutions Committee finds part of the proposed resolution so objectionable that it makes the resolution unacceptable, their alternatives are to pass it with the objectionable section included or to recommend against it.
As in previous years, there will be a second meeting of the Resolutions Committee in Dallas--but only to consider the stylistic changes made by subcommittees. Neither new resolutions nor changes in substance will be considered.
Resolutions may still come through the Board of Directors, but this method of presentation (as in the past) will be used sparingly. Most resolutions will be considered by the convention on the final day, but they may be considered at other appropriate times during the convention.
These changes in procedure should streamline the resolutions process while preserving its integrity. I think they will give us more time for substance and consideration of policy and eliminate lost motion and inefficiency. As we continue to grow in size, we must find ways to avoid getting bogged down in extraneous details without weakening our democratic character as a movement.
The Chairperson of the Committee is Ramona Walhof, 1301 South Capitol, Suite C, Boise, Idaho 83706. The other members of the Committee are: Seville Allen, Virginia; Christine Boone, New Mexico; Steven Booth, Massachusetts; Charles Brown, Virginia; Jerry Carcione, New Jersey; Frank Coppel, South Carolina; Glenn Crosby, Texas; Richard Edlund, Kansas; Bruce Gardner, Arizona; Norman Gardner, Arizona; Janet Gawith, Idaho; Sharon Gold, California; John Halverson, Missouri; Steve Handschu, Michigan; Allen Harris, Michigan; Tami Dodd Jones, Michigan; Scott LaBarre, Minnesota; Gary Mackenstadt, Washington; Sharon Maneki, Maryland; Edmund Meskys, New Hampshire; Ed McDonald, West Virginia; James Omvig, Arizona; Homer Page, Colorado; E. U. Parker, Mississippi; Bonnie Peterson, Wisconsin; Barbara Pierce, Ohio; Peggy Pinder, Iowa; Ben Brows, Washington; Eileen Rivera, Maryland; Fred Schroeder, New Mexico; Tom Stevens, Missouri; Larry Streeter, Nebraska; Ruth Swenson, Arizona; Andrew Virden, Minnesota; Barbara Walker, Nebraska; Gary Wunder, Missouri; and Ted Young, Pennsylvania.
NFB NETWORK: A NEW CONCEPT FOR LONG-DISTANCE SERVICE
by Sharon Gold
Years ago telephone use as we know it today was only a dream. Local calls were commonplace, but long-distance calls were a luxury and were saved for holidays and other special occasions with family and friends. As the years have passed, the use of the telephone has changed. No longer is a long-distance telephone call to a loved one considered a luxury limited to special days. Instead the telephone brings some families and friends separated by many miles together every day.
The telephone has also changed the business world. Through it individuals and businesses use the facsimile machine to transmit correspondence, purchase items, and send business- related documents to other individuals and businesses instantly. Further, the telephone is used to transmit data between both business and personal computers located in different corners of the country.
Over the last year an important new opportunity has been developed. Long-distance telephone service can now be used to benefit nonprofit organizations. The National Federation of the Blind has established NFB Network in cooperation with Convergent Communications of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Individuals and businesses selecting NFB Network as their long-distance carrier can donate up to ten percent of their monthly long-distance charges to the National Federation of the Blind and help to fund our efforts to solve the ever-growing problems of blind persons.
Convergent Communications guarantees that its basic rates are never higher than AT&T's Dial 1 rates and offers an additional ten-percent discount. Subscribers can choose to give this discount in full as a tax-deductible donation to the National Federation of the Blind, or they can choose to split the discount with the NFB, keeping five percent and donating five percent. Each month the subscriber's statement includes an accounting of the tax-deductible donation to the NFB.
Convergent Communications uses premium quality long-distance lines and the AT&T calling card validation database for NFB Network. If notified that a local telephone company charges a fee to switch a phone line to the NFB Network long-distance service, Convergent Communications will credit the subscriber's long- distance account with the amount of the change-over charge. Convergent Communications will also pay to return the subscriber to the old long-distance carrier if he or she is not satisfied with the NFB Network service.
Blindness is on the increase, and therefore the need to fund the National Federation of the Blind and its growing services to the blind has never been greater. The NFB Network is an outstanding way for Federationists, their families, and friends to make regular tax-deductible donations to the National Federation of the Blind while making personal phone calls and carrying on routine business.
An NFB Network recruiting program has been established. When completing their personal enrollment and when recruiting family members, friends, and business associates to the NFB Network long-distance service, Federationists are encouraged to complete the NFB Recruiter box located in the lower right-hand corner of the enrollment form. More and more Federationists are participating in this program. Subscribers find the telephone lines satisfactory and the new method of donating to the National Federation of the Blind effortless and effective.
To sign up on NFB Network, complete the self-addressed, postage-paid donor enrollment form (published in the inkprint edition) and mail it to Convergent Communications. If you wish to use the telephone to sign up for NFB Network, you may dial Convergent Communications at 800-848-2661. Convergent will do the rest.
[PHOTO: Portrait. CAPTION: Nani Fife.]
This month's recipes come from the tropical islands of Hawaii, where Nani Fife is the President of the NFB affiliate. The following are some of her favorite dishes:
2 cups canned salmon (1 1-pound can) with liquid
1/2 green pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup uncooked rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Method: Combine all ingredients. Turn into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
DAD'S FISH FILLET
1/2 cup instant potato flakes (crush slightly with rolling pin)
1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (optional)
1 packet garlic-cheese or other flavor dry salad dressing mix
2 tablespoons milk
1 pound fish fillets
Butter or oil for frying
Method: Mix potato flakes, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and dry salad dressing mix; set aside. Beat milk and egg together. Dip fish fillets in egg mixture, then coat with potato flake mixture. Pan fry in butter or oil 5 minutes on each side or until filets are browned and flake easily.
1 can cream of shrimp soup
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups fine noodles, crushed slightly
1 (6 1/2-ounce) can crab meat
1 (4 1/2-ounce) can shrimps, drained
1 5-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 can French-fried onion rings, crushed
Method: Combine soup, milk, cheese, and mayonnaise. Fold in uncooked noodles, crab meat, shrimps, and water chestnuts. Pour into greased two-quart casserole, cover, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle with onion rings and bake 10 minutes more or until noodles are tender.
PAPAYA AND CRAB MEAT SUPREME
1 (6 1/2-ounce) can crab meat
2/3 cup thinly sliced celery
2 ripe papayas
Juice of half a fresh lime
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
Parsley sprigs and lime wedges for garnish
Papaya seed dressing (recipe follows)
Method: Flake crab meat. Add celery and chill. Cut papayas in half and remove seeds. (Reserve seeds for dressing.) Place papaya halves on individual serving shells or salad plates. Squeeze lime juice over crab. Mix in almonds, then pile mixture in papaya halves. Serve well chilled. Garnish with sprigs of parsley, lime wedges, and papaya seed dressing.
PAPAYA SEED DRESSING
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup tarragon vinegar or wine
2 cups salad oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh papaya seeds
Method: In blender container combine sugar, salt, dry mustard, and wine or vinegar. Blend together, then gradually add salad oil and onion. When thoroughly blended, add papaya seeds and blend until seeds are the size of coarsely ground pepper. Makes three cups. This dressing is also delicious as a marinade for spareribs.
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2 large or 3 medium eggs, beaten
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced ripe mangoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or macadamias
Method: Cream shortening and sugar; add eggs. Sift flour with soda and salt: add alternately with mangoes and lemon juice to creamed mixture. Fold in nuts. Pour into a well-greased loaf pan and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup salad oil
1 cup avocado puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 1/2 cups biscuit mix
1/4 cup chopped nuts
Method: Combine eggs with sugar, salad oil, avocado puree, vanilla, baking soda, and pineapple juice. Beat about 3 minutes. Then fold in biscuit mix and nuts. Pour into one large or two small loaf pans which have been lightly greased. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
[PHOTO: Family portrait. CAPTION: Mary Ellen and Paul Gabias are pictured here with Joanne as a baby.]
Paul and Mary Ellen (Reihing) Gabias, now living in British Columbia, joyously report the birth of Jeffrey Paul at 7:33 a.m. on Christmas Eve. He weighed six pounds nine ounces and measured twenty inches. Everyone, including big sister Joanne, is doing well. Monitor readers will remember that before her marriage Mary Ellen Reihing worked for a number of years as Assistant Director of the Job Opportunities for the Blind Program at the National Center for the Blind. Paul currently serves as President of the National Association of Guide Dog Users. Congratulations to the entire Gabias family.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
I am interested in selling a Eureka computer with upgrade speech synthesizer in good condition. Asking $2,000 or best offer. Please contact John E. Neville at (604) 352-2424, British Columbia, Canada.
**Recorded Course on the Catholic Faith Available:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Free--a ten-lesson taped home study course on the Catholic Faith and our free catalog. Send for Lesson 1 on cassette tape and our catalog by contacting Catholic Inquiry for the Blind, 228 N. Walnut St., Lansing, Michigan 48933; (517)343-2500.
Sharon Gold writes to report the following:
On November 8, 1992, the National Federation of the Blind of California elected officers and three members of the Board of Directors to serve for the coming two years. Re-elected were Sharon Gold, president; Jim Willows, first vice president; John Bates, secretary; and Betty Hendricks, board member. Elected were Sandy Ritter, second vice president; Nick Medina, treasurer; and Donovan Cooper and Diane Starin, board members. The remaining four members of the board of directors (Ollie Cantos, Jana Littrell, Pat Munson, and Joy Smith) were elected in 1991.
**Abstracts Now Available:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The table of contents and abstracts of articles in the 1989 to 1991 volumes of the Journal of the American Statistical Association (JASA) are now available free of charge to the blind and to others with print-handicaps that prevent them from reading normal printed material. Specific articles will be recorded in full upon request by print-handicapped individuals.
To use this service, contact Margaret L. Y. Krieg, Studio Director of the Oak Ridge Unit of Recording for the Blind, The Margaret Despres Weinberg Center, 205 Badger Road, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830; (615) 482-3496.
Recording for the Blind, Inc. is a non-profit organization that makes free loans of recorded educational material solely for the blind and others who cannot see well enough to read normal printed material.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
For sale: Kurzweil personal reader, Model 7315 with automatic scanner, Version 2.1 software, asking $4,600. If interested, please call Larry McCreary at (919) 766-1237 after 5:00 p.m. EST.
**New Chapter Organized:
Monitor readers will remember the brief article that appeared in last month's issue of the Braille Monitor which welcomed seven new chapters into the California affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind. The December 3, 1992, edition of "The Clipboard," the weekly publication circulated to affiliate leaders by the NFB of California office, carried the following announcement:
"Neither rain nor sleet nor snow..." can keep Federationists away from a meeting of the National Federation of the Blind. So it was that those attending the December 2 organizational meeting of the Southern Alameda County Chapter braved the first big rainstorm of the year to gather at the Hayward Public Library to discuss the need for an NFB chapter, adopt a constitution, and elect officers. The President of our newest chapter is Barbara Baack. (Federationists will remember meeting Barbara in New Orleans, where she stepped to a microphone on the final day of the Convention to express her gratitude for the NFB and to say that the Convention had given her hope for a life as a blind person. She concluded by playing "God Bless America" on her harmonica while conventioneers broke into song.) Others elected to lead the Southern Alameda County Chapter are Pat Taylor, Vice President; Joann Howard, Secretary; Marilyn York, Treasurer; and Jeanine Rouiller, Board Member.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
I have for sale a Mboss-1 Braille embosser with quietizer cabinet and Centronics-type parallel interface cable. It prints ten characters per second, produces high-quality Braille, and is reliable. Asking $900 plus shipping costs. If interested, contact Annette Nowakowski, 575 West Madison Street, Apt. 511, Chicago, Illinois 60661; (312) 902-3529.
[PHOTO: David Hyde standing at microphone. CAPTION: David Hyde.]
David Hyde, who is the first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, is a consumer access specialist for the Talking Book and Braille Services of the Oregon State Library. Recently David was elected president of the State Library's local of the Oregon Public Employees Union. Congratulations to David and to his union local. The members have made a wise choice.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
I have an Apollo Portareader CCTV with board for sale. It is in excellent condition. I am asking $500 or best offer. I also have a Smith-Corona cartridge electric large-type typewriter Model 2200 with case for $75 and a Smith-Corona manual large-type typewriter with case for $45 or best offer. If interested, contact Olivia Ostergaard, 2740 W. Olive St., Sp. 104, Fresno, California 93722; (209) 486-2126.
Sharon Gold, president of the National Federation of the Blind of California, writes to report as follows:
During the early morning hours of December 7, 1992, Charles Galloway died at his daughter's home in Martinez, California, following a long illness. Charlie and his late wife Melba were members and leaders of the National Federation of the Blind for many, many years. A student at the California School for the Blind, Charlie was one of Dr. Perry's last students. Charlie shared the distinction of being one of the "Perry Boys" with Dr. tenBroek, and he worked with Dr. tenBroek for the advancement of our movement.
Following his graduation from CSB, Charlie went to the University of California, where he graduated and enrolled in law school. The responsibility of a family made employment a necessity, so Charlie left law school to become a vendor in the California Business Enterprises Program. Charlie and Melba lived in Martinez, where they raised two daughters, who were Charlie's pride and joy. A man of principle and character, Charlie stood with the Federation when would-be destroyers tried their hardest to curtail the work of the NFB and put an end to the organized blind movement.
For more than forty years Charlie and Melba kept the Federation alive in Contra Costa County, and Charlie served on the NFB of California Board of Directors from 1979 through 1985. He declined to stand for re-election in 1985 because Melba was seriously ill and needed his full-time attention.
Following Melba's death Charlie traveled to Denver to attend and take part in the 1989 NFB Convention. Shortly after he returned home, he suffered a stroke and, although he made some recovery, he was never again well. No matter how ill he was, Charlie always kept attendance at chapter meetings and monetary contributions to the movement high in his priorities. When our Mount Diablo Chapter held its chapter meeting and barbecue last August and invited members from surrounding chapters, everyone was pleased to see and visit with Charlie.
We shall miss our long-time friend and colleague Charlie Galloway, but the blind of California and the country benefit and will continue to benefit from his efforts and leadership.
**Winnie-the-Pooh Calendars Available:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, and all their friends are back, to take you through 1993 in this delightful print/Braille children's calendar. Featuring poems, pictures, and vignettes from the four classic Milne-Shepard books, this perennial favorite has a fresh new look, sure to brighten the walls--and the days--of Pooh fans young and old.
The actual print calendar is reassembled with see-through plastic sheets containing poems, quotes, and holidays on the top half, above the spiral binding. The traditional print face of the calendar has the Braille dates and days of the week embossed directly over the print. And something special is included for the first time--an easy-to-assemble mask of Piglet and one of Pooh. The perfect way to spend the year with "the best bear in all the world."
To order this print/Braille children's calendar, send prepayment of $7.95 (same price as print calendar) to National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for state and local government facilities covered under Title II of the ADA in the Federal Register. The NPRM proposes new accessibility guidelines for judicial, legislative, and regulatory facilities, detention and correctional facilities, residential housing, public rights of way, public telephones, sales and service counters, and airports. The Access Board seeks public comment on the proposed guidelines and other areas such as entrances, exempt areas, structures and facilities, assistive listening systems, assembly areas, and signage.
The Access Board will accept written public comment on the proposed guidelines for ninety days following the publication date. In addition, the Access Board plans to hold public hearings in Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; Washington, D.C.; and St. Louis, Missouri, in February and March, 1993, to receive oral testimony on the proposed guidelines.
The final guidelines are expected to be published in the summer of 1993. Copies of the proposed guidelines may be obtained by contacting the Access Board: Access Board, 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20008; phone 202-272-5434 (voice), 202-272-5449 (TDD), 800-USA-ABLE (Voice/TDD), 202-272- 5447 (fax).
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
For sale, 20,000-word dictionary, in very good condition. Ask $100. Also for sale, Cooking for Two, in two volumes, $5. Please write in Braille or on tape: Laurie Marsch, 211 Southbrooke Drive, Waterloo, Iowa 57702; or phone 319-232-9750 (not collect).
Kenneth Silberman, president of the Southern Maryland Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, reports that on December 5, 1992, the following officers were elected: Kenneth Silberman, president; Polly Johnson, vice president; Gerelene Womack, secretary; Andre Robinson, treasurer; and Alfred Wilson and Mary Skattie, board members.
**You Can't Keep a Federationist Down:
The Santa Barbara County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California reports the following:
The October business meeting of the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the NFB of California was delayed due to an injury suffered by President Joy Smith. While Joy was taking her daily two-and-a-half-mile walk, she was struck down by an automobile illegally driving through a neighborhood crosswalk. The impact threw Joy into the street and broke her leg just below the knee. She suffered numerous bruises and scrapes in addition to the broken leg. Fortunately the accident was witnessed by a family friend, who called the paramedics. They responded quickly and transported Joy to the hospital, which was close by. The irony is that the accident occurred just one day after White Cane Safety Day was proclaimed in Santa Barbara County.
Despite the accident, and only one week late, on October 27, 1992, the regular business meeting of the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California was called to order by President Joy Smith, who presided over the meeting in both good spirits and a sturdy wheelchair. The injuries she had sustained harmed neither her vigor nor her determination.
The election results were as follows: Joy Smith, president; Eilleen Wogan, vice president; Dinah Smith, treasurer; Marie Wells, recording secretary; Jill Ballard, corresponding secretary; and Edith Meyer and Gen Beer, members at Large.
[PHOTO: Group portrait. CAPTION: Up With People Volunteers are pictured here with NFB of South Dakota officers and members.]
**Up With People Volunteers Make Themselves Useful:
Karen Mayry, President of the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota, reports that the affiliate's office staff was host to six members of the Up With People performing group during September of 1992. She says, "After contacting us to ask if we could use their services, the students joined us to help with selling tickets and stuffing Diabetics Division mailing envelopes. As part of their nationwide tour, Up With People participants offer community service to organizations in each locality where they perform. Students in our group came from Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, and the United States. It was a great experience for all of us."
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Braille 'n Speak 640 with adapter, original cable, and manuals (Braille and cassette). The latest update is June 26, 1992. I am including the carrying case for the original Braille 'n Speak, which also fits the 640. Asking $1,050. If interested, contact Denise Avant after 7:00 p.m. during the week at (312) 878-9518; or write 5300 N. Sheridan Rd., Apt. 401, Chicago, Illinois 60640.
The following comment and poem appeared in the Winter 1992, issue of the Braille Spectator, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. The author is Ron Metenyi. When we found it, it semed appropriate to save it to end this issue of the Braille Monitor. Here it is:
I have a conceit that every month has a distinctive personality, natural wonders, and human traditions peculiar to it. I've written some longer love poems to April and October and a fair amount about August. With the first two it's a straight love affair. With August it's a complex love/hate relationship. Anyway, I've thought about February and how we mistreat it, giving it the dubious distinctions of Groundhog Day, Leap Year, a deficit of days, and constant mispronunciations of its name (people say Febuary, or Febooary, or Febary, but seldom February). Here's what February might say if he could talk:
I am February, a month of much ill fame. People call me bad things, then mispronounce my name. Even adding Leap Year, I always come up short, And I don't get the playoffs of any major sport. Think how you would feel, if you were treated so; Let that explain my freezing rain, cold wind, and driving snow.