FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 24, 2014
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
National Federation of the Blind Applauds Settlement with PARCC, Inc.
Settlement Will Make K-12 Assessments Accessible to Blind Students
New Milford, New Jersey (February 24, 2014): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today applauded a settlement agreement reached among itself, its affiliate organizations the NFB of New Jersey and the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), the parents of a blind high school student in New Milford (named in the suit as S.H.) and PARCC, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that was established in 2013 by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a consortium currently made up of eighteen states, including New Jersey and the District of Columbia. The settlement resolves a suit filed in late January by the NFB, its affiliates, and the parents of the student because assessment tests created by PARCC, Inc. that will be field tested at S.H.’s high school and other locations this spring were not accessible to students who are blind. Under the terms of the settlement, PARCC will make its practice tests accessible to blind students by the time the tests are deployed in Spring 2014, and will consult with the NFB to ensure that all subsequent practice tests and assessments will be available at the time of deployment in accessible formats used by blind test takers, including Braille files for embossing in hard-copy Braille or via electronic access methods such as refreshable Braille displays and text-to-speech screen reader software.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Blind students are far too often forced to wait for equal access to educational materials, and as a result end up lagging far behind their sighted peers in academics. This important settlement will address that problem by ensuring that PARCC’s assessments and practice tests are accessible to blind students at the same time that they are deployed to all students. We applaud PARCC’s commitment to working with us to ensure that blind students are not left behind in the academic assessment process and will be able to receive timely and accurate measurement of their academic performance.”
The NFB, NFB of New Jersey, NOPBC, and the parents of S.H. were represented in this matter by Jayne Wesler of the New Jersey firm Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler; Scott LaBarre of the Denver firm LaBarre Law Offices; and Dan Goldstein, Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum, and Trevor Coe of the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein & Levy.