Release Date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Sends Message to America’s Teachers

NOOKs in the Classroom Discriminate Against Blind Students

Baltimore, Maryland (October 10, 2012): The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people and the leading advocate for equal access to education and technology, commented today on Barnes & Noble’s recently announced “Fall Educator Appreciation Week” promotion, which is designed to promote the use of the company’s NOOK e-readers in the classroom.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We have a critically important message for America’s teachers and school administrators.  We know that you are deeply committed to the full and equal education of all of your students, including those who are blind, as evidenced by your support of educational concepts like Universal Design for Learning.  For this reason, we ask that you heavily consider the accessibility of technology when making decisions about whether to incorporate it into the classroom.  Technologies that are fully accessible to the blind will also benefit other students who cannot read print or have difficulty doing so, including students with certain learning disabilities and those whose native language is not English.  Federal law requires, and blind students and their parents demand, that the technology that is used in the classroom provide the same content and the same benefits to blind students as to all other students.  The Barnes & Noble NOOK e-readers available to date do not currently meet this standard, nor do we have evidence as to whether the newest product line, which begins shipping this fall, will do so.  Please stand up for your students and join us in demanding that Barnes & Noble make the necessary changes to its e-reading devices so that they can be used by all students.  Until it does so, please tell Barnes & Noble that these devices are not appropriate educational tools.”