The Reintroduced Bill is for the Improvement of Higher Ed-Tech Access for Students with Disabilities
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-second District, and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, on Thursday, reintroduced a bipartisan bill aimed at ensuring students with disabilities approach indistinguishable educational materials from non-disabled students.
This is the second time the legislators presented the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act, or the AIM HIGH Act.
Inquired as to why the bill didn’t push ahead of the first run-through, in the 115th Congress, Courtney said it was presented late in the session while Roe credited it to a bustling administrative agenda with “just such a significant number of days on the schedule.”
The AIM HIGH Act would make an independent, 19-member commission to create voluntary guidelines for accessibility of “electronic instructional materials and related technologies” utilized in higher education. This could help individuals who are sight-and hearing-impaired, for instance.
The commission would incorporate individuals with disabilities, higher education administrators, and engineers and manufacturers of instructional materials.
The bill doesn’t require any government spending, and since the guidelines are voluntary, the legislation doesn’t include any incentives or punishments.
“At the present time, with the developments in innovation, there truly are some energizing opportunities to truly open the entryways of higher education for people that didn’t exist, even as of late as 10 years prior,” Courtney said.
He included that while this will assist individuals with defeating obstacles, it’s “a vibe decent bill” yet one that will address workforce needs in the United States, given low joblessness and the number of employment opportunities all through the nation. He thinks managers are acknowledging they should cast a more extensive net.
Past helping students with disabilities improve access to higher education, Courtney considers this to be as one that would spur innovation of technologies that would support these students.
Courtney noticed that others in Congress are moving toward issues of educational accessibility from an obligatory outlook, yet he’s less certain that will endure the authoritative procedure, so this bill is another option. He considers him to be Roe’s bill as the most plausible.
One change from a year ago’s bill was the evacuation of safe harbour securities, implying that schools giving materials that fit in with the voluntary guidelines would fit the bill for the protected harbour from risk in connection to commitments under certain different laws.
Courtney said this arrangement “got some static” a year ago, and he’s searching for a variant of the bill that is “the most comprehensive, from a political point of view.”
Roe said the underlying speculation behind the arrangement was, “We needed to hold this carrot out there, to state, ‘In the event that you pursue every one of these guidelines that will be put, at that point you’ll be secured,'” yet he said he bargained this time.
“Joe is extraordinary to work with, and he has been truly A+ on this,” Roe said of Courtney.
The two have gotten support for this legislation from the National Federation of the Blind, Software and Information Industry Association, Association of American Publishers, EDUCAUSE and the American Council on Education.
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