The official policy statements of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa are established every year with annual resolutions adopted at the state convention.
The resolutions committee meets early during the convention. Each proposed resolution is read, spoken for by the authoring member, considered, and then ultimately withdrawn or recommended for passage or disapproval by the Convention.
RESOLUTION 2022-01: Regarding Termination of Agreement between the Iowa Department for the Blind And the Iowa Department of Education for the ordering of and payment for Braille Instructional Materials
WHEREAS, Studies have shown that blind and visually impaired individuals who are proficient in Braille are more highly educated, have better jobs, and are more financially self-sufficient than their non-braille using counterparts; and
WHEREAS, the Iowa Legislature had demonstrated its understanding of the importance of Braille instruction and proficiency through the passage of a Braille literacy bill in April, 1993, which states that “… proficiency in Braille reading and writing is essential for satisfactory educational progress for a visually impaired student who is not able to communicate in print with the same level of proficiency as a student of otherwise comparable ability at the same grade level”; andWHEREAS, the Iowa Council of the United Blind (ICUB) and the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa (NFBI)—the premier advocacy groups for blind and lo vision Iowans—historically have strongly endorsed and supported the teaching of braille to blind students; and
WHEREAS, for over 30 years the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB)and the Iowa Department of Education (IDE) have partnered to provide a reliable source of high-quality braille educational materials to blind students attending Iowa schools K-12; and
WHEREAS, the agreement between the IDB and the IDE had provided a streamlined process for purchasing Braille Instructional Materials and distributing funds through which the IDB could receive payment for these materials that had been ordered; and
WHEREAS, in the summer of 2022 IDE abruptly terminated this contractual agreement with the IDB, thereby negatively impacting the provision of and payment for timely Braille instructional materials to blind students; and
WHEREAS, Iowa’s school systems will now be required to expend their own funds and then request reimbursement from the IDE, which will place additional administrative burdens on the schools for the ordering, payment, and reimbursement for materials ordered; and
WHEREAS, the IDB will incur additional administrative and personnel costs to invoice schools and process payments for materials ordered.
Now, therefore, BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, in convention assembled this 10th day of September, 2022, in the City of Urbandale, Iowa, that the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa strongly urges IDE and IDB work in a meaningful way to implement a reasonable and efficient system for providing and funding Braille educational materials to schools and their blind students similar to that which was in place until the summer of 2022; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa work in concert with the Iowa Council of the United Blind to lend our full support of a new partnering of IDB and IDE with regard to Braille instructional materials as set forth in the resolutions of both organizations; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa present copies of this resolution to the Director of the Iowa Department for the Blind, the Director of the Iowa Department of Education, the President of the Iowa Council of the United Blind, and to the Governor of the State of Iowa within two weeks of its passage, and to the entire Legislature following the elections.