Session of 1999
House Concurrent Resolution No. 5010
By Committee on Education

  9             A  CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION requesting the State Board of Ed-
10             ucation to conduct a state-wide study of blind pupils to assess the
11             literacy skills and reading speed levels of such pupils and to implement
12             a plan to remedy any deficits or declinations therein.
14             WHEREAS,  Literacy skills continue to increase in importance and
15       relevance to employment security and to self sufficiency of Kansas citizens
16       and are particularly important in insuring that the coming generations of
17       Kansans who are blind or legally blind will be able to maintain employ-
18       ment and self-sufficiency; and
19             WHEREAS,  Over the past decade, increased emphasis on main-
20       streaming and total inclusion has changed the manner and settings in
21       which many legally and totally blind Kansas students are educated; the
22       recently adopted reauthorization of the federal Individuals with Disabil-
23       ities Education Act (IDEA) places an expanded emphasis on the impor-
24       tance of Braille and literacy training for persons who are blind; and
25             WHEREAS,  Data available in Kansas tracking the literacy levels of
26       blind students suggest that such literacy levels may be declining, but the
27       data have not to date been collected across sufficient samples of students
28       or through use of statistically valid procedures; advances in assistive tech-
29       nology allowing computer text to be easily, promptly, and efficiently trans-
30       lated into Braille, or into paperless Braille displayed on a tactile computer
31       display, makes Braille a more practical form of literacy for persons who
32       are blind than ever before; and
33             WHEREAS,  It is essential for Kansas educators to be aware of any
34       deficits or declining trends in literacy or Braille literacy of blind Kansas
35       students in order that appropriate corrective actions can be planned and
36       taken, but no systematic enforcement of the Kansas Braille Law has been
37       implemented by the State Board of Education: Now, therefore,
38             Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Kansas,
39       the Senate concurring therein: That the Legislature, in recognition of
40       the facts contained in the preamble of this resolution, hereby requests
41       the State Board of Education to conduct, or cause to be conducted, a
42       state-wide study to assess the literacy and reading speed of blind pupils
43       and legally blind pupils on a grade level basis; such study should include
44       an assessment for each pupil as to whether the most effective and appro-
45       priate communications media, such as Braille or large print, are being
46       used; while any emotional, learning, mental, or physical disabilities ex-
47       perienced by blind or legally blind students should be noted, it is the
48       intent of this resolution that such multiply disabled blind students be
49       included in the study herein requested; and
50             Be it further resolved: That by no later than January 31, 2000, the
51       State Board of Education, having evaluated data from the study requested
52       in the foregoing resolving clause, is urged to issue a plan with specific
53       dated milestones for purposes of correcting any deficits or declinations
54       in literacy or reading speed levels identified among blind Kansas students
55       as compared with their grade level sighted peers; and
56             Be it further resolved: That the Secretary of State is hereby directed
57       to transmit enrolled copies of this resolution to the State Board of Edu-
58       cation and to the Commissioner of Education, 120 S.E. 10th Avenue,
59       Topeka, Kansas 66612-1182.