FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 1996
Lowry signs Braille bill to help blind
and low-vision students
OLYMPIA -- With unanimous legislative support, Gov. Mike Lowry
today signed a bill to emphasize Braille reading and writing instruction
in public schools for blind and low-vision students.
"I am delighted that this bill will help blind and low-vision
students learn Braille in our school system," the governor
said. "This instruction will increase literacy and the potential
for blind students to pursue advanced education and employment
Lowry promoted the legislation as part of his 1996 executive request
During the past 30 years, special education for blind and visually
impaired students has shifted from teaching Braille to using other
technologies, such as magnification equipment, audio-taped materials
and computer equipment. But state analysts said blind and low-vision
students using these methods were not developing critical skills
in reading and writing.
House Bill 1078 requires that competent Braille instruction be
emphasized as the primary learning media for blind and low-vision
students, unless the nature of the student's disability or the
parent or guardian prohibits it.
Lowry said the State Board of Education already has begun to establish
teacher competency requirements for instructors of blind students,
and plans to have the process completed by the time the new law
takes effect in June.
For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790. This press release is available in Braille and large print formats.