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Digital Accessibility In Education

Give All Students Equal Access

Background

The internet and online tools became commonplace in the role of education in the 1990’s. In just a few years, the utilities for teaching changed, the capabilities for students to learn expanded, and even the administration of education became more scalable and efficient.

Technology promised education greater access for all students and better tools for teaching with the expectation that these emerging technologies would provide students living with disabilities more opportunities. And while this did happen, not all schools paid attention to the needs of all students, and even the schools paying attention did not always monitor the accessibility of all the technology they used. Now, more than 20 years later, many students do not have full access to all education materials, all classroom management tools, and in some cases do not have access to research a school and connect with the administration.

Accessible360 works with educational institutions to provide greater access to all students. Our process provides a roadmap to provide equal access to all students understanding the unique needs of these types of organizations including the myriad of 3rd party vendors in education and complex budget cycles.

Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Claims

The Office for Civil Rights monitors and enforces digital accessibility for any level of public school, K-12 and postsecondary, and any school accepting Federal financial assistance of any kind.

The accessibility of educational technology is governed by rules provided by both the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) Title II and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973). The Office for Civil Rights enforces both the ADA and Section 504, and their mission is to protect all students from possible discrimination and do all they can to ensure equitable educational opportunities for all students. While few schools are intentionally discriminating against students with disabilities, the OCR is actively protecting student civil rights and encouraging schools to actively consider the needs of these students when selecting technology to support education and learning.

Accessible360 supports school districts respond to OCR complaints in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Our consultants guide your team through the technical components in each item of a complaint, determine the resources and steps necessary to satisfy the requirements and work directly with the school administrators and legal counsel in developing a satisfactory agreement for all parties.

Example OCR Case

Youngstown State University, Youngstown Ohio

May 2013: YSU receives OCR complaint specific to lack of accessibility of the school website and student learning tools Dec 2014: YSU and OCR reach agreement to make the digital tools used by Youngstown State University accessible for all students

Terms of the OCR agreement:

  • Develop and publish one consistent notice of nondiscrimination ensuring compliance with Section 504 and Title II.
  • Provide notice of a Web accessibility policy
  • Develop an accessibility remediation plan
  • Provide training to staff responsible for webpage and content development
  • Repair all accessibility issues within website and e-learning platforms
  • Develop a monitoring plan to prevent future accessibility issues
  • Certification of website and e-learning accessibility from a third-party consultant
  • Document their efforts and provide the OCR with reports
  • Ensure accessibility within campus computer labs including the provision of assistive technology

Find out how A360 can help

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