Resolutions Adopted at the 1995 Annual Convention
WHEREAS, practical experience has shown that rehabilitation services to blind people are best provided through a distinct, identifiable agency for the blind which is separate from the general rehabilitation agency; and
WHEREAS, ever since Services for the Blind (SSB) was transferred from the Minnesota Department of Human Services to the then Department of Jobs and Training (DJT), government officials have made repeated assurances to the effect that SSB would never be combined with the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS); and
WHEREAS, DJT, now the Minnesota Department of Economic Security (MDES) is proposing, as of November 1, to undergo a "business realignment;" and
WHEREAS, realignment plans call for the creation of a single Rehabilitation Branch, which would contain SSB and the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS); and
WHEREAS, MDES officials claim that the new realignment represents "no change" in the services provided to blind Minnesotans; and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind, which has too often seen services for the blind gobbled up by similar organizational maneuvers in other states, is not so easily taken in by this false assertion; and
WHEREAS, it is clear to the blind that SSB as an agency will not be permitted to function in any department of state government as a separate, distinct, and independent service delivery vehicle for the blind with control over its budget; NOW, THEREFORE
BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota, in convention assembled this fourteenth day of October, 1995, in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, that this organization reaffirm its position that the highest quality of rehabilitation services to the blind can only be provided through an independent, separate, and identifiable agency for the blind with its own autonomous budget; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this organization call upon the Governor and the State Legislature to remove Services for the Blind from the Minnesota Department of Economic Security and to elevate the agency to a Department, reporting directly to the Governor and the Legislature.
Resolution unanimously adopted.
WHEREAS, Minnesota's Braille Literacy law requires that all legally blind children shall have the opportunity to learn Braille; and
WHEREAS, in order to provide the highest quality of Braille instruction to blind children in Minnesota, it is vital for vision teachers to possess basic competence in this critical tool of literacy for the blind; and
WHEREAS, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has developed a Braille Competency Test which serves as a tool to measure basic competence in the reading and writing of Braille; and
WHEREAS, blind people who are proficient Braille users have found the NLS Braille Competency Test easy to pass; and
WHEREAS, in our estimation, this test does a good job of measuring basic competence in Braille; and
WHEREAS, House File 1921, introduced by Representative Mindy Greiling, requires that in order to receive a license to teach blind children in Minnesota, a teacher must meet minimum Braille competency requirements; and
WHEREAS, it has come to our attention that some vision teachers are actively opposing this requirement; NOW, THEREFORE
BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota, in convention assembled this fifteenth day of October, 1995, in the city of Minneapolis, that this organization commend Representative Mindy Greiling for introducing House File 1921, a bill requiring teachers of the blind to meet minimum Braille competency standards; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon vision teachers throughout Minnesota who teach Braille to blind children to stop opposing House File 1921 and to take the NLS Braille Competency Test to discover for themselves that it is indeed a valid measure of their ability to read and write Braille.
Resolution unanimously adopted.