- As education continues its digital transition, school districts must ensure materials and resources are accessible to students across a range of disabilities.
- District Administration cites the case of Massachusetts' Northborough and Southborough public schools, which was required in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to submit regular reports on its accessibility progress following a complaint and an investigation.
- Districts should make sure there's a clear understanding of accessibility laws, undergo accessibility audits, and develop action plans to improve and regularly undergo future audits, District Administration reports.
Accessibility has received considerable attention at the higher ed level, where the Campus Computing Project's Casey Green has said that assessments of digital resources and services for disabled users continue to show a "lawsuit waiting to happen" at many colleges and universities. But K-12 schools and districts should be vigilant on the issue, as well.
The influx of devices and digital curricula into classrooms presents new challenges for meeting the needs of students who are blind or have low vision, colorblind, deaf or hard of hearing, and so on. This necessitates making accessibility one of the first things vendors are asked about when considering a new tool or resource. Regular audits can further help to identify specific areas where attention is needed, though it's also probably best to have plans for covering all bases in place to begin with. In that case, the audits merely back up your school or district's preparedness, providing one more positive to tout to the community.