APH Press Release
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Leslie Knox, Director of Marketing & Communications
Gary Mudd, VP of Government & Community Affairs
APH Hosts Johnny Collett for Visit and Tour
OSERS Assistant Secretary Gets First Hand Look at APH Products and Services
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 7, 2018) – For Johnny Collett it was a homecoming of sorts. As the past state director of special education for Kentucky and a graduate of Georgetown College (Georgetown, KY), Collett is familiar with the Bluegrass state, but his visit to the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) provided a new opportunity for him to see, first hand, the range of products and services produced in Kentucky for children and adults who are blind or visually impaired.
“Secretary Collett was very well informed about the services offered by APH” commented Gary Mudd, APH VP of Government and Community Affairs. “Because of his background in education, he really understands the challenges faced by the students we serve and was very supportive of our mission.”
Collett is a strong advocate for laying the groundwork for academic success through ensuring that the appropriate resources are available for any student to succeed. In a recent interview with ONEder, Collett stated, “As we think about improving academic achievement and outcomes for students with disabilities, we must talk about both high expectations and appropriate supports. That may seem simple, but I would argue that we may not be as intentional around this as we think we are.”
During his visit to APH, Collett toured the APH Museum and plant, and had a chance to interact with some of the new technology being developed to craft products for those who are blind or visually impaired. He also spoke in depth with members of the APH team about The Act to Promote the Education of the Blind (The Act), a federal law enacted in 1879. Through The Act, The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) has a responsibility to implement and administer a nationwide program to develop, manufacture, study, and improve educational learning materials for those who meet the federal definition of blindness.
The APH staff also shared information about the Keep the Promise campaign. Keep the Promise is an APH initiative designed to educate lawmakers and other influencers on the importance of increasing the Federal Quota funds to ensure every child has an equal chance to succeed. Under the current Federal Quota system, funding is allocated to each state and outlying area annually for the purchase of braille/large print textbooks, braillewriters/braille paper, screen reading software, tactile tools and other educational products. In fiscal year 2017, the per capita allocation was $269. As a comparison, it is estimated that the cost of learning tools for a 10th grade physics class is approximately $1500 for a student who is sighted, versus over $36,000 for a student who is blind. Increasing the Federal Quota allotment is vital to ensure that students with vision loss are prepared to enter the 21st century workforce.
At the conclusion of the visit, Collett invited the APH leadership to visit the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) for further discussion about the challenges faced by students and APH’s work to break down barriers for those who are blind or visually impaired.
About American Printing House for the Blind
The American Printing House for the Blind is a worldwide leader in designing innovative lifelong learning solutions for children and adults who are blind or visually impaired. In this fast-changing world, we believe in the power and necessity of learning to open the doors to educational success, satisfying employment, social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal well-being. We level the learning playing field by providing specialized technology, materials, products, and services that are essential for education and life. The American Printing House for the blind is headquartered at 1839 Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, please visit www.aph.org.