College classes are hard enough, but imagine the difficulty in not being able to see the reading material.
Democrat Representative Donna Seidel (D-Wausau) is reintroducing legislation that would help more students in the University of Wisconsin System and the state's Technical Colleges get through school and earn their degrees. Seidel says too many Wisconsin students with disabilities simply don't have access to textbooks and other written materials they need to do their course work.
"We've heard of too many incidents when books that are needed in an alternative format are not received until weeks into the semester and sometimes not at all."
Seidel says sight-challeged students have already overcome many challenges, and not having the appropriate learning materials is yet another obstacle. Her proposal would ensure that students get the materials they need in a timely manner, giving them a more level playing field.
"This means for the blind and for those with other physical or learning disabilities, materials will be available in formats like Braille, large print and audio."
Seidel's measure requires publishers to provide all college materials in an electronic format so that they can be converted to meet the specific needs of the students. The bill also establishes a repository so that the materials can be produced more efficiently.
Looking forward, Seidel says Wisconsin can eventually generate revenue as other states draft similar legislation, and use the resources already being produced here in the Badger State. Seidel and Senator Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie) are looking for cosponsors to the bill.