Establishment of Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities.
SEC. 772. ESTABLISHMENT OF ADVISORY COMMISSION ON ACCESSIBLE INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS IN POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES.
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall establish a commission to be known as the Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities (in this section referred to as the ‘Commission’).
(A) TOTAL NUMBER OF MEMBERS.—The Commission shall include not more than 19 members, who shall be appointed by the Secretary in accordance with in subparagraphs (B) and (C).
(B) MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION.—The Commission members shall include one representative from each of the following categories:
(i) The Office of Postsecondary Education of the Department.
(ii) The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the Department.
(iii) The Office for Civil Rights of the Department.
(iv) The Library of Congress National Digital Information and Infrastructure Preservation Program Copyright Working Group.
(v) The Association on Higher Education and Disability.
(vi) The Association of American Publishers.
(vii) The Association of American University Presses.
(viii) The National Council on Disability.
(ix) Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
(x) National organizations representing individuals with visual impairments.
(xi) National organizations representing individuals with learning disabilities.
(C) ADDITIONAL MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION.—The Commission members shall include two representatives from each of the following categories:
(i) Staff from institutions of higher education with demonstrated experience teaching or supporting students with print disabilities, including representatives from both two-year and four-year institutions of higher education of different sizes.
(ii) Producers of accessible materials, publishing software, and supporting technologies in specialized formats, such as Braille, audio or synthesized speech, and digital media.
(iii) Individuals with visual impairments, including not less than one currently enrolled postsecondary student.
(iv) Individuals with dyslexia or other learning disabilities related to reading, including not less than one currently enrolled postsecondary student.
(D) TIMING.—The Secretary shall appoint the members of the Commission not later than 60 days after the Commission is established under paragraph (1).
(3) CHAIRPERSON AND VICE CHAIRPERSON.—The Commission shall select a chairperson and vice chairperson from among the members of the Commission.
(A) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairperson.
(B) FIRST MEETING.—Not later than 60 days after the appointment of the members of the Commission under paragraph (2)(D), the Commission shall hold the Commission’s first meeting.
(5) QUORUM.—A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number of members may hold hearings.
(b) DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall conduct a comprehensive study to—
(i) assess the barriers and systemic issues that may affect, and technical solutions available that may improve, the timely delivery and quality of accessible instructional materials for postsecondary students with print disabilities, as well as the effective use of such materials by faculty and staff; and
(ii) make recommendations related to the development of a comprehensive approach to improve the opportunities for postsecondary students with print disabilities to access instructional materials in specialized formats in a timeframe comparable to the availability of instructional materials for postsecondary nondisabled students.
(B) EXISTING INFORMATION.—To the extent practicable, in carrying out the study under this paragraph, the Commission shall identify and use existing research, recommendations, and information.
(i) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall develop recommendations—
(I) to inform Federal regulations and legislation;
(II) to support the model demonstration programs authorized under section 773;
(III) to identify best practices in systems for collecting, maintaining, processing, and disseminating materials in specialized formats to students with print disabilities at costs comparable to instructional materials for postsecondary nondisabled students;
(IV) to improve the effective use of such materials by faculty and staff, while complying with applicable copyright law; and
(V) to modify the definitions of instructional materials, authorized entities, and eligible students, as such terms are used in applicable Federal law, for the purpose of improving services to students with disabilities.
(ii) CONSIDERATIONS.—In developing the recommendations under subparagraph (C), the Commission shall consider—
(I) how students with print disabilities may obtain instructional materials in accessible formats—
(aa) within a timeframe comparable to the availability of instructional materials for nondisabled students; and
(bb) to the maximum extent practicable, at costs comparable to the costs of such materials for nondisabled students;
(II) the feasibility and technical parameters of establishing standardized electronic file formats, such as the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard as defined in section 674(e)(3) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, to be provided by publishers of instructional materials to producers of materials in specialized formats, institutions of higher education, and eligible students;
(III) the feasibility of establishing a national clearinghouse, repository, or file-sharing network for electronic files in specialized formats and files used in producing instructional materials in specialized formats, and a list of possible entities qualified to administer such clearinghouse, repository, or network;
(IV) the feasibility of establishing marketbased solutions involving collaborations among publishers of instructional materials, producers of materials in specialized formats, and institutions of higher education;
(V) solutions utilizing universal design; and
(VI) solutions for low-incidence, high-cost requests for instructional materials in specialized formats.
(2) REPORT.—Not later than one year after the Commission’s first meeting, the Commission shall submit a report to the Secretary and the authorizing committees detailing the findings and recommendations of the study conducted under paragraph (1).
(3) DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION.—In carrying out the study under paragraph (1), the Commission shall disseminate information concerning the issues that are the subject of the study through—
(A) the National Technical Assistance Center established under subpart 4; and
(B) other means, as determined by the Commission.
(c) TERMINATION OF THE COMMISSION.—The Commission shall terminate on the date that is 90 days after the date on which the Commission submits the report under subsection (b)(2) to the Secretary and the authorizing committees.