HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.C.R. NO.

32

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A PROGRAM TO RECRUIT AND EMPLOY QUALIFIED BLIND PERSONS TO SERVE AS ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY INSTRUCTORS AND in other positions AS TEACHERS OF VISUALLY IMPAIRED STUDENTS.

 

 


WHEREAS, the National Orientation and Mobility Certification (NOMC) is a credentialing process administered by the National Blindness Professional Certification Board and includes training in teaching Structured Discovery Cane Travel; and

 

WHEREAS, for decades, Structured Discovery Cane Travel has been empowering blind children and adults across the United States, helping them build confidence and feelings of self-respect as they move safely from place to place; and

 

WHEREAS, the methods and principles of Structured Discovery Cane Travel come from the lived experiences of blind men and women who have shared their experiences, attitudes and techniques with each other since 1940, leading to techniques, problem solving strategies, experiential learning, confidence building experiences, and the role modeling of non-visual techniques, which demonstrate their effectiveness while correcting misconceptions about blindness; and

 

WHEREAS, for the teaching of orientation and mobility, the Department of Education (DOE) has no employees who hold the NOMC credential and until recently would only accept the Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) certification from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals. The COMS certification gives the DOE the personnel resources to provide vision-centered orientation and mobility services but not personnel qualified or capable to teach the structured discovery approach; and

 

WHEREAS, of the two recognized training methods, adherents to the structured discovery approach emphasize employing blind instructors, while adherents to the vision-centered approach emphasize instructors who can see, resulting in diminished employment opportunities for qualified blind persons; and

 

WHEREAS, although the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board now accepts the NOMC orientation and mobility credential to serve in other positions for which they are qualified to teach visually impaired students, this change has not resulted in more reliance on blind instructors to teach; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the Senate concurring, that the DOE is urged to develop and implement an affirmative action program, to the extent permitted by law, designed to recruit and employ qualified blind professionals to serve as orientation and mobility instructors and in other positions as teachers of visually impaired students; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Superintendent of the Department of Education is urged to submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to this body at least thirty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022, indicating the steps taken and progress made to recruit and employ blind people in instructional positions with the Department of Education for which they are qualified; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Chairperson of the Board of Education, Superintendent of the Department of Education, Chairperson of the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board, Administrator of the Department of Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for the Blind Branch (Hoopono), President of the National Blindness Professional Certification Board, President of the


National Federation of the Blind of Hawaii, and President of the Hawaii Association of the Blind.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

Deaf and Blind Task Force