On behalf of John Hager, Assistant Secretary of Education, I would like to extend a warm welcome to the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee. The Department of Education is pleased to serve as your host for the second plenary meeting.
As some of you may know, the Department of Education, along with GSA and other stakeholders, created the first set of Section 508 Guidelines in 1987. The 1996 “Requirements for Accessible Software Design” from ED’s internal Assistive Technology Team were a major input to the 508 1194.21 provisions. We are proud to see how these early efforts with Federal information technology accessibility have evolved into more robust and enforceable standards. Let us not take for granted that we live in a democratic society which makes this open and inclusive rulemaking process possible.
As you know, the Department of Education serves on the Access Board as a federal member and looks forward to reviewing your recommendations. We appreciate the demanding workload of the Committee and recognize that for many, it is a volunteer effort. You are engaged in an honorable opportunity to help ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities, and we applaud your effort as you take telecommunications and information technology to the next level.
I would like to take just one moment to ask the ED staff present to identify themselves.
These are the best folks to ask if you have questions about the building, where to go to lunch, et cetera. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your visit more comfortable.
At this point, I would like to turn the meeting over to your co-chairs, Mike Paciello and Jim Tobias.