New House Bill Supports Assistive Learning Technology

Federal News

A new education bill (H.R. 521) has been introduced in Congress that would require accessible learning technology to be made available to students with disabilities in every grade and in every subject. Proponents of the bill say it will help “prepare students for the world of tomorrow with the best tools of today.”

Known as The Transforming Education through Technology Act, the bill would appropriate $500 million to be distributed to state education agencies through educational grants. The grants would support technology and digital learning designed to improve college-and-career readiness, student achievement and academic growth for all students — including those with disabilities.

The proposed bill would enable local educational agencies to build their technological capacity and infrastructure necessary for the full implementation of on-line assessments — not only for students with disabilities — but for all students. When a state education agency applies for a grant under this Act, it would be required to describe how it will use technology to “improve instruction consistent with the principles of universal design for learning.”

Upon receiving funds, state educational agencies would be required to use assistive technology and digital learning to ensure people with disabilities, and all other students, have “equitable access to high-quality curriculum, instructions (and) assessments.”

Additionally, grant recipients under this proposed act would be required to ensure that teachers, administrators and other educational professionals are properly trained to use assistive technology for curriculum redesign to improve student achievement, for proper assessments to personalize learning, to improve student technology literacy and to expand the range of supports and accommodations to students with disabilities.

Track the progress of this federal bill by entering H.R. 521 in the Bill Search feature on the Library of Congress website.