[Athen] [ATHEN] FW: [bksvol-discuss] Great news about
accessible.text at gmail.com
Thu Oct 4 06:45:50 PDT 2007
Hey Ron - great post. I don't think folks were really jumping to
conclusions as much as getting a little carried away by the promise of
all that cash. I tried to inject a little sobriety in to the mix, and
you have definitely added to that.
The only thing I can add to your excellent summation is that we are
under no obligation to give Bookshare, or any other organization, a
'fair chance'. Our job should be to keep the pressure on them from the
start, until they deliver on their promises. The students deserve no
less. I think Jim Fruchterman waived any 'honeymoon' period when he
accepted $32 x-large from Uncle Sam...
On 10/3/07, Ron Stewart <ron.stewart at dolphinusa.com> wrote:
> Can I ask a favor, and that is folks quite jumping to conclusions that are
> based on minimal information and a lot of conjecture. I would just like to
> present some food for thought.
> You need to remember that there were two DOE RFP's on this topic. One for
> content providers and the other to consortias to basically move the NIMAS
> implementation process forward. Here are the RFP numbers, 84.327k for the
> one Bookshare landed and 84.327s for the implementation grants. Do a search
> on the DOE website and give them a good reading. Both of the RFP's
> specifically mentioned postsecondary ed, but there is absolutely no
> involvement of postsecondary ed in the awards that have been made public so
> In the "s" grant the major award is coordinated by CAST and included 15
> state k-12 systems. Here is the abstract from the CAST website:
> If you are in one of those states participating the first question I would
> ask your state level folks is how are they going to deal with students
> outside of the IDEA spectrum as they are required to do my law and also as a
> condition of this funding.
> At this point none of us know what Bookshare proposed in its RFP to the
> grant offering. Bookshare in its current form has its legitimate issues,
> but then so do all of the existing Authorized Entities. I have serious
> reservations about their current operational models since they do not appear
> to be scalable to the volume of materials that are required in the
> educational space. Bookshare may have the technical expertise to design and
> effective system, but do they have the staff with the requisite knowledge to
> pull this off? I do not feel that expanding their current system will work,
> they will need to create a new system to meet the requirements of the RFP.
> It is one thing to have a group of volunteers scan and proof straight text
> based books, but textbooks require a much higher level of skill and in many
> instances a volunteer workforce may not be a suitable solution.
> Knowing Jim Fructerman and having had several discussion with him about what
> is possible given enough money I think that we need to at least give their
> plan a fair chance. The publicity says 32 million, but in reality the only
> thing they have for sure is the first years funding anything beyond that is
> speculative because that is the nature of soft money funding from the feds.
> In fact based on the recent history of federal soft money anything after
> three years is pretty speculative. To meet their lofty goal of 100,000
> titles they will have to have a high level of buy in from the publishers,
> and does that currently exist? Even if they are successful this is still
> less than half of the titles currently available in the postsecondary space,
> not to mention the 10's of thousands in use in k-12.
> It has always been my position that any effective model is going to take
> collaboration between multiple systems to even being to make a dent in the
> current need. Secondly we need to remember that these proposals are based
> on the LNS model for free matter for the blind and print disabled. This
> model leaves out what may be the majority of the student with print
> disabilites in postsecondary ed. The NIMAS model also only looks at
> students who are qualified as print disabled under IDEA, and in fact a large
> number of students with print disabilites in the k-12 space are not
> considered IDEA qualified but are on 504 plans.
> What this money does do is put more fire under the kettle of full curricular
> access for our community members with print related disabilites. There is
> still a lot of work to be done, and in this case the test of success will be
> who can the grant recipients bring together in an effort to form a
> collaborative and progressive solution to the issues at stake.
> Ron Stewart
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