Resolution Regarding Nemeth and UEB

Resolution Regarding Nemeth and UEB

Resolution Regarding Nemeth and UEB

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has issued the following resolution regarding Nemeth Code for Mathematics.  It can be viewed with their full list of 2016 resolutions.


Resolution 2016-14

Regarding the Preservation of Access to Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation for Blind Students in the United States

WHEREAS, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) passed a motion on November 12, 2012, adopting Unified English Braille to replace the current English Braille, American Edition in the United States, while maintaining the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, 1972 Revision and published updates; the Music Braille Code 1997; and the IPA Braille Code, 2008; and
WHEREAS, BANA has issued “Provisional Guidance for Transcription Using the Nemeth Code within UEB Contexts,” which sets forth the minor changes needed to incorporate UEB as the literary component of mathematics and technical materials to replace the function formerly performed by the English Braille, American Edition (EBAE) code; and
WHEREAS, each state was tasked with creating a customized plan for implementation of UEB, and while all states have adopted UEB to replace EBAE as the literary Braille code for students in elementary and secondary schools, there is a split with regard to Braille code for technical materials (mathematics and science); and
WHEREAS, this split has emerged because BANA has failed to confirm unequivocally its 2012 motion to retain Nemeth Code for use in technical materials and now opines that it cannot “reach consensus regarding the establishment of a single standard code for technical materials for [B]raille in the United States,” leaving the decision to use UEB or the Nemeth Code within UEB context for technical materials up to each individual state; and
WHEREAS, while the majority of states, including textbook leaders California and Texas, are implementing the 2012 BANA resolution and retaining Nemeth Code, a few states are deciding to reject portions of the 2012 BANA resolution and are adopting UEB for technical materials; and
WHEREAS, there is no certification for the transcription of technical material into UEB  technical materials, yet despite the lack of qualified, certified transcribers, states choosing to utilize UEB for technical materials and the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) are producing curricular material in UEB for technical materials; and
WHEREAS, the fundamental differences between Nemeth Code and UEB for technical materials create time-consuming reinstruction for both students and teachers when switching between Nemeth Code and UEB for technical materials, and producing the same curricular material in two different codes is an inefficient use of limited educational resources; and
WHEREAS, the concurrent use of two different Braille codes for technical materials creates unnecessary barriers for students and teachers moving from one state to another and also produces inefficiencies in the preparation of teachers of blind students by requiring the teaching of both codes in order to prepare all teachers properly to serve all blind students; and
WHEREAS, the concurrent use of two different Braille codes for technical materials generates additional need for professional development of teachers of blind students, which unnecessarily reduces time available to keep up with technology and other emerging trends in the education of blind students; and
WHEREAS, since 1952, the use of the Nemeth Code in the United States has been beneficial to and supportive of blind students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields; the Nemeth Code is more efficient than UEB for technical materials in terms of writing math at all instructional levels; and the Nemeth Code is more efficient than UEB for technical materials in terms of using technology for writing math: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fourth day of July, 2016, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon the Braille Authority of North America to state unequivocally that the Nemeth Code, with the guidance for Nemeth in UEB contexts, is the only standard for mathematics Braille in the United States; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon each state legislature, should BANA continue to neglect its duty to establish a single standard code for Braille technical materials in the United States, to require its state department of education to eliminate needless confusion and unnecessary cost by unequivocally adopting the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, with BANA’s guidance for Nemeth in UEB contexts as the standard for math Braille; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon each university preparation program to eliminate needless confusion and unnecessary cost by unequivocally adopting the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, with BANA’s guidance for Nemeth in UEB contexts, as the standard for math Braille.
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