By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
August 3, 2010
"...Last year, the schools -- among them Princeton, Arizona State and Case Western Reserve -- wanted to know if e-book readers would be more convenient and less costly than traditional textbooks. The environmentally conscious educators also wanted to reduce the huge amount of paper students use to print files from their laptops.
It seemed like a promising idea until the universities got a letter from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, now under an aggressive new chief, Thomas Perez, telling them they were under investigation for possible violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
From its introduction in 2007, the Kindle has drawn criticism from the National Federation of the Blind and other activist groups. While the Kindle's text-to-speech feature could read a book aloud, its menu functions required sight to operate. "If you could get a sighted person to fire up the device and start reading the book to you, that's fine," says Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the federation. "But other than that, there was really no way to use it."
Then by the same reasoning, shouldn't schools stop using dry erase white boards and electronic SmartBoards in the classroom?
"...Now, Perez is at work on a far bigger project, one that could eventually declare the Internet a "public accommodation" under the ADA. That could result in a raft of new Justice Department regulations for disabled access..."