The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is spending nearly $200,000 to create a single "national file format" that will be used to make textbooks accessible to blind or disabled students.

Adopting the standard will be voluntary, which is contrary to legislation introduced last spring that would have required textbook publishers to submit electronic files of all textbooks sold to schools nationwide according to a universal standard.

That bill, dubbed the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act of 2002 (H.R. 4582 and S. 2246), has been held up in committee. In the meantime,

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