Back
Announcements

Celebrating landmark accessibility legislation in Illinois

The Newsela Team
Aug 31, 2021

Students across the country are reentering school under difficult circumstances -- their third year of pandemic-disrupted learning. Studies reveal that by the end of this past school year, K-12 students were on average five months behind in math and four months behind in reading. And over the past year and a half, students' relationships to learning technologies have been evolving, especially as educators turn to new strategies to address learning loss.

A recent survey from the EdWeek Research Center found use of technology among teachers and students was increasing and online instruction was taking hold in some form in most places during the pandemic. This turn toward technology has the potential to benefit student learning - using tech in the classroom keeps students engaged, makes it easier to collaborate, and imparts 21st century skills that make students college and career ready. And while many of the digital education tools and platforms teachers and students have relied on during the pandemic are likely here to stay, it’s become increasingly clear that not all these technologies are accessible to everyone. Many students with disabilities – nearly 14% of K-12 learners – have learned this the hard way. 

That’s why we’re excited to see groundbreaking legislation out of Illinois: a bill requiring all online education tools used in Illinois classrooms to comply with World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This is a critical step toward increasing equity and accessibility in learning for all students, especially those who are often left behind.

Following WCAG guidelines ensures significant support for students with disabilities such as blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, and limited movement. At Newsela, we’re committed to meeting these accessibility and equity standards: our student experience is fully WCAG compliant, including such features as being fully navigable by keyboard, having alternate text on all images, using updated colors that meet color contrast standards, and containing screen reader-friendly labels.

While the realities of remote learning and increased reliance on technology are challenging in many ways, the increased awareness around accessibility in digital education tools is long overdue. Illinois’ new WCAG bill is blazing the trail for student inclusion and accessibility.

There’s still more to do to even the playing field for students with disabilities, but WCAG laws are tangible, achievable, and easily implemented changes that can have a real impact on students. We’re hopeful that other states will follow suit in order to serve all learners.

The Latest from @Newsela

Happy 12 Days of Newsela! 🎉 Each day we'll share a content recommendation. Today's theme: holiday cheer! This article shares five things to know about giving and receiving holiday gifts. https://t.co/18JEr5vfvV https://t.co/eWKixl8Gk3
December 1, 2021, 4:07 PM
Newsela Certified Educators drive school-wide innovation. 🌟 Build your expertise in designing creative teaching applications with our instructional content: https://t.co/xMFTgxyw1z https://t.co/6136DQQHrn
November 30, 2021, 8:36 PM
Teachers, do you buy items for your classroom on #CyberMonday? 💳
November 29, 2021, 9:02 PM
Check out the top toys of 2021! More games and puzzles top the list this year as families look to spend less time on screens and more time together. 🧩 In this article, a toy reviewer provides advice on which toys are worth kids' time and parents' money: https://t.co/Su11AfCk5y https://t.co/zkL8NliAde
November 29, 2021, 5:15 PM
As Hanukkah begins, all students can learn about the dreidel game enjoyed by many families throughout the holiday. Learn the origins of the dreidel and how to play, using this article: https://t.co/PE5LhHnMHr https://t.co/0kMIRxH2wY
November 28, 2021, 5:00 PM
Is binge-watching a harmless hobby or a dangerous vice? 👀 Let students decide, using this Newsela ELA article that discusses the pros and cons of binge-watching. https://t.co/JW7vWLoIHB https://t.co/BTX8mpfSPf
November 27, 2021, 4:00 PM
In this time of gratitude, we want to take a moment to thank you for all you do to make a difference in the lives of your students and communities. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Newsela! 💙 https://t.co/l8erPxUASG
November 25, 2021, 3:00 PM
Become a Newsela Certified Educator to build your expertise in designing creative teaching strategies with Newsela's instructional content— plus earn 5 hours of PD! ⭐ https://t.co/xMFTgxyw1z
November 24, 2021, 5:00 PM
Healthy diets include a variety of foods from all of the food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, dairy products, and oils. A healthy diet can even include treats now and then. 🍫 Students can learn nutrition basics, using this article: https://t.co/nkDdrfvQvt https://t.co/J5pYqrrhJ0
November 23, 2021, 3:00 PM

The best lessons start with the best content.

Ready to bring great instructional content to your students?

Contact Sales