Dear Educators, Policy Makers, and Legislators,

Please answer me this.  If education is a right, than why must we always fight? We live in a nation that is supposed to be producing tomorrow’s leaders.  However, we live in a nation excluding 90% of a population.  We live in a nation denying the simplest of things like literacy to children.  Were you even aware that the system, your system, our system has such staggering statistics? What sort of a country, what sort of an educational system would allow 90% of their children to grow up to be one of the 70% of unemployed adults?

Newsflash! You are a living, breathing, contributing cog in that system. You are part of the problem. I, am a product of the broken system, and I vow to do whatever it takes to ensure that my daughter not follow in my footsteps.

Across the nation, 90% of all blind/visually empaired children are not being taught how to read and write Braille. Let’s zoom in and get a little bit closer to home. I was taught to use what vision I had. I was encouraged to read large print. I was not taught alternative techniques or Braille. I spent hundreds of thousands of hours bent over a magnifier with my nose practically touching the pages in my books. When it was time to read out loud in class, I would get skipped over, because I was too slow of a reader. I didn’t truly become literate until the age of 23, until I learned Braille.

My daughter is six weeks from turning 6. After a year long battle with the school district, Braille was finally placed into her IEP (individual education plan). We are in the middle of week 5 in Kindergarten, and she tells me that no one has shown up to teach her Braille. Meanwhile, she is bringing home work from school that is being traced over with a dark black marker so that she can trace it with a pencil. A pencil? She can barely see the lines made by a pencil!

Why does a nation that is supposed to be so great allow a broken system to persist? Why must it be a battle each and every step of the way? I refuse to accept this. I refuse to let my daughter grow up to a future where she is limited by low expectations,. My child deserves to have an endless array of adventures, adventures that start with her fingers in a book.  Adventures that she will one day experience in real life.

Please allow me to end this by asking you one last question. In a country that is supposed to be producing tomorrow’s leaders, why do you exclude an entire population from growing up into contributing members of society, and insist on holding them back only to continue sucking on Uncle Sam’s nipple?

Yours Truly,

Mama Rupp

Marley in her, "I Heart Braille," T-Shirt


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