Response from Leader Dog regarding the NFB resolution

***warning***

This post is long!

Recently the NFB National Federation for the Blind passed resolution 2015-05 seen below regarding Leader Dog for the Blind

the NFB is calling on Lions to cease funding of Leader Dogs for the Blind until or
unless it rejects NAC accreditation.
WHEREAS, in 1989 the International Federation of Guide Dog Schools for the Blind, later known as the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), was formed to create and promulgate standards for the operation and administration of guide dog training programs throughout the world; and
WHEREAS, the IGDF today has over eighty member guide dog training programs around the world, including thirteen in the United States; and
WHEREAS, US-member guide dog training programs include Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Seeing Eye, and Leader Dogs for the Blind, the three largest guide dog training programs in the United States; and
WHEREAS, the standards of the IGDF are well known as a solid model for guide dog training program operation and administration; and
WHEREAS, in January 2015 Leader Dogs for the Blind announced that it had received accreditation by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC), an organization formed in the 1960s supposedly to create and promulgate standards for the operation of agencies serving the blind but which, in fact, has never provided a good model for the operation and administration of any agency; and
WHEREAS, NAC has no expertise in the guide dog arena, and any attempt by NAC to accredit guide dog training programs can serve only to undermine the efforts of the IGDF; and
WHEREAS, in the past Leader Dogs for the Blind, recognizing the worthless nature of NAC’s alleged accreditation, resisted attempts by NAC to accredit it and stood with consumers in opposing the shoddy and irrelevant standards NAC attempted to use to gain credibility among the ranks of guide dog training programs and their consumers; and
WHEREAS, Leader Dogs’ past vigorous opposition to NAC accreditation was expressed in part through a letter from Harold L. Pocklington, then-executive director of Leader Dogs for the Blind, to NAC’s president, and published in the February 1986 issue of the Braille Monitor, which said: We believe we can handle our own affairs. If the dog guide training programs don’t respond to your suggestions, it may be they don’t believe the method of accreditation can be done only by you. We believe we can be our own judge of operation, without any help from NAC or a committee NAC might appoint. We are not indifferent, unaware, or apathetic. We just believe if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; and
WHEREAS, the purpose of NAC has always been to undermine and thwart the right of the organized blind to speak on behalf of blind consumers and Leader Dogs’ affiliation with NAC has the same effect in seeking to minimize the voice of the blind; and
WHEREAS, Leader Dogs receives a significant amount of its funding from Lions International and from individual Lions clubs; and
WHEREAS, any money spent by Leader Dogs in seeking and obtaining accreditation by NAC is a misuse of the support provided by its donors and can only encourage the efforts of an outdated and useless agency, NAC, to attempt to gain financial support from other guide dog training programs that it approaches in its attempts to convince them to accept its irrelevant and meaningless accreditation: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this ninth day of July, 2015, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization condemn and deplore Leader Dogs for the Blind’s accreditation by and consequent support of NAC; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand that Leader Dogs for the Blind take immediate steps to terminate its accreditation by NAC; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call on Lions International and individual Lions clubs to cease their funding of Leader Dogs for the Blind until it terminates its accreditation by NAC; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge all guide dog training programs to resist any attempts by NAC to accredit them and insist instead that all guide dog training programs in the United States support the legitimate standards and accreditation of the IGDF.

Now this resolution caused quite a heated debate in many groups that have received service from Leader Dogs for the Blind. Why has the NFB decided to attack LDB? Did the NFB attempt to talk to any of LDB graduates or staff?

Some believed that the person that wrote the resolution was a person that had problems with LDB, but if that’s the case this is not the way to go about fixing it! This further gives the NFB the bad reputation it is known for, attacking when they shouldn’t and makes the good things they have done get overlooked.

Personal note…who the heck told this person that using *whereas* over and over again was correct? You seriously don’t need to say it that many times. It’s more likely someone will stop reading after the second or third time that word was said. I cringed each time my computer read it.

Leader Dog for the Blind sent out this response

You may be aware of a National Federation of the Blind (NFB) resolution that was recently passed against Leader Dogs for the Blind’s accreditation by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC). Within the resolution, the NFB demanded that Leader Dog terminate its accreditation by NAC, in part because NAC has no expertise in the guide dog arena. Leader Dog’s NAC accreditation is for our Accelerated Orientation & Mobility Training and our Summer Experience Camp, both of which fall under NAC’s expertise. Our Guide Dog Training has been accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) since 1999.

We had reached out to the NFB upon learning about its concerns and the NFB did not respond to our communication. We know that this resolution may create questions for you and we’d like to address any and all concerns.

As you know, our goal is to provide consistent, high-quality service to all of our clients. Over the past decade we have made a significant effort to become a transparent organization that is receptive to outside review and input. Accreditation by third-party organizations, such as the IGDF and NAC, provide objectivity and hold us to industry standards when reviewing the services we offer.

Accreditation is a common practice in many industries and is used as a way to assess how quality is maintained. It provides a non-biased evaluation of the work that an organization does and helps establish standards to continuously improve the quality of service provided. We believe these certification processes provide our current and potential clients with relevant information when deciding who they trust to deliver high quality, state-of-the-art travel-related training.

If you have any questions about this matter and need clarification, please contact Rachelle Kniffen, Director of Communications & Marketing at 248-659-5013 or rkniffen@leaderdog.org.

Rachelle Kniffen
Director of Communications & Marketing
Leader Dogs for the Blind
1039 S. Rochester Rd. • Rochester Hills, MI 48307-3115
Direct (248) 659-5013

Now, seeing this response it tells me right off that the NFB did not do their homework before making their claims. This shows me that they did not think of the other services that Leader Dog for the Blind offers.

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