NAD Action Alert: Act Now to Protect Schools for the Deaf
|Howard Rosenblum, CEO of National Association of the Deaf (6/13/2011)
Howard Rosenblum, CEO of National Association of the Deaf (5/25/2011)
Bobbie Beth Scoggins, National Association of the Deaf President (2/23/2011)
Greetings. Schools for the deaf across the nation are facing a severe crisis and we need you to act now. Some are under threat of closure, some face drastic budget cuts that would underfund the school, and others face challenges to promoting an environment where education and interaction is provided visually, in American Sign Language.
State governments are increasingly looking at sending deaf children to mainstream schools as ways to “cut costs”. This decision will have the opposite effect, increasing costs, and have damaging consequences for deaf and hard of hearing children.
State governments do not consider the cost of obtaining interpreting services, providing assistive technology throughout the state, hiring instructors who are bilingual at every school with an ASL student, as well as the risk of litigation for failing to meet IEP expectations when making a decision that adversely affects schools for the deaf.
As a former student at two schools for the deaf, I was the direct beneficiary of an environment that was fully accessible. Everyone – my friends, teachers, administrators, fellow parents of friends, and even staff members – could communicate in my language. Further, I had deaf and hard of hearing role models who inspired and cultivated me. We must ensure that students today and tomorrow continue to receive the same opportunities I did.
Recent research by the Rochester Institute of Technology suggests that even with qualified interpreters in the mainstreamed classroom, educators need to understand deaf children learn differently, are more visual, and often process information differently than their hearing peers. See: RIT/NTID News – Deaf Education: A New Philosophy.
Furthermore, schools for the deaf enable students to gain a healthy self-esteem, and a strong understanding of their abilities rather than focusing on their limitations. The benefits of education via ASL are not in doubt. Please watch this video by the California Department of Education to understand how ASL benefits deaf children.
Schools for the deaf need your help now. Here’s what you can do:
1. Contact your local school for the deaf and state association of the deaf. Ask about the status of the school for the deaf and how you can help.
We must come together and protect the future of deaf and hard of hearing children.