Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Sweet Smell of Victory for ASL!

The Rush-Henrietta School District just made a proposal to phase out ASL class as a foreign language credit that the 8th graders had have been earning a credit that is equivalent to high school level. The fight was presented by the deaf community members to confront the board in a town meeting where many spoke out to preserve ASL in the middle school. See how this model has set up an example of unity to make the outcome desirable by the deaf community. quicktime YouTube

From the Democrat and Chronicle website:

Rush-Henrietta may reduce signing classes today

Some parents oppose middle school changes

Marketta Gregory

Staff writer

(April 24, 2007) — HENRIETTA — A proposal to phase out American Sign Language classes at the middle school level has upset several deaf residents and parents of Rush-Henrietta students.

If the proposal is approved by the school board tonight, ASL would still be taught at the high school level, though, and more languages could eventually be added.

Lisa Sanford, director of languages other than English, said the district wants to focus on preparing its students for a worldwide community, and ASL — unlike other languages — is used primarily in the United States. Also, languages like Spanish and French have students reading and writing and practicing grammar while ASL doesn't follow the grammatical structures of English.

"We're trying to look at languages other than English that have the most global approach without losing our community focus," Sanford said, referring to the large deaf population in the area.

Although exact numbers aren't known, Rochester is home to one of the largest concentrations of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the country, primarily because of the Rochester School for the Deaf and Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Still, only seven of the county's 19 school districts offer classes in ASL, according the Monroe County School Boards Association.

Three of those — Rush-Henrietta, Greece and some Rochester schools — teach it to middle school students.

"Honestly, I think they should try to do it in elementary," said Joanne Enright of Henrietta, who has two daughters at Sherman Elementary School. One of her daughters has already picked up ASL from a classmate who is deaf, and her younger daughter is learning, too, because she sometimes has classes with another student who is deaf.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to embrace a community and bring it into our own, while at the same time, being an example to the rest of the world of acceptance and tolerance," she wrote in a letter to the school board.

Even though Patti Canne's four children all use ASL at home with her, they enrolled in ASL classes at Rush-Henrietta.

"They want to improve their signs and learn more about deaf history, culture and literacy," Canne, who is deaf, wrote in an e-mail. "My children (who are all able to hear) also have a possibility of having deaf children in the future, too, and I believe they want to have the best skills to communicate with them."

By the numbers

In Henrietta — An estimate of seventh- and eighth-grade students enrolled in foreign languages:

Spanish, 496.

French, 179.

American Sign Language, 167.

German, 76.

In Greece — Foreign languages start in eighth grade and not all languages* are offered at all locations. The numbers for the eighth grade:

Spanish, 584.

Italian, 267.

American Sign Language, 144.

French, 43*.

German, 38*.

A link on unanimous outcome in Democrat and Chronicle


Oscar the Observer said...


mishkazena said...

Wonderful news! Collective activism is the key in making them hear our concerns. WTG!

jwomick said...

WHOA 6-0!!!!!!!! i was so surprise! ASL course for middle school it's good chance get them social if they meet more DEAF PEOPLE! grow awesome interpreter! if one day they meet kids have hard time to talk hearing people it's good chance help as LUCK they already learn how use ASL. MAYBE one day if they meet someone who have babies which is deaf so give them good advice about ASL! ASL IS SO PRECIOUS AS PEARL! ASL is hard to i mean it's hard to get all gone as no more ASL it's is hard it's still SOLID AND STAND TOP OF HILL anyone will know it's WON'T gone! thank for sharing it's make me REALLY PROUD OF YALL! that's ASL IS POWER! way to go!

Joshua "Vampbat" Womick

Edward Nugent said...

Government should required all students from kindergarten to high school to learn ASL.

ccm14er said...

HARRAY --- (bang on table) ... we all need to expose the world (especially our beautiful country, USA) that we as deaf people need that important ASL exposure to make all "younger generation movement" to KNOW that the deaf people can do all things very EQUAL to hearing people's abilities on everything A to Z from jobs to home.

So that way, for next 20 years, hopefully ASL awareness will make all young deaf people TO LIVE NORMAL LIVES like hearing people. We also have to watch out the AGB too because they (AGB) are wealthy and be able to spread easily like wildfires. We ALL DEAF PEOPLE in whole deaf community need to SUPPRESS and SLOW DOWN the AGB's Power. When we keep going to use our arm-to-arm (like harmony) to support ASL -- then eventually the ASL movement will become BIGGER AND BIGGER later on, as the AGB's Power will become strunk down little by little -- one day we will be victory !!!!!


Anonymous said...

I am so thrilled to see the real active among Rochester Deaf Community and large number of hearing who already took ASl. Inspiration is here. Spread the excited news in Upstate NY! Showing a clear picture of ASL is here now! Great job!

Jean Boutcher said...

Long Live ASL!

mochame said...

Good to hear, Wonderful!

Dianrez said...

Thanks, Barb!
One of the items in dispute was that ASL was not accepted for credit in colleges, so it was considered for elimination at the middle school level and downgrade to an elective in high school

Whoa! The community blogger for Henrietta, Peter Boulay, in the Rochester newspaper was informed this was not true and he published a Googled list of universities that did accept ASL for credit. This certainly added to the petition and raised awareness of what was going on in Henrietta.

Thanks, everybody for your involvement! It certainly made the school board vote unanimously in favor of keeping ASL in the schools.

Deaf Eagle said...

Congrats from London, UK!! Wish Deaf community in UK do the same as you - proud of you!

Susan said...

that is great news! :)

Domvera said...

Congratulations on your great effort to put the collective of deaf community to contribute their hearts to push the board of education for their vote on ASL as foreign language in Henrietta-Rush Middle School. My hearts are getting huge for Deaf Rochesterians especially across the nation and Gallaudet constitutes. Hopefully, the case will go in effect for public schools to perserve ASL in classroom. Essentially, the hearing students will understand what deaf and hard of hearing people have our own culture and language in our mecca.
Cheers to your community!

Nick Vera

Anonymous said...

ASL power!

White Ghost

Judge said...

Congratulations! Way to Go!!

Good model for other deaf mecca cities!

Thank you for sharing the news!

Toby Welch said...

Wow! Thanks to be God! I am glad that communities march and gave many voices/signs that they wanted to keep ASL in middle school! That is good! We don't have any ASL program in middle school in Houston area. Only high school. I can check out if they have ASL program in middle school. Thanks for sharing with us!! ASL is rich, beautiful and long live! That is God's gift to us. Like Veditz said.

Karen Mayes said...

That is wonderful! I gave a breathe of relief when I read the online Democrat and Chronicle that ASL was voted to be kept in the middle school...

I checked Carmel school district and it has ASL program. Ironic... last summer the high school was interviewing several people for an ASL instructor and only one deaf person applied for it... she was (and is) every fluent in ASL, having taught ASL at other schools, having graduated from Gallaudet U., etc... and guess what? She did not get offered the job position... the rest of the candidates were hearing and one of them got offered the job position. Ugh.

John F.Egbert said...

Just who and how did the Board learned this from, that made them to start this project of getting rid of ASL in middle school as a credit course.

This is where we need to be proactive to stop this group or organization(eugenic language activist)from future actions in school districts across the country.

John Egbert

Deaf Farmer said...

That is great news! Congratulations from Ontario, Canada!!!


Deaf Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mule4350 said...

Congraualtion for contiue ASL today and Keep to fight with HEaring who have been attempted to ban ASL. ASL IS POWER FOR DEAF!

edgewilderness said...

Way to go! I hope more and more will do this in other places. I don't see any ASL as foreign language here in Minnesota.. I'm going to find out and see about this.. I believe we should teach kids ASL in school. I noticed when I talk to my daughter(12)in front of her class... they were amazed with our language and kept asking her what did you guys say and how do you do that??? Always questions.. I feel like we're outsiders! I want them to know all about deaf and sign with us, too!!!! Why not learn!! So, I want to ask you a question, can we make this a nation and spread all over the U.S. as we should allow ASL as foreign language? Open up ASL to the world as forien language?