I am so sick of the same old, same old problem that I have noticed, in general, not about schools for the Deaf but mainstreaming programs. Some of them were successful with mainstreaming program but some of them who were not still get to remain in the program as they supposedly "survived" their way through their academic years. The CSE (Committee on Special Education) including teachers, school district chair, psychologist, etc. reviews the IEP goals and report on students' progress with parents every year. Often, they buy more time to have them stay in the program until this Deaf child actually shows the worst or declining performance ended up to be transferred to a school for the Deaf known as a "dumping ground". When students who grew up in a Deaf school are compared with mainstreamed students who were transferred, who do you think would do better academically? From my years of observation and my experience, I have concluded that Deaf students from Deaf schools demonstrated higher academic background. Also I have noticed that mainstreamed students who were transferred showed a lot of missing gaps in learning and have not exhibited in-depth knowledge about the content as much as Deaf schooled students do.
It is typical for mainstreaming students to be transferred during middle or high school years. Some transfer to Deaf schools not necessarily because of meeting academic needs but to experience better social opportunities where they are able to gain more confidence and leadership skills.
Now, my focus is to look at the question, WHY did it take a while for at-risk Deaf students to be transferred to a Deaf school at a later age? That's my pet peeve. I want to see a person who is skillfully trained and possesses high knowledge and experience in Deaf education, preferably a Deaf professional who evaluates academic, social and emotional progress in ALL mainstreaming programs in the county and makes recommendations to CSE on the Deaf child's educational needs on how to support the child's well being by sending them to Deaf schools that will help meet their needs more effectively. Once they admit in Deaf schools, they get to catch up. In some cases, it is a bit too late, for some, they had to start over again, and for some, came in with no strong language base at the age 5, 6 or even 8. WHY? I am sick of it! I had enough!
That is why we need to take more actions to start signing with Deaf babies, start with language, start with exposing knowledge and content to help them prepare more effectively by the time they enroll in Kindergarten instead of having them coming in that they have to learn the language and finally get to learn the academic content later that caused them delay in learning. This has already becoming too common. Why don't we have quality assurance professional just like hospitals have who observes and evaluates the patient to see if he or she is ready to be discharged or that he or she is ready to live independently? Monitoring patients' healing process will take place. Now for mainstreaming programs, we already have itinerant teachers (let me add not mentioned in the vlog: If itinerant teachers make recommendations for their mainstreamed Deaf students to transfer to Deaf schools, they would lose their jobs!) but we need professionals who are objective to make best recommendations on appropriate placement.
Let me tell you a story shared by my friend that I had to say W-H-A-T? That interpreter expressed her concern about a Deaf student lagging behind in school. She decided to step out of her role and made recommendations to the student's parents that he is better off to go a Deaf school. She told them that by going to a Deaf school, he will gain better vocabulary skills, signing skills, confidence and expression skills. So his parents took her word of advice and placed him in a Deaf school. The results turned out very positive as he is happy and make great improvements in developing visual language skills.
It impressed me about this interpreter TOLD. Wow! I applaud her for that, yes! But is it appropriate role for the interpreter to TELL the parents? No! Is she following the code of ethics? No! But who should do the job? Who? That's why we need to hire quality assurance professional to oversee the records to see if expectations and state standards are being met. If these components are not being met then more help is needed to support reading and writing.
My friend told me that at NTID, he found that it is not necessarily true for mainstreamed students to read and write better than Deaf-schooled students. Even it is reported that Deaf schooled students have better literacy skills. But that's not all! They have leadership skills, better expressive skills, social skills, confidence, etc. For those who grow up alone in the mainstream may not be used to interact deeply by expressing, may not know about Deaf Heritage, ASL, etc. They are behind in this area. This is something we need to look at it.