Thursday, February 24, 2011

Letter to the Editor: Deaf Students Lose In Proposed Budget

Deaf students lose in proposed budget

For deaf children, English is very difficult to obtain. Much language is absorbed through hearing. Over 95 percent of deaf children are born into hearing families. Most of these parents don't initially know how to sign, thus language access through visual and auditory means are seriously delayed. A Feb. 18 (D&C) story on Page 1A showed that most of the area schools are not able to meet required standards in English for students with disabilities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal transfers the costs of educating deaf students to individual school districts. This includes hearing, psychological, and educational evaluation, creation of Individual Educational Plans, and determination of appropriate services and placements. Few have evaluators who can communicate with the student while Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) has trained, experienced, signing evaluators and teachers on site, serving 43 districts, many with only one deaf student. Further, few districts can find and hire appropriate classroom interpreters ($60,000 per year), or for sports, etc., or pay tuition to send them to RSD. There are few qualified interpreters available.

The state saves: schools and deaf students lose.


Kudos to Pat DeCaro for speaking out! She is a wonderful advocate of the Rochester Deaf Community and she is a CODA.

I have an additional comment to the article and feel free to add your views.

In addition to that; ASL, that is Deaf students' primary language, is not commonly used by teachers in public schools that they are able to directly instruct, design lesson plans for Deaf bilingual learners and to assess their performance level using their first language.

Pat DeCaro pointed out that public schools are not able to meet required standards in English for students with disabilities while RSD like my children met the standards so why should we fix the system while it is not broken? What is the governor thinking?

One more thing, please look at the link: that explains why mainstreaming is not necessarily the best placement for many Deaf students.