Thursday, May 10, 2007

413: No Deaf Child Left Behind?

How does No Child Left Behind affect the Deaf community? The No Child Left Behind program has been receiving heavy criticism over at DailyKos lately. Check out this article by teacherken:
The multiple choice questions on the AP are almost always of high quality. And, like the SAT, there is a correction for guessing: there are 5 answers, and it is the number correct minus 1/4 the number wrong. If you can eliminate one answer guessing has a marginal positive answer, and if you can eliminate two you really should answer. ON the state's HSAs there is no correction for guessing, so I have to encourage my students to answer every question, even if they have no idea of the answer. Further, there are often multiple answers or no answer that is technically correct - the answer the state might want is the Brown v Board overturned Plessy, even though it did not. The students have to look at all the answers and take the one that stinks the least.

Teacherken is highly concerned that regular students will be wasting their classroom time and focusing instead of on their education on passing tests. Passing tests is important, but how important - and how useful, especially if you have to learn a whole bizarre system just to take the test? And what happens with Deaf children? From the American Annals of the Deaf:
NCLB has 10 titles, none of which address the education of disabled children, of whom almost 7 million are identified as attending public school. Three components of NCLB have major implications for all children, including deaf and hard of hearing students: assessment; demonstrated annual yearly progress; and the mandate for highly qualified teachers. The implications for deaf and hard of hearing children, many of whom will not be identified in the present statewide assessment system, are mixed but, on balance, negative.

Oh yes, unbalanced. I would DEFINITELY say unbalanced. Especially when this happens:
But for Corona, the tests simply mean that his third-grade son, Albert, will come home from school tired and frustrated. Albert attends a program for hearing-impaired children at Loma Vista School in Ventura. Last year, he and his classmates sat through six days of tests, only to find out months later that their scores wouldn't be counted.

Their teachers used sign language to give them the test questions a modification that the school and parents said the children "rightfully and legally" deserved. Deaf children, who can't learn language skills by hearing, typically fall behind grade level in reading, they said.

State officials, however, decided that the use of sign language invalidates the scores on reading, language and spelling tests.

As James Tucker said in this conversation between heads of Deaf Schools on the NAD website:

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act’s logic-defying “Adequate Yearly Progress” provisions also put many public schools including schools for the Deaf students at risk.

With all the challenges on the table, the most frightening and daunting challenge is the proliferation of pediatric cochlear implant surgeries. While many children demonstrate improved hearing after receiving cochlear implants, most children with implants are visual learners and need sign language and visually-oriented classroom environments found in schools for Deaf students.

Sure. No child left behind - unless they use ASL to have the test rules explained to them. Thanks Bush! Create a WHOLE WEIRD Uuhif@&@&*!!'ed up system just to test people, then deny Deaf people access to the test-taking information... *shaking head* Worse, it seems to provide no oversight for Deaf schools. Check out this note from this essay on schools and NCLB:

A couple of depressing examples of why I trust teachers' ground-level input over their better-informed bosses' were in yesterday's and today's local newspapers -- and that's probably about as far as anybody else would have to look anywhere in the nation! The July 12 Rome [Ga.] Tribune gives this year's AYP results, and despite all the hype and PR of the past two years, the local schools are, to put it nicely, turning out cheap labor, and that's about it.Today's paper describes the sentencing of our state's previous superintendent to eight years for stealing $600,000 from the Georgia School for the Deaf. The School for the Deaf, for God's sake!

So with a huge government program not providing oversight, should we really be upset when Deaf people show heightened concern about Deaf schools? And what do YOU think about NCLB?....

In other news, it's the birthday of one of my favorite girls today... she knows who she is. Be good, Starlet!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

QUESTION: How do you contact NAD at their national office?

UPDATE: NAD has contacted me and I will be posting information about our conversation soon!

(gripe)I've been trying to send them questions about VRI on their online contact form but it keeps telling me there's a data error. Nobody picks up on the TTY line. The voice line has a message that people will respond to me via e-mail. Plus - their website is really S-L-O-O-O-W. Does anyone still work at NAD's national office or have they gone fishing? (/endgripe)

I'd really like to know NAD's official position on the use of VRI. I have not heard anything from NAD on this issue and don't see anything on their website (anyone who knows something feel free to respond.)

But honestly - you really need to have live people answering ttys/phones at a national organization serving Deaf people. Anyone else have trouble contacting NAD?

UPDATE: I have not been able to get in touch with anyone after 2 more phone calls but I was able to finally get something through the NAD website form after using Google's cache of the NAD "Contact Us!" website. (THANKS GOOGLE!) In a few minutes I recieved this:
5/1/2007 9:42:37 AM (Pacific Standard Time)

Thank you for contacting the National Association of the Deaf. We will respond to your question, comment, or request as soon as possible.


Receptionist/Information Specialist

National Association of the Deaf
8630 Fenton Street, Suite 820
Silver Spring, MD 20910

So I guess I'll wait and see. I'm sure NAD is trying to limit pointless phone calls but...

Update: NAD has responded. Will let you guys know soon...

412: tuesday morning news & coffee

The Pet Food Crisis: It's worse than you thought. UPDATE: Another diary posted over at Pam's House Blend. How long before this starts hitting human beings?

VRI: We're not the only ones dealing with the VRI issue in hospitals. This is becoming a national problem. To be honest, most Deaf people are not willing to speak out on this issue. Peggy Johnson is different. Reverend of a Deaf church:
Johnson watched a congregant suffer in the hospital with severe back pain, while staff members tried in vain to communicate through Deaf-Talk.

“She had to lay flat,” she said. “You can’t see a TV that way,” she said.

What's been the response so far from DeafTalk?

Deaf-Talk operates in 350 hospitals nationwide, including 13 in the Baltimore area. The company that produces Deaf-Talk has had three complaints from Baltimore Hospitals, said Dave Stauffer, company vice president and co-owner.

“There is one lawsuit in Maryland; everyone else loves our system,” he said.

He categorized Johnson’s church as troublemakers.

“I know which church [The Examiner is] talking about. It’s a deaf congregation and they’re talking about trouble that doesn’t exist.”

Unfortunately this has also been the problem here in New York. You know what the culprit is? DEAF NOD YES. Deaf people don't complain to the administration. Many Deaf people have gotten so used to accepting whatever services are provided that they don't think about or ask for their rights. People who fight back are rare. But Alma Andrews is an amazing fighter.

And here in New York our own fight continues...

And in Japan: Deaf Japanese are swindled in yet another business:
The majority of the invested money was reportedly used to pay off her company's debts, which had grown to 4.4 billion yen following a failed campaign to sell "memo phones" to deaf people.

Two of Kobayashi's employees -- Eiko Machida, 55, and her son, Norikyo, 28 -- were also indicted for their involvement in the alleged fraud. Eiko denied she defrauded the deaf people, but her son acknowledged doing so and admitted he tricked his clients into handing over their money.

With all of the pyramid schemes and business deals floating around the country lately... are Deaf people just gullible, or so greedy they have to try to make a buck - who knows! The Japanese scam was for spa memberships - maybe Deaf people just need to be pretty.

And how was the news in your week?