Is All Education Created Equal?

January 18, 2007 at 12:56 pm (Deaf Education)

Many of us take for granted the education we received as children as well as the education we continue to obtain everyday. We are constantly bombarded with news stations and reports that tells us about school districts that are not up to par completely when it comes to educational standards. These public schools, including many mainstream schools (schools where students with special needs are placed in regular classrooms), are being reevaluated. However, something that is given far less attention and yet, seems to be having more problems then anyone, is the topic of Deaf education in our society today.

It might be surprising to learn that 1/5 of the US population is considered to have a hearing impairment. This is a rather broad term, since it consist of those who have minimal hearing loss, whose who consider themselves hard-of-hearing and those who are D/deaf*.

*Note: The term D/deaf will be used in two contexts here. The word deaf with a lowercase d signifies someone who has significant hearing loss, being either severely or profoundly deaf. This is used much more as a medical term rather then one that describes a group. Using the words Deaf with a capital D is reserved for those who also have significant hearing loss but also consider themselves as part of a community and culture.

Those who consider themselves Deaf in the United States, often use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary form of communication. Though it is not taught in schools as often as Spanish or French, ASL is the third (3rd) most commonly used language in the United States, just following English and Spanish.

ASL Fingerspelling

This blog is going to have many purposes. The first and foremost, is to look into the education that our country’s D/deaf students are receiving in schools today and why the numbers are showing that something needs to be reevaluated. Secondly, it is to Bring to point forward that the silent language of the Deaf community needs to be ‘hear’ and understood in order for everyone to get the type of education that this country promises to all its citizens. Finally, it is important that everyone have at least a base idea of what the Deaf community is about, how its members think and feel about certain topics in education and to help prepare all future teachers so that they will be ready to understand where some of their future students may be coming from and what we can do to help them get as much out of their educational experience as possible.

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14 Comments

  1. Andrea Redford said,

    I agree that the education of the deaf is something that is rarely talked about in education circles. It seems that many people in this day and age think that impairments like blindness and deafness have been eradicated from society with the inventions of laser surgery, contacts, ear implants, and hearing aids. Sadly, this is not the case at all. There are still many people in our nation that go through life in darkness or silence or both. The frustrating thing in my opinion is the fact that many of these people and students are not mentally impaired at all, just physically, but by not taking into consideration the needs of the blind and deaf, we are in fact condemning them to a life of even further darkness and silence because we neglected to give them the skills they needs to survive and the learning we all deserve as people. If we are so set on helping those who are disadvantaged in the classroom, we should be motivated to take the stand for all who are disadvantaged: not just the mentally impaired or those with learning disablities. We are told that no child is supposed to be left behind, and that should apply across the board to every child in every school. Sadly, as you pointed out in your blog, this is usually not the case as there are areas of education that are seldom spoken about or known about such as the deaf and blind.

    Andi Redford ENG210

  2. gvsulaker said,

    Gina,

    Great start here. I like this template, your title, and the way you’ve included all of the required elements. One quick suggestion is to identify the RSS feeds you’ll use to inform this blog.

    Your topic is extremely important and very appropriate for this assignment. I look forward to furthering my own education on this issue by reading this blog throughout the semester.

    RR

  3. kooikema said,

    Gina,
    This is such a great topic! When I was in high school I was extremely interested in sign language, but it was not offered as a course in my tiny high school so I went to the book store and bought tons of books that taught me different words and phrases. I have forgotten most of what I taught myself, but I had a lot of fun trying to learn.

    I think that it is important for people to understand how many people are D/deaf within the school system and that these students need to be helped just as much as the students with normal hearing.

    I cannot imagine sitting in a classroom trying to catch what the teacher is saying when I am unable to hear him/her. How could a person learn? I am really interested to read what you find throughout the semester about how we can help these students so that they can have the same education as all of the other students.

  4. picketca said,

    Gina,

    I love that you are addressing this problem. I have a very close friend with a deaf little sister who has to go to the middle of the state for schooling and be away from her family most of the year but I wasn’t until last year that I really found myself longing to learn this language for my own betterment and the betterment of my future students. I was in a Psychology class, rather lecture, and there was a girl in the class who was deaf–and so they had someone there to sign for her. My intrests were piqued at this point and I wanted to be able to communicate like this in the case that I would need to someday, I want to be the teacher that understands– the person that understands and the missing link between those that are deaf and those, like myself, with full hearing. I’ll be checking back to see what you come up with. Best of luck!

    Cassie

  5. eternaltreasure said,

    WOW,super cool topic, Gina! This does seem to be an unaddressed issue in public education. It is also interesting to me that I had no idea that there even would be a “D”deaf community, which of course now makes perfect sense. This just goes to reinforce that just as all students come with unique mental needs and abilities, they also come with various degrees of physical abiities. Just as mainstream education for children with mental disablities has (in my opinion) been an ultimately positive step, it would also be a positive step to better integrate the Deaf community into Public schools.

    American Sign Language is just one aspect in which all children could benefit by making a more mainstream classroom. There are so many possibilties that I can think of right now, ranging in experience and acceptance. I can’t wait to read more! Good luck of your topic!

    Krista

  6. sayonaratosilence said,

    I have heard the same story about ASL being the most popular language to learn behind English and Spanish in USA but I have to differ on the term “commonly used” language. There’s a big difference between knowing your ABC’s in class or teaching a baby to sign, than actively using it in a lifetime basis.

    I have met too many people who all have said “I know a little sign but it was a long time ago and I don’t remember much of it”. It is like saying we can say “taco” “mi casa et tu casa” and claim knowing Spanish.

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  9. Mary Marsala said,

    I recommended for Deaf students to be in a small classroom of ratio 6 to 1. Each students have special needs not just deaf, but mentally, physically, learning disabilities, slow, ADD, name a few. Unfortunately, the Deaf students do not received proper education through public education in a large size classroom through interpreter(s). Some of the parents do not know sign language if they thought it was best way to communicate orally if they want their deaf child to be “normal” hearing child able to speak. Deaf students have to miss a lot of gaps on vocabulary, especially orally. Deaf students need more time and committment both from school and parents teaching on vocabulary, reading comprehension and answering questions (thinking skills). It is also recommend those Deaf students need to see the tutoring and audio/verbal or speech therapist. The more help they received, the better education they’d received. It will not be perfect but it will help them to get a better quality of life for their future career and possible college. If the deaf student do not get any proper education needs, even from lack of his/her parents communication skill will do poorly in society, language and career which it’s unfortunate. In my opinion, Deaf education need to change the system to a smaller classroom without hearing students. I have seen that they wanted to have “inclusive” program which was not successful. Deaf students were far behind in preschool. Very disappointed! We need more voices to speak up or hands for our Deaf Education Rights in America. This has been ongoing too long. Any comments? Remember there are few successful Deaf students but what about others?

    (You probably are curious if I am hearing or Deaf. I am Deaf and born hard of hearing.)

  10. Alex said,

    Hello ,
    I am doing a project on the asseptance of deaf students into public schools…any help?

  11. Andrea redford | Istudyweb said,

    […] Is All Education Created Equal? « Sound Of Silence: Deaf Education …Jan 18, 2007 … Andrea Redford said,. January 18, 2007 at 3:14 pm. I agree that the education of the deaf is something that is rarely talked about in education … […]

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