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The Need for a Communication/Language-Driven Educational System Lawrence Siegel, Powrie V. Doctor Chair, Gallaudet Unive

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The Need for a Communication/Language-Driven Educational System Lawrence Siegel, Powrie V. Doctor Chair, Gallaudet University 1. “Society exists in and through communication.” John Dewey PROPOSED :

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The Need for a Communication/Language-Driven Educational SystemLawrence Siegel, Powrie V. Doctor Chair, Gallaudet University 1

“Society exists in and through communication.” John Dewey


  • Communication and Language must be a central and required part of any education system provided for deaf & hard of hearing children
current system 2
Current System 2
  • Current system is not (and has not been) working for deaf and hard of hearing children
  • Statistical evidence
  • Human evidence
status of comm language in american education 3
Status of Comm/Language in American Education 3
  • IDEA
    • “Institutional Starting Point”
      • Placement-driven
      • FAPE
      • No formal recognition/provision of communication/language for deaf students
status cont d 4
Status (cont’d) 4
  • IDEA:
    • communication/language a “debatable” item
    • Yearly IEP agenda matter
    • Can only “discuss”
    • Only option: adversarial process
    • “Methodology”
  • Conclusion: Without change in law, programmatic changes required will not take place systemically
the central importance of language 5
The Central Importance of Language 5
  • A fundamental human need/right
  • Language and communication is:
    • Crucial for all educational experiences
    • Precedes literacy, academic, social, development
    • Central to a productive, happy, successful adult
    • Central to the human experience
    • The foundation for all learning.

“Language is inseparable from human beings. [It] is the instrument with which we form thought and feeling, mood, Inspiration, will…it is the ultimate & deepest foundation of human society.” .” Louis Hjelmslev, Prolegomena to a Theory of Language, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1961, 77.

communication language paradigm 6
Communication/language Paradigm 6
  • Communication/Language-driven educational paradigm
    • Legal mandate:
      • Communication/language assessment
      • Communication/language development
      • Communication/language access
recent reform activities ndep 7
Recent Reform Activities – NDEP 7
  • Deaf & Hard of Hearing Child’s Bill of Rights
  • Statement of Principal
  • State reform:
    • New Mexico & Colorado
      • State reports
      • Communication plans
next steps 8
Next Steps? 8
  • Legal Challenge – a deaf & hard of hearing child’s “Brown.”
  • Establish right to language and communication under 1st & 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution
theory of change 11
Theory of Change 11
  • How do institutions normally change? Unwillingly
    • Desegregation: Brown
    • Bilingual law: Lau
    • Even IDEA: litigation-driven – Mills, Parc
1 st amendment 12
1st Amendment 12
  • “Without free speech no search for truth is possible, without free speech no discovery of truth is useful…better a thousand-fold abuse of speech than a denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people.” Charles Bradlaugh
  • “Congress shall make no law… prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech.”
1 st am speech only 13
1st Am. “Speech only?” 13
  • “Free speech” as misnomer
    • Free flow of information
    • Right to know
    • Freedom to receive and express belief

“The 1st Amendment is not concerned with the right of the speaker of this or that. It is concerned with the authority of the [receivers] of information to meet together and discuss….”

Alexander Meiklejohn, Political Freedom (1948)

The Constitution “protects the right to receive information & ideas & access to social, political, aesthetic, moral and other ideas & experiences.” Kleindeist v. Mandel (U.S. Supreme Court, 1972)

1 st amendment and schools 15
1st Amendment and Schools 15
  • The range of the right: ”The vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools…the ‘marketplace of ideas” where there must be robust exchange of ideas.” Tinker v. Des Moines (U.S. Supreme Court, 1969)
    • Cases:
      • Tinker “…students are entitled to freedom of expression of their views [which] includes intercommunications among the students.”
      • Pico “…the right to receive ideas is a necessary predicate to meaningful exercise of rights of speech and political freedom.” (U.S. Supreme Court, 1982)
denial of 1 st am rights 16
Denial of 1st Am. Rights 16
  • How are deaf children denied their 1st Amendment rights?
    • Fundamentally denied access to free flow of information
      • Teachers, other students cannot communicate w/deaf children
      • Unqualified, no interpreters
      • Denial of right to attend comm/lang-rich environments
      • Failure to provide comm/lang programs
other 1 st amendment rights 17
Other 1st Amendment Rights 17
  • Freedom of association
    • Lack of interpreters
    • Legal impediment to language rich, peer environments

“Our Bill of Rights is designed to secure individual liberty [and] affords the formation and preservation of certain kinds of highly personal relationships a substantial measure of sanctuary from interference by the State…personal bonds have played a critical role in the culture and traditions of the Nation by cultivating and transmitting shared ideals and beliefs.” Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees(U.S. Supreme Court, 1984, 468 U.S. 609, 623)

14 th amendment equal protection of the law 18
14th Amendment: Equal Protection of the Law 18
  • “No state shall deprive any person… within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
  • The “Brown” standard & its applicability to the rights of deaf children
equal protection deaf children 19
Equal Protection & Deaf Children 19
  • Provided hearing children, not deaf children: equal protection violation?
    • Equal access to “flow of information”?
    • Equal access to same rich language, literacy, & communication environment?
    • Equal access to technology, testing?
    • Equal access to deaf and hearing peers?
    • Equal access to all school activities?
    • Equal access to best language & communication models?
title iii nclb 21
Title III NCLB 21
  • “to ensure that children who are limited English proficient…attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic attainment in English, and meet the same challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards as all children…..
  • “to develop high-quality language instruction educational programs designed to [teach] limited English proficient children….”
  • “to assist all limited English proficient children…to achieve high levels in the core academic subjects…”
  • “to promote parental & community participation in language instruction educational programs for the parents of limited English proficient children….”
title iii nclb 22
Title III NCLB 22
  • “to hold State educational agencies, LEAs and schools accountable for increase in English proficiency….”
  • “all teachers [will be] fluent in English and any other language used for instruction….”
  • “ensure that limited English proficient children master English….”
  • “…develop language skills and multicultural understanding…”
  • “…develop…to the extent possible, the native language skills of such children….”
  • “develop programs that strengthen/improve the professional training of educational personal who work with limited English proficient children.”
bilingual cases 23
Bilingual Cases 23
  • Cintron v. Brentwood Sch. Dist.
    • “use of the child’s mother tongue as a medium of instruction concurrent with an effort to strengthen his/her command of English acts to prevent retardation in academic skill and performance.”
bilingual cases 24
Bilingual Cases 24
  • Serna v. Portales Munc. Schools
    • “…when Spanish surnamed children come to school and find that their language and culture are totally rejected and that only English is acceptable, feelings of inadequacy and lowered self-esteem develop.”
    • Therefore “Spanish surnamed children do not have equal educational opportunity and thus a violation of their constitutional right to equal protection exists.”
bilingual cases 25
Bilingual Cases 25
  • Rios v. Reed
    • “the school district is required to take affirmative action for language-deficient student by establishing an ESL and bilingual program and keep the students in such programs until they have attained sufficient proficiency in English…the District…cannot be allowed to compromise a student’s right to meaningful education before proficiency in English is obtained.”
bilingual cases 26
Bilingual Cases 26
  • Castaneda v. Pickard
    • “As in any educational program, qualified teachers are a critical component of the success of a language remediation program…if the teachers charged with day-to-day responsibility for educating these children are termed ‘qualified’ despite the fact that they operate in the classroom under their own un-remediated language disability the bilingual education program is clearly unlikely to have a significant impact on the language barriers confronting limited English speaking school children.”
other nclb 28
Other: NCLB 28
  • “Declaration of Rights” under NCLB:
    • the parents of English language learners, can expect:
    • To have your child receive a quality education and be taught by a highly qualified teacher.
    • To have your child learn English and other subjects such as reading and other language arts and mathematics at the same academic level as other students.
    • To choose a different English language acquisition program for your child.
    • To have your child tested annually to assess his or her progress in English language acquisition.
    • To have the opportunity for your child to reach his or her greatest academic potential.
remedies 29
Remedies 29
  • A constitutionally recognized right:
    • Must hire qualified ASL/English bilingual interpreters
    • Must hire/train ASL/English bilingual proficient teachers for deaf students in the mainstream, special classes, state schools
    • Must provide ASL communication development programs & ASL instruction in addition to English instruction
    • Accommodate, not impede access to (social and academic) ASL/English bilingual environments
    • Must provide ASL instruction in addition to English instruction
a reasonable equitable goal
A Reasonable, Equitable Goal

“All deaf and hard of hearing children are entitled to, and must have a language-rich educational experience. They must have the opportunity to develop age-appropriate language skills and to be in a classroom and school where communication is fully available, where there is a critical mass of communication peers and where staff can communicate effectively and directly with them [and] an educational system that formally recognizes that communication is at the heart of human and academic growth.”

The National Deaf Education Project, 2000