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The Uneducating of America

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While most Americans confess that they do not like the educational system in the US, and an infinite supply of solutions continually are offered by politicians and educators alike, there remains a small group of people that is often overlooked (more on that shortly). The political ramifications of this group may well further define a number of other political issues, ranging from English as an “official” language to the best possible way to facilitate a child’s education.

First, many Americans seem to feel English is the only language that ought to be spoken, taught and utilized in every facet of Americans’ lives. Others disagree and state that the United States has a long history of embracing various cultures and even languages and is the basis for the existence of this country. One need not look further to the symbolic meaning of New York’s Ellis Island, as well as its long history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world.

But, in the US, there still exists a governmental policy to continue teaching American children a foreign language as a first language. Schools have been funded through state and federal government programs. Additional schools that teach this foreign language have also popped up in various community colleges and universities across the nation.

The results have been disastrous: a majority of the children taught this foreign language lack the appropriate reading and writing skills to function within the larger American society. High unemployment, suicide and drug abuse rates and other socially deviated behavioral patterns are consistent for this older members of this group as well. Even worse, attempts to restrict the educating of American children an inefficient first language has resulted in claims of “cultural genocide.”

Welcome to the world of deaf people and American Sign Language (ASL). During the early part of the 20th century, many schools of deaf children initially demanded that no mechanical (or manual) signing systems were to be used, and instead, intensive focus on lip reading, writing and speaking skills were stressed – this is called an “oralist” approach. Conversely, by the 1970’s, many researchers of deaf and hard of hearing educational systems began touting ASL as a “native” language of deaf people and began demanding ASL only be taught in deaf residential schools. Interestingly, anthropologists and linguists alike debated the claim that ASL was a true language and challenged the basis for the existence of a “deaf culture” built around ASL on the premise that a culture cannot exist without a language, among other things.

Today, many colleges and universities across the country are offering ASL classes as a foreign language elective. It has become widely accepted by many in deaf communities that ASL is a legitimate language – even going so far as to claim that ASL is the only language deaf people ought to use. Evidence of the impact of the political controversies surrounding ASL and “deaf culture” can be found during the 1988 Gallaudet University protests which were initiated by ASL-militants who demanded that ASL be the only language taught on the campus.

In deaf communities across the country, there are several variations of signing systems. Signed Exact English (SEE), for example, mimics English generally and allows people to utilize many aspects of English as it is spoken and written. ASL on the other hand, does not, and instead focuses on picture storytelling – ASL it should be noted, has no written form comparable to English. Regardless, the variations with respect to the number of signing systems used varies depending on geographical location and the homophily of deaf people.

Moreover, the justification used for the existence of deaf residential schools throughout the United States has historically been this: too few public schools have lacked the necessary resources for educating deaf children, and instead many were shuttled to deaf residential schools. Many hearing parents, lacking a support system — whether through governmental or non-profit organizations — sent their children to these schools because they were overwhelmed with the many aspects that are involved with educating deaf children. Conversely, many hearing parents choose not to send their deaf children to deaf residential schools after reports of poor educational standards and rampant sexual abuse of deaf children became public news. Today, many deaf residential schools are facing closure for these (and other) reasons.

For years, the primary place deaf children learned ASL was through deaf residential schools, and unfortunately, the dogma attached to using only ASL facilitated poor reading and writing skills for many deaf children. In fact, the reason many deaf people who were taught ASL as a first language struggle to learn other languages, may be directly related to ASL itself as well as the deaf educational system in the United States. In Europe, for example, deaf people there learn multiple languages, but Americans whose first language is ASL seemingly don’t learn English at sufficient levels to allow them to understand the larger world in general, let alone multiple languages. (In fact, Gallaudet University, the nation’s primary educational institution for the deaf has suffered from accreditation controversies, and recently, the Washington Post published a report that the school was placed on accreditation probation. In 1988, after the campus erupted in student protests, published reports indicated a significant number of deaf graduate students were illiterate and yet were allowed to continue teaching undergraduate courses.)

Making matters worse is the fact that there remain divisions regarding who exactly is considered deaf in the US. People taught ASL as a first language are generally referred to as “culturally deaf.” These people are taught that their deafness is not a disability, and reject any notion that they need to accommodate the larger, hearing world, which creates a self-defeating cycle evident to all. Not only that, but the number of these people on Social Security Disability benefits creates the appearance of hypocrisy by both educators of the deaf and “culturally” deaf people themselves. In fact, many culturally deaf people have adopted the claim that medical interventions, such as cochlear implants, are a form of “cultural genocide,” even though the implants themselves are no different than hearing aids – which many culturally deaf people use, anyway.

Deaf people who learn English (in whatever forms) are shunned by culturally deaf people and called, “hard of hearing” as an insult. The premise for this categorization is simply based on the purported belief that these people “choose” to reject ASL, and thus, deaf culture. But more hypocrisy occurs regarding ASL and the culturally deaf when sign language interpreters are added into the equation.

If one assumes ASL is a legitimate language, then there is only one real sign language in the US – ASL. A person who uses SEE, for example, uses transliterators and not interpreters. This is important because there exists a national 10-year-long shortage of interpreters throughout the country. Many college deaf students and public universities alike are finding it increasingly difficult to hire interpreters for the deaf, and yet little has been done to alleviate the shortage. In fact, national deaf and interpreter organizations have demanded (and received) legislative mandates requiring all sign language interpreters to be certified/and or licensed.

In New Mexico recently, the state’s biggest interpreter organization made the claim that because “deaf” people could not file complaints adequately since they were unable to understand the process, and also because interpreters themselves don’t manage themselves, the need for state intervention was required to regulate the interpreters. But, in the face of the shortage in that state, more stringent requirements for certification/licensing, all parties agree, will make the existing shortage even worse. Few solutions have been offered.

A majority of interpreter educational programs focus intensively on ASL classes for students. Increasingly, many students in these programs are questioning the validity of such intensive focus on ASL when evidence of less than 10% of all deaf people use ASL exclusively. In fact, increasingly, English is being integrated into ASL for many young, deaf children, which suggests that ASL is inefficient in more ways than can be stated here. Still, to become an interpreter has become exceedingly expensive and time-consuming for many people, and in the meantime, the shortage of interpreters continues to curtail efforts to educate deaf children in a manner that allows opportunities for independence from Social Security Disability rolls.

Moreover, statistics reveal that 60-70% of all deaf people in the United States are late-deafened adults. These people have suffered traumatic hearing loss as an adult, which means they most likely learned English as a first language. Perhaps this is why groups like these have long been ignored in favor of the so-called culturally deaf, although this appears to be changing – especially with the Baby Boomer population expected to produce significantly higher numbers of people with hearing losses.

The continued groupthink of many educators of the deaf and sign language interpreter educational programs has stunted many deaf children’s developmental capabilities for too many years. Ignorance remains a central issue with regard to who is deaf and who uses what signing system. Poverty, unemployment, drug abuse and high incidences of suicide, coupled with poor educational backgrounds have created an uneducated class of self-repressed Americans. These Americans were taught a foreign language, with little regard to the consequences of a poorly inefficient educational system and is self-evident for all to see.

Whether you are for an “official” language of the US, or if you’re a proponent of diversity and multiple languages, the obvious problems with both arguments can be found in a small group of people in the United States. These people are taught by the government, raised by school administrators and taught to rely upon the government for welfare.

Finally, given that 90% of all deaf children are born to hearing parents, there seems to be little reason to teach children a language foreign than the one their parents utilize – even if the parents become fluent in ASL. And, in spite of the fact that some deaf people whose first language is ASL are able to achieve PhD’s, the fact remains that the majority of people taught ASL as a first language suffer dramatically for it. Whether you believe the US has an “official” language or not, the fact remains that there exists a small, but powerful group of people – the culturally deaf and educators of the deaf – who insist that a foreign language is the “official” language of a certain group of Americans.

There is no greater crime than to stand between a man and his development; to take any law or institution and put it around him like a collar, and fasten it there, so that as he grows and enlarges, he presses against it till he suffocates and dies. – Henry Ward Beecher

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About Paotie

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Your article is extremely informative – and is an object lesson for all those in the juvenile left who prattle on and on about cultural diversity without paying attention to the fact that they are talking about people and not puppies – and that cultural identity has consequences.

  • Baronius

    Wow. A well-written article on a subject I knew nothing about. The internet is so cool.

  • moonraven

    Good article.

    But I don’t see why in other situations learning a foreign language would be a disservice to the learner.

    The resistance on the part of folks in the US to learning other languages is a reflexion of xenophobia, as well as of the hatred of the native peoples who were subjected to genocide in order for the US to realize its “manifest destiny”.

    Learning another language opens up another part of the world to the learner–as well as another way of looking at the world we live in.

    Since the folks in the US are determined now to torpedo any immigration reform, they will soon (if 2012 doesn’t end this silly phase of the planet’s evolution that has included people), ironically, find themselves in a situation which requires learning Spanish.

    The plus side to that is that Spanish is a much richer language than English.

  • What ever happened to Personal attacks not being allowed?

    I do not have the time nor inclination to point out all the fallacies in this article. Below are very obvious examples of personal attacks on people with deafness (ASL-speaking or not):

    “ASL-militants” – Using the word militant frames the issue with binary conceptions of militant versus peace-maker, rational versus irrational, etc. Plus, the word “militant” is such a loaded word in our post-9/11 world. If “militant” is ok, then is “terrorist” too?

    “the number of these people on Social Security Disability benefits
    Poverty, unemployment, drug abuse and high incidences of suicide, coupled with poor educational backgrounds have created an uneducated class of self-repressed Americans.” – Where is your data? This statement essentializes all people with deafness as poor, jobless, drug abusers with no education.

    “taught to rely upon the government for welfare.” – Really? I have not seen a school for the deaf mission statement that reads this way. Again, what data supports this view, other than ignorance?

  • Paotie

    There was no personal attack on any one person. And, the above comment clearly reflects the “militant” (semantics aside) aspect of deaf culture.

    Paotie is also deaf.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Clavos

    @#4:

    The prohibition against personal attacks applies only to not attacking other commenters, not everyone in the world.

  • A Concerned Citizen

    Spanish is a much richer language than English.

    I don’t know how you can say that. . . they’re just different. Besides, English has about twice as many words as Spanish — a result of the French invading England (or something like that).

    All I’m saying is that both languages have their richness. Hopefully we’ll see another merge of languages as in the Middle Ages; this time, however, between English and Spanish.

  • Fact check

    There are no programs that I know of that teach ASL as a “first” language in the sense of postponing English instruction.

    There ARE programs that use the “bilingual” approach in which Deaf children are taught BOTH English AND ASL. Good quality bi-lingual programs (and the key phrase here is “good quality”) generally produce students who read near, at, or above grade level.

    Most deaf education programs, unfortunately, do not produce these results — but most are not bilingual programs. Most of today’s deaf adults grew up with (and many of today’s deaf children are still taught in) programs that are either still oral or use some form of signed English. This is not to say that oral, signed English, cued speech or other forms of instructions can’t lead to successful students — sometimes they do. But for you to claim that bilingual ASL/English instruction automatically leads to failure for large numbers of students shows quite clearly that you have simply not done your homework. You seem to conflate different types of programs (and possibly different threads of research) in trying to make your point.

  • Zedd

    Paotie,

    Is the sentence structure the same in ASL as it is in English?

  • Paotie

    Zedd –

    Nope. ASL has little in common with English. There is no written form of ASL.

    Paotie

  • Zedd

    Paotie,

    To give an example, so that I know what you are saying, what is the direct translation for the phrase ” I really enjoy reading. It makes me very happy” in ASL?

  • Paotie

    Zedd ..

    Go to http://www.aslpro.com

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Clavos

    Paotie,

    Your article is very interesting.

    I’m not deaf, and don’t even know anyone who is, so I know very little about deafness, or about ASL.

    Your article was, for me, a real eye-opener. I never realized, for example, that being taught ASL could actually marginalize a deaf person in terms of functioning in the larger society, though I suppose it should have been obvious to me.

    One thing does puzzle me; given the obvious difficulties you outline that those who are taught ASL as a first language encounter, why are so many of them opposed to those who learn English also?

    I understand that there’s an “us versus them” aspect to the question, but why doesn’t simple self interest encourage more culturally deaf youngsters to learn the skills necessary to function in the greater society? Is it just the indoctrination and peer pressure? Or is it the lack of facilities open to that idea?

    Whatever the reason, it’s, as you pointed out, a terrible situation.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    The wife of my godfather, z”l, became deaf, and had learned to lip-read in the decades before I was born. So I had to learn to enunciate words clearly for her benefit. My father, z”l, had trouble with his hearing (though when money was being talked about, his hearing always seemed very good). And three decades ago, I knew a young lady who had learned both ASL and lipreading and who had earned a doctorate. Her hearing was nearly non-existent. So, I never viewed deaf people as “unfortunates.”

    But given the way “unfortunates” have been treated in American society in the last 30 odd years, the problems with ASL that Paotie describes come as no surprise to me.

    Segregation from the larger society without the resources to sustain that segregation as an independent sub-group takes a toll, and this is what we see here.

  • STM

    “The French invading England (or something like that).”

    Only in their dreams.

    I can visualise it now. Armed with day-old baguettes that had turned into baseball bats, cheap aftershave, lung-busting cigarettes, vinegary plonk, ill-fitting berets and intellectual pretence, they came in their thousands, setting up authentic French cafes and saying things like: “Merde! Why bother to invade? Existentialist thought suggests that only the bourgeoisie benefit from such an invasion. For the working classes, it only contributes to the meaningless of life. Waiter, could I ‘ave anuvver plonk, thanks?. Waiter, excuz a moi? Waiter … waiter … waiter. Merde, he’s fucking blind – and deaf.”

    No, the French never invaded the hallowed shores of beautiful Albion.

    Ah, yes, but the Normans did, and they were Normans, not Frenchies.

    As for English having more words than Spanish, true.

    But French is a far wordier language than both. That comes from trying to appear intellectual by using five sentences to say something meaningless when it could have been said in one.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The French couldn’t even manage to invade England when they had Napoleon, so I’d like to see them try now!

    Unless the large number of French players in the Premiership is a stealth invasion…

    The Normans were certainly not French. They were Vikings pretending to be Frenchmen. Although quite where they got those silly haircuts from is anyone’s guess.

  • STM

    DD: “The Normans were certainly not French. They were Vikings pretending to be Frenchmen. Although quite where they got those silly haircuts from is anyone’s guess.”

    Obviously from their French neighbours, DD. If the English were a nation of shopkeepers, according to Napoleon, the French could best be described as a nation of hairdressers.

    But not QUALITY hairdressers. Too much reliance on product. France has always been a place where form has triumphed over usefulness. Style over substance, if you know what I mean …

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Wait a minute, Paotie.

    Where, exactly, are the sources for all of this information?

    You point to a single Washington Post article regarding Gallaudet’s accreditation prohibition, which says absolutely nothing about problems based around ASL vs. English or any other specific issue beyond the disunity that came on the heels of this winter’s protests.

    Meantime, in that same paragraph you make statements like, “Americans whose first language is ASL seemingly don’t learn English at sufficient levels” and “published reports indicated a significant number of deaf graduate students were illiterate”…two inherently vague statements that demand sourcing. Where are some of these published reports?

    For that matter, where do you get the information that the 1988 Gallaudet protests “were initiated by ASL-militants who demanded that ASL be the only language taught on the campus”? You refer to the Deaf President Now protests, in which the object had nothing to do with ASL, but simply the students’ demand that Gallaudet’s board install the first ever deaf president of the university. One of the initiatees, in fact, went on the record as saying, “Never mind the mode of communication our president would choose or his background, as long as he was deaf.”

    There is absolutely nothing here that would support your statement that deaf culture has struggled against learning English, either in written or in oral (lip-reading) form. If you tried to publish this as an editorial in even the most virulently anti-ASL publication, any editor worth his salt would return it to you and demand better sourcing.

    I’m not deaf and don’t subscribe to deaf culture, so the fact is you may be right in all of your assertions. But you do an incredibly poor job of giving them any sort of foundation. Even if they’re true, the word “baseless assertions” more than applies.

    What amazes me, and disappoints me, is that so many others walked right past these blatantly insubstantial statements, willing to take your word for everything you’ve said without any basis.

  • Clavos

    Stan. DD:

    C’mon guys, get off the fence.

    Tell us what you really think of the French…

  • Silver Surfer

    Lol. Are we that obvious? Yes, it must run in the genes. It does go back centuries, which is why I will never understand how you blokes managed to get into bed with those buggers (in all honesty, I quite like them … but it’s fun).

    I’d like to read Paotie’s article BTW, but I am getting the stuff from down the side over the story

    Perhaps tomorrow, as the bits I have been able to read sound interesting.

  • Zedd

    The French have automatic cool points (they cant help it… they are the only really white Whites who are just cool/funky/suave/imaginative/passionate). Unlike the spazzing out Anglos and Germans. However the Scandinavians are pretty laid back. But French have that “I don’t know what”.

  • Silver Surfer

    Zedd: “But French have that “I don’t know what”.

    You’re right about that Zedd, they certainly have that.

    The problem is, the reason for that is because they haven’t got a fucking clue about anything :)

  • Clavos

    SS #20:

    If you’re using Mozilla Firefox as your browser, install this.

    Problem solved…

  • Silver Surfer

    Clav, seriously, I wouldn’t have a clue what I’ve got. I have to get a Chinese bloke (named Henry – what else?) to come and look at my computer every six months to fix it up.

    That speaks volumes really about my level of competence computer-wise: Q: “What browser do you use?”

    A: “The one installed by the Chinese computer guy I met at the Lotus Garden while I was picking up my crispy-skin duck” …

  • Clavos

    “A: “The one installed by the Chinese computer guy I met at the Lotus Garden while I was picking up my crispy-skin duck” …”

    Personally, I like girls better; and I find bars to be better pickup places than Chinese restaurants, but, to each his own.

    Look at the topmost bar on your screen. Does it say “Internet Explorer” or “Mozilla Firefox?”

  • Silver Surfer

    Internet explorer. I don’t have no Mozilla. Should I get my computer guy to fix this up? I mean, if we can tear ourselves away from the short soup?

  • Clavos

    Ask him his opinion, but I recommend it, yes.

    RE my #25:

    I realized you might have gotten the wrong impression:

    Ducks are fine, especially the crispy skinned ones; it’s just that girls are better conversationalists (some of them, at least) after the sex, y’ know?

  • Silver Surfer

    I dunno, Clav. The way things are lately, I reckon I’m way better off with the duck …

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clavos is right, mate: if there’s an alternative to a Microsoft product, use it. IE takes up masses of memory because of the long-winded coding Microsoft insists on using, and is extremely vulnerable to hacking, popups, viruses and other abuse because these wankers know everyone uses it.

    A few months ago I installed Internet Explorer 7 on my PC (which is old, creaky and cruisin’ for replacement by a Mac), followed by the new version of Firefox. Both browsers have almost exactly the same features. IE took 45 minutes to install. Firefox took 30 seconds.

    It’s what the colonists here call a “no-brainer”…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav, Stan, I actually am very fond of the French. I speak the language pretty well and Paris is one of my top 5 favorite world cities. I get that from my Dad, who was a serious Francophile and would sneak over there any chance he got. He would even wake up to French talk radio in the morning, played at top volume through the whole house because he was a heavy sleeper.

    French waiters, though, are not very nice boys. I’ll never understand why the Nazis didn’t have them all taken outside and shot while they had the chance…!

  • Paotie

    Clavos,

    ASL culturally deaf people who oppose those who learn English are jealous of the ability to communicate to the larger world in general. They also tend to promote exclusion, rather than inclusion. In a weird way, if you’re culturally deaf, and learn English, your ASL regresses because you end up having to fingerspell whole words and in deaf culture, a person who fingerspells is frowned upon. To sign “ameliorate,” for example would be exceedingly difficult to sign in ASL because the word doesn’t exist; rather, the CONCEPT has to be explained and the word fingerspelled.

    And yes, the word “indoctrination” is the absolute correct word. Too many deaf children are taught that they do not have a disability, let alone a communicational disability, and instead, are taught that they need not learn how to communicate with hearing people.

    And, I don’t know why so many culturally deaf people don’t take up self-interest and learn English or other means of communicating. Perhaps laziness. Perhaps simple ignorance.

    Here’s a story:

    One day, a dentist was surprised when his receptionist informed him there was a deaf couple in his office. After some difficulties, the dentist and receptionist communicated to the deaf couple that an interpreter would be located and hired for a future dental appointment (a routine dental exam).

    The day of the dental appointment arrived and the deaf couple were examined – with an interpreter present – for a period of about 20 minutes. The deaf couple were happy with the dentist and left.

    The next day, another deaf couple arrived at the same dentist’s office. When the dentist was informed of this, he told the receptionist to turn the deaf couple away because he could not afford an interpreter (on the east coast, interpreters can charge $240/hour, with 2-hour minimum charge, which is the norm for interpreters – in this case $480) for a dental exam that lasted less than 20 minutes.(I’m not sure about your area, but dental exams typically cost anywhere from $35-$100.)

    The next day, a group of deaf people protested outside the dentist’s office, proclaiming discrimination had taken place.

    This was not an exceedingly complicated medical procedure, and simple pen and paper would have sufficed if the deaf couple had utilized it. And, again, ASL is woefully inefficient in terms of written language, so perhaps there was no need to use written language because the deaf couple may or may not have been illiterate in English – but not ASL.

    I don’t know if that illuminates the answer to your questions, but that’s part of the problem deaf culture promotes.

    Paotie

  • Paotie

    By the way,

    ASL has its roots in French – not English.

    Paotie

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Still waiting for facts or sources….

  • Paotie

    Mike West –

    This is not an research forum, nor is it paramount to outline every little bitty ditty detail that’s open to debate. I have my resources, and I’ll list one for you (you can find additional resources within the book itself, or if you’re so inclined, research the topic yourself further). And, to give you a hint, look at the book that’s listed at the top of this article.

    You will notice also that this article is an opinion. As any person who understands statistics and research designs, knows numbers can be manipulated to mean anything anyone decides. My perspective, my experience and my research indicates the numbers I’ve outlined are valid, and thus are the premises behind the numbers. You’re allowed to disagree – which is the basis of free speech in this country, and for BlogCritics in particular.

    If you’re implying my numbers are incorrect or false, then prove it. Why stay idle and demand resources on an OPINION formulated by enthographical research, among other things?

    And, your claim that students wanted a deaf president goes hand-in-hand with deaf culture and ASL militants. Why the need for a deaf president? Was there some horrible crime being committed against deaf people on campus by hearing administrators? Your arguments align themselves neatly with the pervasive view inherent within deaf culture that hearing people simply don’t understand the deaf. Even if that were true, that doesn’t mean that hearing people are incapable of having an ability to be empathetic; your argument suggests that hearing people are NOT sympathetic and therefore, calls for a “Deaf President Now” are somehow justified. Bullshit.

    And, your statement that, “One of the initiatees, in fact, went on the record as saying, ‘Never mind the mode of communication our president would choose or his background, as long as he was deaf.'” demonstrates the narrow-mindedness that people such are yourself adopt with respect to issues relating to deaf people and deaf culture.

    Now, for references, I’ll give you an additional one besides the one listed at the top of this article:

    ASL: Shattering the Myth – Tom Bertling. I suspect you have the ability to use Amazon to find it. Buy it. Read it.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • http://www.deafdc.com Ursula

    Well written. But may I direct you to a *very* thoughtful counter argument written directly in response to this entry by one of the many talented bloggers at Deaf DC. After reading her piece, I’ve decided that she’s right on.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    This is not an research forum, nor is it paramount to outline every little bitty ditty detail that’s open to debate.

    I don’t ask you to outline every little bitty ditty detail that’s open to debate, Paotie. You, however, have failed to give substantiation to any of your claims. The one thing you provide sourcing for is that Gallaudet had its accreditation probated, and that source provided no evidence for the reasoning you imply behind that probation.

    Put it this way: without SOME sort of substantiation, what possible reason do I have to believe any of your statements?

    I have my resources, and I’ll list one for you (you can find additional resources within the book itself, or if you’re so inclined, research the topic yourself further). And, to give you a hint, look at the book that’s listed at the top of this article.

    I’ve spent a good deal of the day doing research on the Internet. I’ve found little data that supports you.

    Oh, and it should be noted that the book to which you link has one reader review on Amazon, and that one (written by the parents of a deaf child) articulates exactly the same problem with the book as I have articulated with your article:

    For example, I wanted hard data: names, dates, places. Bertling provides almost none, making me heavily dependent on HIS assessment of what he says things were like. He might or might not be accurate; I have no way of being sure.

    You will notice also that this article is an opinion.

    Indeed. But even opinions can be uninformed, ill-thought, and implausible. Perhaps your opinion is none of these. Or perhaps it is. How do I know either way?

    As any person who understands statistics and research designs, knows numbers can be manipulated to mean anything anyone decides.

    Does that mean that it’s just as well not to provide any numbers, statistics or research? The lack of them does far more damage to your credibility than the inclusion of numbers that might be manipulated or interpreted in various ways.

    My perspective, my experience and my research indicates the numbers I’ve outlined are valid, and thus are the premises behind the numbers.

    You have provided very few numbers at all, Paotie. You state that:

    (a) less than 10% of all deaf people use ASL exclusively. That claim, which again has no source (it’s really not that hard to put a link in there), actually damages your overall claim that the deaf culture’s emphasis on ASL causes any sort of damage; if it hasn’t caused over 90% of Americans have the ability to communicate without ASL, then how does emphasizing ASL seriously jeopardize deaf people’s ability to communicate?

    (b) 60-70% of all deaf adults are late-deafened. Which is something of a tangent and says little about ASL’s benefit or detriment in the deaf community.

    (c) 90% of all children are born to hearing parents. Which seems relevant on the surface, if you assume that children who are born deaf will only be communicating with their parents for the rest of their lives. Or if you don’t know that humans acquire the motor skills necessary for speech and diction by HEARING what the language is supposed to sound like.

    Where are your numbers for how many deaf people are illiterate? Or for how many are taught ASL to the exclusion of English? Or for how many are taught ASL with English as a second language? Or, for that matter, for how many have learned English in some form and say that they feel “shunned” by the deaf community? I’ve got no reason to believe any of these people exist in significant numbers.

    You’re allowed to disagree – which is the basis of free speech in this country, and for BlogCritics in particular.

    I’m not sure whether I disagree or not. Remember how in mathematics, you learn that sometimes there is not enough information given to determine the answer to the problem? That’s where I am right now.

    If you’re implying my numbers are incorrect or false, then prove it.

    I’m suggesting that there AREN’T many numbers, and that the few you do provide don’t come with any substantiation. Also, you know better than “prove it.” You are the one making claims, and the burden of proof is therefore on you; I’m not claiming your claims are wrong. I’m simply claiming that you do a poor job of supporting them.

    Why stay idle and demand resources on an OPINION formulated by enthographical research, among other things?

    This, Paotie, is just silly. You insist that your opinion is formulated by ethnographical research (while stressing that it is only an OPINION), but at the same time you balk at the suggestion that you provide sources for the research you say you’ve done? If you don’t furnish resources, why should I believe you when you say that your OPINION is formulated by ethnographical resources?

    And, your claim that students wanted a deaf president goes hand-in-hand with deaf culture and ASL militants.

    There is absolutely no logical connection between those two ideas, and you at no point establish even a rational basis for such a connection.

    Why the need for a deaf president? Was there some horrible crime being committed against deaf people on campus by hearing administrators?

    The need for a deaf president, according to my research, had absolutely nothing to do with crimes perpetrated by hearing administrators. It came from the implication, by virtue of the fact that Gallaudet had never had a deaf president, that deaf people were not competent to serve as the president of a deaf university. Even the most cursory research told me that much.

    Your arguments align themselves neatly with the pervasive view inherent within deaf culture that hearing people simply don’t understand the deaf.

    As noted above, my arguments do nothing of the kind.

    Even if that were true, that doesn’t mean that hearing people are incapable of having an ability to be empathetic;

    Certainly they’re capable of being empathetic. That’s completely irrelevant, as noted above.

    your argument suggests that hearing people are NOT sympathetic and therefore, calls for a “Deaf President Now” are somehow justified. Bullshit.

    It is bullshit. Which is why I said nothing of the kind, nor suggested anything of the kind. You, Paotie, seem to be making astounding leaps in logic, assuming a meaning in my statements that is not there. You undermine your own credibility when you make such brash assumptions.

    And, your statement that, “One of the initiatees, in fact, went on the record as saying, ‘Never mind the mode of communication our president would choose or his background, as long as he was deaf.'” demonstrates the narrow-mindedness that people such are yourself adopt with respect to issues relating to deaf people and deaf culture.

    First of all, how in the world do you imagine that that quotation demonstrates anything about me? The fact that I quoted one of the leaders of the DPN movement demonstrates my narrow-mindedness in regards to deaf people and deaf culture? Again, the logic in that assertion is extremely difficult to understand.

    Second of all, didn’t you just finish insisting that hearing people were not deficient in empathy for the deaf? Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but you now seem to be suggesting that they ARE–or at least that I am, although I still don’t understand how you arrived at that conclusion.

    Now, for references, I’ll give you an additional one besides the one listed at the top of this article:

    ASL: Shattering the Myth – Tom Bertling. I suspect you have the ability to use Amazon to find it. Buy it. Read it.

    Will do. I hope it’s got better support for its claims than you demonstrate for yours in this article. And for the allegedly insubstantiated claims in Bertling’s other book, which you link to at the top of the page.

    I also hope, by the way, that your research consists of work by more than one author.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    By the way: I deleted two additional links from the previous comment, since more than three are not allowed in a single comment.

  • Paotie

    To #35:

    It should be noted that the writer of the DeafDC blog teaches English at Gallaudet, and naturally ignored the other, salient points regarding Gallaudet. Of course, she states she’s culturally deaf, and then remarks that she “needs to decide which group” she belongs to with dripping sarcasm. As the article progresses, notice how she begins labeling deaf people into the categorization of “D/deaf.”

    In deaf culture, a person who is culturally deaf is labeled as “David is Deaf.” A person who is not considered culturally deaf is identified by, “David is deaf.”

    If anything, her article validates the political ramifications of language being manipulated not by linguists, nor by the very deaf people who use ASL, but by political pundits who love to proclaim a certain “race” (her word, not mine) of deaf people. Surely, we’ll hear more about “racism” against deaf people soon enough. Silly.

    A few years ago, some educators in Oakland, California proclaimed the existence of a “language” in ebonics, remember? And, you’ll notice that the author of the DeafDC blog follows nearly the exact same argument made for ebonics.

    Even better, the author does agree that there is truth to my article, even if she sees it differently. The laughable aspect of her article is that she’s humoring herself with her own argument’s contradictions.

    And finally, Ursula, try to learn to read a bit more clearly.

    ;o)

    Paotie

  • http://www.xanga.com/dianrez Dianrez

    Annoying as some articles are when it comes to criticizing ASL and its value to the Deaf community, they serve a useful function: to present an extremely opposing viewpoint and possibly suggest some positive actions. I see neither of these; the points presented are subjective, lack evidence, and sound suspiciously like the oralist arguments of the fifties that are now well documented as without merit.
    In these, the article was disappointing.

    It also made me wonder: at what age did the writer become deaf? Was the author’s education orally based? How much language did the author obtain through hearing? These could have been the basis for adopting oralist arguments.

  • kstein

    Ummm…
    “on the east coast, interpreters can charge $240/hour, with 2-hour minimum charge, which is the norm for interpreters – in this case $480″

    As a full-time, professional interpreter on the east coast for the last 15 years, I have to correct this misinformation. A typical charge here ranges from $35-$50/hour for direct contracting. With a two-hour minimum, that’s a maximum of $100. Furthermore, in many cases, Medicaid covers the cost of interpreters for medical appointments.

    “I’m not sure about your area, but dental exams typically cost anywhere from $35-$100″

    My (east coast) dental exams cost $125-$200, depending on if I have x-rays or not. At least, that’s what my Deaf, ASL-signing dentist charges (he really is!).
    ks

  • zingzing

    damn.

  • http://www.deafprogressivism.blogspot.com Barb DiGi

    “Conversely, by the 1970’s, many researchers of deaf and hard of hearing educational systems began touting ASL as a “native” language of deaf people and began demanding ASL only be taught in deaf residential schools.”

    Demanding ASL only to be taught in deaf residential schools since the 70’s?

    That is the most absurd, false statement I ever heard in my life as a teacher for 15 years. Deaf students were rarely exposed by ASL users who were educators as most of them used artificial languages (Signed Exact English, Pidgin Signed English, Simultaneous Communication method and the likes). They may have used ASL mostly from deaf families, deaf residential counselors and staff but rarely coming from teachers who used ASL and who knew how to practice bilingual education. In other words, they had never received proper training on how to bridge ASL to English. If you take a look around in deaf education teacher preparatory program, I have found only two post-bachelorate programs offering bilingual education. The rest offers mostly clinical courses so go figure.

    Fortunately, there is a growing number of residential schools that are adopting bilingual education philosophy that they affilitated to a training/research center called CAEBER program where they are able to develop and share strategies on how to bridge both languages.

    I use hearing aid, speak well, and sign fluently in ASL. I don’t feel shunned at all by these culturally deaf people. Again, this is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. It has nothing to do with the fluency of English but the fluency of ASL. Once you are fluent in ASL, you will be respected especially that you advocate for it just in the same way in any foreign speaking countries.

    One of more things I need to say, not all residential schools are alike. Where I work promotes teaching the standards and admit state exams to get a high school diploma or advanced Regents and there is no history of frequent sexual abuse. Sexual activities, unfortunately, happen in any schools, public or private anyway. Just don’t stereotype the residential schools. Many students I have known felt blessed to find their identity and language when enrolling in residential schools.

    By the way, I have two profoundly deaf children ages 8 and 9 and their first language is ASL. They are excellent readers and writers and skipped a grade during primary/elementary years. Yes, both of them. With a strong language foundation, they are able to successfully adopt strong literacy skills. Simple as that.

  • STM

    Paotie: “ASL has its roots in French – not English.”

    Highly appropriate Paotie since the French are given to speaking with their hands. Especially when saying “Merde!” ….

  • STM

    DD: “Clav, Stan, I actually am very fond of the French.”

    Me too. It’s just a bit of fun, for anyone on here who doesn’t realised Doc and I are having a wind-up. My best mate in Sydney for many years was French, although he has since returned to France. Once they are friends, they are very good friends. I enjoy their company, their insanity, and their passion.

    And I love the way they play rugby … tough, hard, dirty, with lots of mud and blood – but with a flair that can literally leave you breathless (especially if you can’t catch the winger).

    A good-looking french fly half is a far more dangerous proposition than an ugly English prop with cauliflower ears and a head like a cracked crab (I think they clone them at Twickenham), especially as he’s orchestrating the next opportunity to turn you into a human turnstile.

  • kstein

    #32:
    “By the way,
    ASL has its roots in French – not English.
    Paotie”

    [Just to clarify, you mean to say that ASL’s roots are in LSF, or French Sign Language, and not in French spoken language.]

    Interesting to note that the same statement can be made of English, since some 60% of English comes from French. Guess that makes English one of those evil “foreign” languages here in America.
    ks
    PS: I know how to sign “ameliorate.” (#31)

  • Dr Dreadful

    Bleedin’ heck, Stan how is it that sooner or later, you always turn the thread around to rugby…?

    I suspect that the French are only any good at the Webb Ellis code compared with the Brits. They should be expelled from the Six Nations forthwith to avoid making the rest of us look bad.

    …Hell, even the Italians are starting to win a few – albeit their players all have suspiciously French-sounding names.

    Will you and the Boers and the Sheepworriers take les Français in the Tri-Nations? I think they’d fit in a lot better there as they seem to get severely spanked whenever they are confronted with a team from the Southern Hemisphere.

    As far as English rugby players are concerned: they may refine the ugly quotient at Twickenham but the mould is cast long before that. I spent my last two years of high school at a rugby-playing school, and even at the tender (actually, not all that tender) age of 17 you could still tell the members of the rugger squad by the flattened noses and cauliflower ears.

  • Dr Dreadful

    kstein (#45) claimed: I know how to sign “ameliorate.”

    Ah yes, but do you have to go to the emergency room to have your fingers put back in their sockets afterwards?

    :-D

  • STM

    Yes, mea culpa, my opinion of various races seems to revolve around how they play rugby, doesn’t it? I must look at that. It’s obviously a personal failing … (one of many)

    However, it’s not a bad yardstick :) And in summer, we’ll move onto cricket – that other great civilising influence inherited from the British.

    I rest my case on this theory with Pakistan, one of the few muslim cricket-playing nations and the only one that’s actually any good at it. In theory, that country should be a hotbed of islamic wahabist/salafist fanaticim (Oh, wait …)

    Nevertheless, Islamabad is on our side. Just. How does that work? Cricket, dear sir, is the answer. If they got too antsy, they’d be banned – and no one wants that.

    All islamic fanatics should therefore be forced to start playing cricket at the age of four, thus nullifying the problem forever. Then those inclined to testosterone-fuelled biff and barge fests (most of ‘em), could also strap on the boots over winter and get out on the park and get their heads bashed in.

    This is also why Australia is a peaceful country.

  • Dr Dreadful

    A nation more sports-obsessed than Australia there never was. A land where every third adult is an Olympic medallist. It’s a wonder you get anyone to join the army. All your young people’s aggressive traits get channelled into hurling balls of various sizes around fields of various shapes.

    Perhaps the Australian armed forces are composed entirely of mercenaries…

  • STM

    It’s a better way to solve your problems than blowing the shit out of every bastard though, eh Doc?

  • Paotie

    #39 – Of course you would question whether I’m oralist or not. In the end, what’s more important to you as evidence of your comments is not so much how to best facilitate communication for deaf children, but the political values that drive the Oralism vs ASL argument. Additionally, you seem to adopt the view that the majority of culturally deaf people are stone-deaf and have never heard a single sound. As anyone knows, deaf people who are pathologically deaf tend to have residual hearing, much like blind people have residual sight, so the issue of hearing has less to do with educational abilities and more about political values. Interestingly enough, many culturally deaf people wear hearing aids, and would be able to facilitate SOME learning of English through sounds. Thanks for repeating a mantra that ASL militants love to claim: deaf people NEVER have heard a single sound and ought to be excused for not learning English.

    #40 – Well, prices are subjective to geographical markets and economics, so the point really isn’t about prices, which I shouldn’t have inserted. Either way, the dental story actually happened, and thanks for selectively ignoring that. I also know a couple deaf doctors, so while you self-congratulate yourself for having a deaf dentist, riddle me this: why aren’t there more deaf medical doctors or dentists than currently? If the educational system was so marvelous, why aren’t there more deaf doctors given the highly specialized nature of deaf education itself within deaf residential schools, and in particular, Gallaudet given the huge resources spent on educating the deaf?

    #42 – If your policy is to sail through life adopting the “out of sight, out of mind” mindset, then that’s your choice. Simply because you never heard of it doesn’t mean it never happened. If anything, your comment reflected an inability to research and think independently for yourself, and instead, repeat what you’ve been told.

    Even more startling – you claim to have been a teacher, and based on your comments, perhaps you were busy teaching children WHAT to do think as opposed to HOW to think. Great job – that’s one of the problems inherent at Gallaudet, in many deaf residential schools and deaf culture itself. Wonder if you were a teacher at the school for the deaf. Hmm .. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Since you seem to think that ASL instantly commands respect, then you should write to the New Mexico Legislature and inform politicans there that the culturally deaf people who use ASL ought to be respected to the highest degree because of their fluency in ASL – English be damned. The interpreter educational program in Albuquerque stated that deaf people – in particular the culturally deaf – lack the ability to file complaints against unprofessional interpreters. I don’t know – seems to me your argument runs contrary to what was stated during the legislative proceedings. No doubt legislators will love your comment and see the hypocrisy. Thanks!

    Also, considering the poor quality of education that many deaf schools have been outputting (which seems, ironically, to be linked to Gallaudet’s inability to achieve academic respect with other hearing universities), I am not sure the fact that your children, who supposedly skipped a grade in a deaf school, should be considered all that amazing. A deaf child skipping a grade in a public school would be more remarkable, even more so if a deaf child skipped a grade in a higher-level private school. As for your children’s reading and writing skills, it’s all about relativity, baby! Do they read/write on par with hearing peers, or with deaf peers in the deaf school? Again, given the poor history of educational programs within deaf residential schools, your comment leaves much to the imagination.

    Finally, what’s amazing is that people become angry or “disappointed” or whatnot based on a person’s opinion. And someone noted that my opinion is subjective.

    Hmm .. has anyone ever heard of an objective political opinion? Goodness! Maybe some of you subscribe to the notion that you only need one medical opinion because it is an objective opinion. What would be the point in seeking a 2nd, or 3rd medical opinion, anyway? Politics and opinions are based entirely on subjectiveness regardless of the subject matter.

    What would be the point of having a democracy if opinions were all objective? Absurd.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Clavos

    Good response, Paotie.

    This whole thread has been a real eye-opener for me, and from it, I can only conclude that you are correct in your fundamental assertion that the education of the deaf is fraught with internal politics.

    I also see your point about marginalizing deaf kids who are not taught English; the same point applies to immigrants (in particular Latinos) who demand their kids be educated in their native language, little realizing what that will do to the kids in terms of being able to function in the the US culture.

  • Paotie

    Clavos,

    Thanks. In fact, I encourage you to check out the DCDeaf blog, and look at the arguments that follow the initial comments. You can see the contradiction between the original intent of Gallaudet and it’s current focus on the promotion of social and political values, rather than intellectual and academic education.

    Hope the editors don’t mind the link (it should be noted that someone derided the quality of BlogCritics and suggested people needed their “ass kicked” – which shows the juvenile extremism prevalent within deaf culture.)

    Paotie

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Paotie,

    Like Clavos, I’m very impressed with your responses to the various folks who have attempted to argue with you. You evidently have a excellently well honed verbal sabre and use it well.

    But, like Mike West, I do notice that your articles are light on links where they could be heavier. I see two possible reasons for this. One is that in writing the article, you just didn’t think to put them in. When writing an opinion piece, I go light on the links also. When I label it “news,” by contrast, I try to set in at least a few links, though I must admit that others are better at this than I.

    The other possibility is that you are developing a stance and attempting to speak for others of similar mind, but folks who do not necessarily have links to link to. This is what I sense to be the case.

    In other words, you are the link developing what is the argument of the dissident. But in that event, you need to provide some other source of ideas, if only to reassure readers like Mike West that you are not making all this up out of thin air.

    I tend to agree with your basic approach. You do not need to convince me. But as Joseph Stalin once observed, “total agreement is found only in the grave.” Since, thank G-d, all of us appear to be alive here, not all of us agree automatically. those links are often (but not always) good tools of persuasion…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Sorry, That should have read “I do notice that this article is light on links…”

  • Paotie

    Thank you, Ruvy.

    You’re right regarding the links and citations. I tend to not provide links because I didn’t particularly want the links/citations to become the focal point of the article, in part because some of my points are aligned with the writings of the deaf author, Tom Bertling – who is viewed by many as a pariah within deaf culture himself.

    It’s a bit of a case of whether or not the egg or chicken comes first. But, I do agree (and respectfully apologize to Mr. West) that the need for citations/links will only enhance my points and not subtract from the substance of my article.

    Thanks for the advice! One good thing about being deaf – I won’t miss a wink of sleep even after people continue (stupidly) shooting fireworks all through the night during the 4th of July.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • moonraven

    A concerned citizen:

    There already IS a fusion of English and Spanish. It is widely spoken along the border and there are even some writers who use it.

    It is called Spanglish.

  • Clavos

    Except where it’s spoken; there it’s called Tex-Mex or Pocho.

  • moonraven

    No it is not.

    Pocho refers to a Mexican by birth who has culturally assimilated to life in the US.

  • Clavos

    mr, I LIVED there. That’s what it’s called along this side of the border, whether you agree or not.

  • Paotie

    Clavos/moonraven –

    For what it’s worth, the Harvard educational researcher and author, Sandra Stotsky, in her book, “Losing our Language,” suggests that the multicultural approach to education, in particular to reading and writing in English, has led to the watering down of educational standards and abilities of American school children as a whole.

    She partially blames educational publishers for bowing down to popular and contemporary demands for increased multicultural textbooks as a way to increase reading and writing skills in conjunction with teaching American children about the diversity of America without research sustaining the purpose of multicultural education. She argues that the results have been the opposite: academic standards have been dumbed down considerably – especially since the early 1900’s. Also, she notes prior to 1990’s, the number of educational textbooks published for children containing positive diversity views were few and far in between. Rather, the focus on the stories involving cultural diversity were consistent with establishing “white guilt” and “victimization” (my word) through stories in which ethnic groups were celebrated as being victims in contrast to the larger (white) society were more prominently featured.

    In fact, Harvard African American Studies professor, Anthony Appiah describes the multicultural approach to education as facilitating the opposite of diversity and aims to, “close young people off into identities already ascribed to them,” rather than promote increased academic standards and abilities of American school children, as well as diversity.

    Also, she notes that original stories, such as “Black Beauty” and “Robinson Crusoe” have been edited and re-edited to the point that higher-level word order no longer exists in American textbooks. The modification of these stories by educational publishers seems to suggest that publishers cater to the demands of various educational institutions, as well as popular political views prevalent during each publication.

    I wonder if this comment was better served in Dave Nalle’s recent article regarding the Supreme Court’s decision. In any case, as I said, read into it however you like. Just offering something on the table for you to consider.

    Happy 4th of July.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • moonraven

    clavos, I don’t give a fuck where you SAY you have lived.

    I lived for ten years in New Mexico and for the past 14 I have lived in Mexico, am a specialist in linguistic studies [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor].

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    God, she becomes an expert on whatever is convenient at any given moment.

  • Clavos

    Yup!

  • moonraven

    I realize the concept of a well-educated, well-travelled polylingual Renaissance Person is way beyond your piddling understanding of the world.

    But that doesn’t mean that it does not exist.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Hey, Gran’ma, the concept exists but you ain’t the paradigm.

    I notice you have moved up the alphabet from pibble to piddle; where will you pause next? Piffle? Piggle?

  • STM

    Hello America.

    I’d just like to offer you my heartfelt commiserations on the sad anniversary of your dreadful mistake in breaking away from the British Empire.

    I do feel for you all, but I suggest trying to enjoy the day anyway as you never know what the future will hold.

    Like the prodigal son, I’m sure you will all be welcome back one day.

  • Clavos

    You’re just jealous ’cause we all got to drink beer all day today…

  • kstein

    (#51–Paotie):

    Paotie: “Well, prices are subjective [sic] to geographical markets and economics, so the point really isn’t about prices, which I shouldn’t have inserted.”

    Thank you for that last admission. Based on the last few postings, you are starting to realize the importance of substantiating your claims. Fabricating “facts” in order to support your opinions just isn’t pretty and results in loss of credibility among your readers.

    While prices (of anything) are, indeed, subject to geographical markets and economics, you specifically stated your story occured on the east coast, which, as I stated, is where I work. I would love for you to tell me what interpreter–anywhere in the country, at any point in time–charges anywhere near $480 for a 20-minute dental appointment.

    You say that the “point [of the story] isn’t really about prices” when, of course, it is. Your story is about a dentist faced with having to pay exorbitant interpreting fees (and the resulting uproar when he doesn’t), isn’t it?

    Paotie: “Either way, the dental story actually happened, and thanks for selectively ignoring that.”

    Since you called this account a “story,” we thought it was an example you created to illustrate your point. Now that you have said it is true, here’s the rest of the story, which you were either unaware of or “selectively ignored”:

    1) Had the dentist done his homework, he would have discovered the “undue burden” clause in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which would exempt him from providing accommodations beyond what his practice could reasonably be expected to afford. Furthermore, he would have learned about tax breaks given to businesses that are required to provide accommodations.

    2) The ADA requires that service providers arrange and pay for “auxiliary aids” when needed for effective communication. This term includes interpreters, assistive listening devices, captioning, and more–even pen and paper where effective (although in the case of a dental exam, writing back and forth could take twice as long, resulting in the dentist losing another appointment that day, so not sure how this suggestion of yours is fiscally wise).
    So this means that hard of hearing folks who don’t use interpreters have just as much right to insist on the reasonable accommodations they need. Just as some deaf signers advocate for their legal right to interpreters, some non-signing deaf people also (frequently) advocate for their communication needs. In other words, such laws aren’t written to provide special rights to any one group (ASL users), as you imply.
    (ADA info at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm.)

    Paotie: “Why aren’t there more deaf medical doctors or dentists than currently? If the educational system was so marvelous, why aren’t there more deaf doctors given the highly specialized nature of deaf education itself within deaf residential schools, and in particular, Gallaudet given the huge resources spent on educating the deaf?”

    Not related to your dentist story, but anyway….
    I do not pretend to know the stats on how many deaf doctors there are in proportion to the total population nor if this number is increasing or decreasing. This is something I do not know, and so I do not speculate or fabricate. I do know that we’ve got to collectively find ways to improve the dismal state of deaf education in this country.

    In summary, I whole-heartedly agree with #39, who says, in essence, that informed debate on these topics is important. Frankly, I’m still waiting for the “informed” part of the debate here to begin.
    ks

  • STM

    Clav: “You’re just jealous ’cause we all got to drink beer all day today … ”

    Drowning your sorrows, eh?

  • Clavos

    Good comeback, SS.

    Score one for the haberdasher.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Hey, Gran’ma, the concept exists but you ain’t the paradigm

    You done stole the words outta me own mouth, Chris. This is scary – we’re agreein’ on something again…

  • Paotie

    ks ..

    *yaaaaawn*

    The $240/hour was a figure given on a MySpace Interpreter group by an interpreter. The area, I think, was in Mass., though I’ll have to comb through the postings again to find that specific location.

    In New Mexico, the going rate is $50/hour with 2-hour minimum requirements.

    Dental exams cost $25.00.

    You also assume the ADA ONLY requires interpreters. Wrong – the ADA requires “reasonable accommodations” and in the infinite wisdom of Congress, this is a vague definition of what exactly a deaf person requires in terms of accommodation, and the cause of much fear and disinformation.

    And, you assume every dentist in America has the infinite knowledge of tax breaks and the like for the ADA and/or deaf people that you have. One problem your comment illuminates is the lack of outreach provided by many deaf and interpreter organizations about the ADA, and what exactly deaf people need because again, not ALL deaf people require the same things. Some require transliterators; some require interpreters, and some simply require pen and paper.

    And, maybe you’ve never been to a dentist, but my dentist and I worked out my dental exam nicely. He simply opened his mouth WIIIIIIDE when he wanted me to open my mouth WIIIIIIIDE so that he could inspect my teeth and clean them. When he wanted me to spit, he made a face that looked like he was about to spit tabacky, which caused me to laugh AND spit.

    I like my dentist. I didn’t force him to shell out $100 to have an interpreter tell me, “Open mouth WIIIIIIIIDE.”

    Or, “Spit.”

    I’m not militant either. I tell my dentist, “if we have a major surgical procedure, can you give me all the written literature available, and if I have any questions, can I email you?” He’s wonderful. His secretary emails me.

    It costs us NOTHING to communicate.

    Next time you open your mouth WIIIIIIDE for a dentist, think about me.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Paotie

    Oh, and by the way, my dentist wears a transparent facemask/cover. Whatever it’s called.

    *yaaaawn*

    Nite nite.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • sr

    LOUDER PLEASE, I CANT HEAR YA-ALL.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    STM, that stuff they drink in the US isn’t beer!

  • kstein

    Not reading carefully, Paotie.

    You (#73): “You also assume the ADA ONLY requires interpreters. Wrong – the ADA requires “reasonable accommodations…”

    Me (#69): “The ADA requires that service providers arrange and pay for “auxiliary aids” when needed for effective communication. This term includes interpreters, assistive listening devices, captioning, and more–even pen and paper where effective.”
    And my posting goes on to discuss the term “reasonable accommodations” in the same light.

    You: “In New Mexico, the going rate is $50/hour with 2-hour minimum requirements.”

    Me (#40): “A typical charge here [east coast] ranges from $35-$50/hour for direct contracting.”
    Ah, we agree!

    You: “Dental exams cost $25.00.”

    Me: Can’t really make a statement like this. “MY dental exams cost $25.00″ would be accurate, as would explaining, if it’s the case, that this amount is your co-pay and that your insurance company pays your dentist the rest of his fee.

    You: “And, you assume every dentist in America has the infinite knowledge of tax breaks and the like for the ADA and/or deaf people that you have.”

    Me: No–rather, I know that east coast dentists have simple access to this information. Even if medical professionals choose not to learn about their legal responsibilities from the plethora of information available to them on the web, they can’t attend conferences or even open their business mail without receiving this basic info, which has been around since 1988.
    Of course, as you say, even more outreach can be done here, by all of us.

    You: “…not ALL deaf people require the same things. Some require transliterators; some require interpreters, and some simply require pen and paper.”

    Me (in case you missed it yet again): “This term [auxiliary aids] includes interpreters, assistive listening devices, captioning, and more–even pen and paper where effective.”
    Again–agreement! You just didn’t see it. I know–you were up late yawning.

    And finally–
    You: “The $240/hour was a figure given on a MySpace Interpreter group by an interpreter. The area, I think, was in Mass., though I’ll have to comb through the postings again to find that specific location.”

    Please do. I’m still waiting to find that interpreter who charged $480 for a 20-minute dental appointment on the east coast.

    Oh, I can’t resist…
    You: “Next time you open your mouth WIIIIIIDE for a dentist, think about me.”

    Me: Next time you open your mouth, think about me.
    (Permission to delete last statement as a personal attack :)
    ks

  • Paotie

    ks ..

    Again, the story I outlined did not say an interpreter charged $420 to interpret a dental exam. The $420 was based on a comment an interpreter made in a MySpace group in the vein that the interpreter shortage had created difficulties for deaf people in finding interpreters, especially for schools. I did NOT say that any interpreter charged $420 for a dental exam. Read it again.

    You’re picking fly shit out of pepper in disputing dental exam fees and interpreter rates. The fact of the matter is that if the deaf educational system had taught these deaf people to be self-independent and facilitate communication in ALL possible forms, including “auxillary services” then there would not have been a need for an interpreter for a simple dental exam. You imply throughout your comments that deaf people have a given right to interpreters, which the ADA addresses to some degree, but you omit the obvious and glaring problem inherent to educating the deaf:

    Why teach them ASL if they cannot communicate with their dentist without an interpreter? You are advocating continued dependency of deaf people on a language (ASL) that begets more dependency on interpreters. The wonderful thing about your comments is that they reflect the problem with educating the deaf.

    So, now that we’ve established that, consider this also: why is it that private businesses, such as a dentist have some moral or fiscal responsibility to provide an interpreter for a deaf person who has NOT been taught to be self-independent with regard to communicating with hearing people? And, if the deaf residential schools, for example, are spitting out droves of incapable, illiterate and uncommunicating deaf people, then why go to the extent to have the federal government spend upwards of $100 million per year for Gallaudet? Why do we continue to allow the existence of deaf residential schools who DO NOT TEACH DEAF PEOPLE HOW TO BE SELF-INDEPENDENT IN REGARD TO COMMUNICATING (caps added for emphasis) with the larger, hearing world?

    Why is it that the New Mexico Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing noted in it’s website that the primary organizations who FUND interpreter services are governmental and educational entities and NOT THE DEAF? Perhaps in pockets of the east coast, the majority of deaf people pay for their own interpreters, but given the woefully sad state of deaf education, somehow, that just doesn’t seem realistic.

    I love your comments. Keep up the good work.

    And, you know you will think of me each time you open your mouth WIIIIIIIIDE, because you know deep down, your argument is baseless and illogical in more ways than one.

    Cheers!

    :o)

    Paotie

  • kstein

    Paotie #78: “I did NOT say that any interpreter charged $420 for a dental exam.”

    By plucking a rate ($480, not $420) from one place and applying it to your story, you implied that an interpreter charged this amount for a dental appointment.

    Look–you already admitted you shouldn’t have quoted rates in your story, so I’m as ready as you are to drop the interpreter-rates-dental-exam-fees discussion. I was belaboring the point because it is just one example of how fabricated or manipulated “facts” lead to misinforming readers.

    I’m ready to move on to hearing from knowledgeable experts on all sides about the very important issues you raise.

    Anyone? Bueller?….Bueller?….
    ks

  • Paotie

    ks ..

    Awwww ..

    Gave up, already? I thought you were some kind of expert on deaf people, interpreters and deaf education, but can’t address the conflicts of your own logic, which are illogical, anyway.

    You just want to find someone who agrees with you. In the article, I mentioned groupthink – you’re a shining example of it.

  • kstein

    You’ll notice I never said a word about deaf education (despite a degree in the subject)–only about subjects I do know about, like interpreters and accommodations, and only then to correct the misinformation posted here.

    Was letting the silence continue in order to hear from other voices (from ALL sides, as I stated before), but it seems no readers are left.
    Pity.
    ks

  • Paotie

    KS ..

    It’s all about relativity.

    The article I wrote discusses deaf education.

    It appears that you are as much a part of the problem of deaf education than anything.

    Interpreter dependency by deaf people is what you promote.

    No wonder the deaf schools across the country are churning out teenagers with reading skill levels at the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade reading level.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Paotie

    ks…

    By the way, given the sad state of deaf education in the United States, coupled with educators of the deaf who promote continued dependency on interpreters by the deaf, the NM Legislature recently passed a mandate to study why deaf people there don’t participate in political activities.

    Part of the blame could easily be placed on the interpreters and interpreter shortage. Of course, if deaf people in New Mexico had been properly educated, then there would be little need to establish a legislative mandate to study why deaf people don’t participate.

    It says: “WHEREAS, deaf and hard-of-hearing persons often do not vote or register to vote due to a lack of availability of equal communication access that results in their inability to decide intelligently on the issues” – New Mexico State Legislature Senate Memorial 2 (2007)

    Now, we see deaf people are unable to faciliate other means to make intelligent decisions, such as reading various media outlets, blogs, editorials and so on and so forth. Instead, the focus is on access to communication, which is code for “interpreters.”

    There are not enough interpreters in New Mexico.

    CART is typically not utilized.

    But that doesn’t mean deaf people can’t talk amongst themselves, and/or with others in general to formulate an “intelligent” opinion.

    In otherwords, deaf people are simply too stupid to formulate an opinion without interpreters or CART, according to the NM Legislature, or more specifically, the NMCDHH.

    You’re doing a great job of helping me illuminate the farce that is called “deaf education.”

    :o)

    Paotie

  • WOW

    Does the fact that Deaf education levels plummeted in the 1880’s, after the Milan conference and oralism spreading, sign language being banned, mean anything to you? That Deaf people in the 1830-1870’s (many of whom used ASL and English, that they learned in SCHOOL from Deaf teachers) were commonly editors of hearing-based newspapers and magazines? That Deaf education levels were never higher than in the 1800’s. Do you suggest that all Deaf children struggle to learn to speak and lipread a PHONETIC-based language that they can’t hear? Some do succeed, what amazing minds they have, many others fail. Were Deaf people raised with in the age you are so impressed with, the early 1900’s, blessed with amazing English skills?

    In Sweeden, all Deaf children are taught Swedish sign language (along with their parents) as well as the written Sweedish language and spoken if their parents decide to have them learn it. There, DEAF and HEARING children have EQUAL written language skills in Sweedish and English. A place where all the children are taught Swedish Sign Language as a first language, shocking!

    Also, one thing to think about, at Martha’s Vineyard, for more than a century, everyone there hearing and deaf, signed. Deaf people were simply expected and required to fully participate in society, government, and all- and they did.

    But I guess Sweeden and Martha’s Vineyard should have just stopped using their “foreign” sign languages- as ASL is foreign in America. Yes some of its roots are from France and Laurent Clerc, but it was also greatly influenced by Americans here. You could learn that in any basic ASL Linguistics class…but wait, you don’t believe ASL is a fully valuable language.

  • Interesting

    As a hearing member of the deaf community, and a deaf studies major, I am confused by some of your arguments, and i would like to know about your personal research that you’ve done. What has brought you to your conclusions? I understand it is your opinion, but I’m just…confused.

    First of all 80-90% of deaf students are now mainstreamed, and deaf students have been primarily mainstreamed for the past twenty years (it started in the 70’s, and the numbers have gone up since then.) So, although you are talking about deaf kids English being ruined by Deaf culture and Deaf school, very few deaf people are acutally affected by this. Also, in Deaf residential schools nation-wide, only about 10% of the staff are d/Deaf, so it has to be hearing, fluent English users who are perpetuating the English difficulty.

    Also, isn’t it possible that the real problem for Deaf children, is that they aren’t exposed to ANY language as a child. We’ve seen what that’s done to “wild children” in extreme cases, it dwarfs their language for life. Deaf children, for at least the first few years, if they do not learn sign, have no language until they can learn to lipread and speak. They may have some access to some English with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and residual hearing, but definitely not full access. A signed language, such as ASL, is the only way to make sure a child has full access to language.
    When you have a strong first language, especially at a young age, it is much easier to learn a second language, and actually both can be learned somewhat simultaneously. However, a spooken language simply isn’t fully accessible to deaf people, especially as young children.

    Do you suggest that all deaf children learn to lipread and speak? What if they can’t/dont?

    Reading and writing is EXTREMELY important for Deaf children, OF COURSE, it is a necessity. I have yet to meet one educated Deaf person who says that English is not important. I have Deaf professors, as well as d/Deaf friends and all agree that written English is essential for deaf people to best function. Ironically, in my experience, and what statistics show, the pre-lingually Deaf people who have the best English skills OVERALL (always exceptions) have Deaf parents and learned ASL as a first language, with English a close second. As one of them said “It was much easier for me to connect the sign/concept I already knew, BALL (in American sign language) and connect it to b-a-l-l in written English, that it would be for a deaf child to connect lips moving in some odd way and connect that to the round thing bouncing on the floor; especially when ball, bell, bill, bowl, and bull look very similar on the lips, and a child could not see the diffence, that mouth movement, if it register at all, could have multiple meanings.”

    There is so much more I could say, but lastly I will say this, the Deaf people who I’ve met, now numbering several hundred, who have been most successful with dealing with hearing people that don’t sign, as well as being friendly with hearing people that do, grew up using ASL. Because they haven’t had to grow up trying to struggle to catch what people are saying in spoken English all the time,-and hope they’ll catch it- and they’ve instead been able to grow up like hearing children, -understanding most people most of the time- they are much more willing to make an extra effort to communicate by writing or gesturing or whatever they must do. I personally have had a great experience with the deaf community, and I learned English as my first and only language, and have been learning ASL later.

  • Paotie

    #84 – Actually, you are pointing out the obvious, although it may be so obvious that you’re missing it. The answer to your questions were, oddly enough, answered by yourself.

    If pre-Milan deaf people were newspaper and magazine editors and were taught some combination of ASL/English, then why is it that today, the majority of deaf students graduating from deaf residential schools have 3rd, 4th and 5th grade reading levels? If you go back on the comments thread, you’ll notice I posted a comment about hearing children’s educational standards have also been dumbed down since the 1900’s. So, both hearing and deaf educational systems in the US have been dumbed down, but the greater harm is to deaf people who NEED to utilize English reading/writing skills to survive in an ever-increasingly English world while hearing children can get by in life with minimal English reading/writing skills because they can COMMUNICATE with other people, while deaf people struggle to communicate effectively with anyone – regardless of whether or not they use ASL or English (and to highlight this point, hard of hearing people struggle mightily with communicating to other people, even among themselves.)

    Perhaps the educational attitudes in Sweden are what separates them from the US. In European countries, deaf people are able to learn multiple languages – deaf people in the US seemingly cannot. Care to explain why that might be?

    I never said ASL was an illegitimate language.

    The best point about your comments are: “Deaf people were simply expected and required to fully participate in society, government, and all- and they did.” That is obviously not happening today, and a large part of the blame rests squarely on deaf culture and the political activism that continues to spit out ill-serving paradigms. The evidence can easily be found in your own comments.

    #85 – Unfortunately, you appear to have been taught what to think as opposed to how to think relating to deaf education. Still, you are to be commended for asking questions.

    Read the above answer to #84. Your teachers are apparently teaching you a specific paradigm, rather than encouraging you to have a wider perspective of how to educate the deaf. Perhaps you have been fed a steady stream of Harlan Lane books on deaf culture, and not enough on other perspectives, such as those by Tom Bertling and the other deaf researchers/educators he incorporated into his books.

    The rest of your comments contain contradictory statements. You seem to suggest that hearing people have created poor English skills in deaf schools, and that’s a weak premise for a logical argument. That also is consistent with ASL militant views. Sad that your teachers have taught you that, but it also illuminates what drives deaf educational failures today.

    If anything, the comments in #84 and #85 reveal that deaf culture has created a generation (or more, actually) of culturally deaf people who are unable to read and write at sufficient levels – especially compared to pre-Milan if we abscribe to #84’s comments. Why would Gallaudet allow illiterate deaf graduate students to stay in school there, let alone teach undergraduate courses?

    Any other post-secondary institution that allowed illiterate graduate students to teach undergraduate courses would have been shut down immediately. If accountability were implemented, then obviously, something would have been done long ago about the educational failures at Gallaudet – and they still might if Gallaudet loses its accreditation (just so you know, I do not advocate Gallaudet shutting down, but I cannot support funding $100 million per year on a failing educational institution that continues to preach social and political values above all else – especially education itself.)

    :o)

    Paotie

  • wow

    Actually, you are pointing out the obvious, although it may be so obvious that you’re missing it. The answer to your questions were, oddly enough, answered by yourself.

    —-The answers are definitely there, but the conclusions you are drawing are trying to take the answers and twist them.

    If pre-Milan deaf people were newspaper and magazine editors and were taught some combination of ASL/English, then why is it that today, the majority of deaf students graduating from deaf residential schools have 3rd, 4th and 5th grade reading levels?

    This was when Deaf children were allowed to use ASL, and they had primarily Deaf teachers who could use the full language the Deaf children could fully ACCESS as deaf people, and they were taught ASL which bridged them to English.
    Now, VERY few deaf children learn ASL as a first language. Deaf education levels PLUMMETED after the Milan conference because so much focus was put on HOW they speak, that it wasn’t about WHAT they leaned. This continues for many Deaf children today, most deaf people get involved in the Deaf community, in college or later, after they’ve grown up being raised by hearing people with beliefs very similar to yours and it simply doesn’t work.
    Again, when you are talking about Deaf people today, 80-90% are mainstreamed, the number in deaf schools is relatively small, yet reading levels are not going up when these kids go to mainstream schools and are taught only use English.

    If you go back on the comments thread, you’ll notice I posted a comment about hearing children’s educational standards have also been dumbed down since the 1900’s. So, both hearing and deaf educational systems in the US have been dumbed down, but the greater harm is to deaf people who NEED to utilize English reading/writing skills to survive in an ever-increasingly English world while hearing children can get by in life with minimal English reading/writing skills because they can COMMUNICATE with other people, while deaf people struggle to communicate effectively with anyone – regardless of whether or not they use ASL or English (and to highlight this point, hard of hearing people struggle mightily with communicating to other people, even among themselves.)

    —-100% agreed. That’s good, we agree on something.

    Perhaps the educational attitudes in Sweden are what separates them from the US. In European countries, deaf people are able to learn multiple languages – deaf people in the US seemingly cannot. Care to explain why that might be?

    –You overlook a couple things, such as the fact that they learned Swedish Sign language, (which has a completely separate grammar from the spoken language in Sweeden) as a bridge to written/spoken Swedish. The Swedish government is smarter than to have them simply try to learn spoken Swedish first, as they know it doesn’t work. Deaf people there, Deaf militants as I’m sure you would have considered them, fought to have that happen, and it worked.

    —After the Milan conferenc, nearly all the Deaf teachers were fired from deaf schools and hearing teachers, preferably those who didn’t sign, were hired. THAT is when deaf people’s educatiion levels, and bilingualism, plummeted. When deaf children were no longer taught or allowed to use ASL. Even now, 90% of the teacher in the deaf school’s are hearing, and most of them are not fluent signers. When teachers can’t even use a language students can fully access, it would explain why they have problems in school. Also, many deaf children, with hearing parents, have NO language access until they are 5, they are already SO language delayed, when they get to a deaf residential school or mainstream school, the schools are just desperately trying to help them catch up as much as they can. Then, many of the schools are not equipped to handle deaf students with these needs, and deaf people suffer.

    —I never said ASL was an illegitimate language.
    I felt you implied it, I was wrong, correct me, although you have yet to accept it as a full language, regardless of how linguists accept it as a full and complete language.

    The best point about your comments are: “Deaf people were simply expected and required to fully participate in society, government, and all- and they did.”

    This was, AGAIN, as in Sweeden, when deaf people were allowed to use sign language fully, unlike in America where the majority of deaf children don’t have access to ASL, and consequently have difficulty learning English as a first language, a language they can’t fully ACCESS.

    That is obviously not happening today, and a large part of the blame rests squarely on deaf culture and the political activism that continues to spit out ill-serving paradigms.

    — Or possibly it rests on the attitudes of doctor and educators who believe that a child who can’t hear should continue to try and learn a Phonetic, sound-based language through a medium they can’t fully access, spoken English, rather than learn it as a much more effective way, by learning a language they can fully access, and using it as a bridge to English, to be able to understand as much of it as they can.

    Deaf people with Deaf parents and/or older Deaf siblings have better English than any other section of pre-lingually Deaf people, and they have ASL as a first language. They can fully communicate with their parents in a language they can fully access, while many deaf kids with hearing parents, who don’t learn to sign, sometimes make it to age 5 without ever knowing their own names.

  • Paotie

    I disagree.

    The basis for the existence of deaf residential schools – especially after the 1970’s – was built around the supposed need to teach deaf children ASL. Otherwise, you’re stating that the US has wasted millions upon untold millions of dollars on deaf residential schools – and Gallaudet itself. You essentially claim that mainstream and deaf residential schools did the same exact thing: teach oralism all the way up to yesterday, and is why so many deaf people are illiterate.

    This is not 1950. This is 2007. We have technology to allow deaf children to hear phonetics, and thus English as a first language. There were few resources in the 1950’s for hearing parents with deaf children. Even the past 30 years has seen an explosion of deaf linguists who proclaim ASL as a “native” language of the deaf. Your blame on hearing parents falls short of it’s intended goal simply because everybody, according to you, was too busy advocating the useless function of deaf schools and ignoring hearing parents’ needs.

    What a lovely bunch the educators of the deaf have been.

    Basically, you’re saying that the crime or injustice being committed for years has been by educators of the deaf, who selectively ignored hearing parents’ needs to understand language acquistion, and instead, poured millions of dollars into deaf residential schools who did essentially the same thing as mainstream schools. And, you’re advocating that the deaf educational system has been a fraud for thirty years or more and that illiterate deaf children that exist today are the product of medical doctors’ ignorance. And, meanwhile, educators of the deaf were socializing and hob-knobbing for the continued funding of deaf schools and Gallaudet, and when illiterate students popped out of the educational womb, it was all hearing folk’s fault.

    It’s still happening, obviously – only this time, you pretend that ASL is the cure. Wrong. It’s been the problem all along, in addition the prevalent groupthink that still exists.

    By the way – your comment: “This continues for many Deaf children today, most deaf people get involved in the Deaf community, in college or later, after they’ve grown up being raised by hearing people with beliefs very similar to yours and it simply doesn’t work.” has one simple flaw: hearing people. According to that comment, all hearing people do not belong or are not allowed to have opinions on deaf culture, deafness, or deaf education.

    Now you’re sounding like an ASL militant.

    Cheers!

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Paotie

    Dear Interesting and any other hearing Deaf Education students (and those with degrees):

    I am sad to tell you that the originator of post #87 has declared that the ONLY opinion or the ONLY people who are allowed to discuss deaf education are those who are culturally deaf. As my article outlined, this form of ASL militantism is what drives the failure of deaf education, as well as groupthink.

    #87 stated: This continues for many Deaf children today, most deaf people get involved in the Deaf community, in college or later, after they’ve grown up being raised by hearing people with beliefs very similar to yours and it simply doesn’t work.

    I am deaf. Even if I was raised in an oral environment, I was still raised in a deaf educational platform. Nevermind that you don’t know whether or not I know ASL or even PSE, what matters is that the ONLY deaf people that you should listen to are those who are “culturally” deaf. Just ignore everyone else. You must do as you are told. Because you are a hearing person, your opinion is irrelevant, and you should NEVER insert your opinion, let alone formulate one without a culturally deaf person telling you how to do so.

    The only opinion that matters is the one told to you by a culturally deaf person, I am said to say, based on the comment from #87. You just simply are not allowed any room for introspective, perception, research, enthographical research, and simple common experience with the deaf, whomever and whatever they may be.

    With deepest regrets,

    :o)

    Paotie

  • sr

    My family has a history of deafness and speech impairment. Back then they use to call it deaf and dumb. You can be deaf but never dumb. I learned how to speak with my grand-parents and uncles with my hands. Still remember some of it to this day. Can you imagine what is was like for Helen Keller. Deaf, speechless and blind and then go on to earn a Phd. Their is a GOD.

  • Wow

    I disagree.
    — I’m not surprised :)

    The basis for the existence of deaf residential schools – especially after the 1970’s – was built around the supposed need to teach deaf children ASL.

    — Most Deaf residential schools were established in the early 1800’s, and all Deaf students were sent to them, nearly all were “schools for the deaf and blind” and were seen by the parents sending their children there as a place to take care of “handicapped children.” For a long time they were considered institutions, much like mental institutions. Deaf people were sent there because no one else knew how to or wanted to deal with “them.”
    Ironically, attendance at Deaf residential schools declined heavily in favor of mainstreaming in the 1970’s, right when you are talking about this heavy influence. VERY few Deaf schools teach ASL, one that does however Maryland School for the Deaf, produces Deaf graduates who read English at much higher grader levels than most deaf people.

    Otherwise, you’re stating that the US has wasted millions upon untold millions of dollars on deaf residential schools – and Gallaudet itself.
    — Gallaudet’s goal is not to accept ASL as a language, it doesn’t even except it as a “language other than English” to satisfy the second language requirements for students, hearing or deaf. Also, still, most deaf schools still have very few fluent ASL users as teachers, as I’ve already pointed out.

    You essentially claim that mainstream and deaf residential schools did the same exact thing: teach oralism all the way up to yesterday, and is why so many deaf people are illiterate.
    Yesterday is exaggerated, but yes. For several decades Oralism was considered THE only acceptable way to teach deaf children, and still is by many people, when oralism started was when deaf education levels plummeted, there is a strong correlation. How do you feel about oralism by the way? Do you think any sign systems or languages should be used?

    This is not 1950. This is 2007. We have technology to allow deaf children to hear phonetics, and thus English as a first language. There were few resources in the 1950’s for hearing parents with deaf children.
    First of all, not all deaf children. There are some deaf children for whom hearing aids and cochlear implants don’t work. Even for those who it does work, the results vary with the individual, and I think you’d agree that it requires a lot extra work by the students parents and educators, which you could argue is true no matter what with any deaf child, but it also requires a LOT of very hard work and hours of therapy and dedication by the student. Learning to hear for deaf and hard-of- hearing people STILL requires a lot of work, work that hearing children don’t have, and work that deaf children who sign using ASL first, and from a young age, don’t have to do in order to learn language.

    Even the past 30 years has seen an explosion of deaf linguists who proclaim ASL as a “native” language of the deaf.
    Your blame on hearing parents falls short of it’s intended goal simply because everybody, according to you, was too busy advocating the useless function of deaf schools and ignoring hearing parents’ needs.

    —This paragraph is confusing how does the “even the past 30 years…” sentence correlate with the rest of the paragraph? I could draw several conclusions, but I’d rather have you clarify that have more misunderstanding.

    —I will say, to respond to what I do understand of your message, I never said that deaf residential schools were useless in function. One important aspect is the ability to easily communicate with people, something deaf people don’t have the privilege of doing with most hearing people. Deaf people can/do interact with hearing people every day, but as you said. “deaf people struggle to communicate effectively with anyone”–that is except other deaf people and hearing people who sign. Oral deaf people have to struggle to communicate with everyone, signing deaf people have to struggle to communicate with everyone who doesn’t sign. Who is more limited?

    Also, to respond to something you said in your original blog, ASL was not even recognized as a full language by deaf or hearing people until 1960…before that, there was no huge stigma to those who could sign using English-like signs, (there was no official SEE) and speak, in fact, many deaf people even assumed that those who signed in a more English-like way were more intelligent. Deaf children were not encouraged to use ASL and not English in educational settings almost ever….

    Anyway, please elaborate on your original point.

    What a lovely bunch the educators of the deaf have been.
    –They’ve been pretty bad, obviously something we agree on, or you wouldn’t have written the article. Our solutions are different but we both agree the issue is in deaf educators.

    Basically, you’re saying that the crime or injustice being committed for years has been by educators of the deaf, who selectively ignored hearing parents’ needs to understand language acquistion, and instead, poured millions of dollars into deaf residential schools who did essentially the same thing as mainstream schools. And, you’re advocating that the deaf educational system has been a fraud for thirty years or more and that illiterate deaf children that exist today are the product of medical doctors’ ignorance. And, meanwhile, educators of the deaf were socializing and hob-knobbing for the continued funding of deaf schools and Gallaudet, and when illiterate students popped out of the educational womb, it was all hearing folk’s fault.

    So much to say here:
    —Up until the 1870’s in America, Deaf people controlled deaf education, and deaf people did well. Laurent Clerc, a French deaf man, helped establish and teach at the first schools for the deaf, and his students were those who initially established most other schools for the deaf. When HEARING educators of deaf people got together at the Milan conference, and decide to ban sign language around the world, deaf education levels plummeted and have never recovered. Hearing people are still the ones who are heavily the controllers of deaf education. So yeah, I would say hearing people then do hold a lot of the responsibilty. When educated deaf people were educating Deaf children, and those children nearly all used sign language, deaf children and deaf people did the best they have ever done.

    -Addressing the Deaf residential schools again, they also serve a huge purpose educationally, but a LACK of funding and LACK of qualified teachers (deaf teachers were not hired for decades, often still aren’t) hasn’t helped. In that way, they are similar to mainstream schools, but, unlike most mainstream schools, most deaf schools have some VERY qualified staff, and there are other deaf adults and role models around- and again, you can’t negate a child’s socials needs that are being met at a deaf school, that are not met in mainstream schools, again “deaf people struggle to effectively communicate with anyone” – (anyone being those who don’t sign) most deaf children feel SO isolated from the hearing students around them AND get a crappy education.

    You again have ignored that most deaf children are language-delayed because they are 3, 4, 5 years old before they are even exposed to language. When deaf students get to school, they are so far behind schools are just working to help them catch up, residential schools almost always have better resources for that than mainstream schools. But lack of LANGUAGE during the CRITICAL period is the biggest reason deaf people struggle with English.

    It’s still happening, obviously – only this time, you pretend that ASL is the cure. Wrong. It’s been the problem all along, in addition the prevalent group think that still exists.
    Wait…you last sentence isn’t negating that ASL is a legitimate language?
    Again, language access…what language can deaf people fully access (in America). For a second time you ignored that Sweden and Martha’s Vineyard acted in the way the American Deaf community you so disagree with wants to, using a full sign LANGUAGE to bridge to a spoken one, English. They are two obvious success stories, Sweden a modern-day one, yet I guess their success is different because American minds are so different than the rest of the others in the world. We just “can’t learn multiple languages” as you strongly imply.

    By the way – your comment: “This continues for many Deaf children today, most deaf people get involved in the Deaf community, in college or later, after they’ve grown up being raised by hearing people with beliefs very similar to yours and it simply doesn’t work.” has one simple flaw: hearing people. According to that comment, all hearing people do not belong or are not allowed to have opinions on deaf culture, deafness, or deaf education.

    —-I did say, “This continues for many Deaf children today, most deaf people get involved in the Deaf community, in college or later, after they’ve grown up being raised by hearing people with beliefs very similar to yours and it simply doesn’t work.”

    First of all, I am a hearing member of the Deaf community, so if I really believed that only deaf people could get involved then I would be excluding myself.
    I never said that hearing people can’t be involved in the Deaf community, or when or how they are involved, I just stated the time when most Deaf people do. As I’m sure pleases you, most deaf people don’t even know much about ASL and the Deaf community until they get out of the K-12 system, and either go to college, get a job, or do whatever else they’re going to do.

    I said, “hearing people with beliefs similar to yours.” You stated earlier that you are deaf, I recognize and respect you as a deaf person speaking your opinion. I would like to hear more about the hundreds of deaf people you’ve met and interacted with that know who support your perspective, I would like to hear about your personal education. You talk the only opinion possible being that of “culturally” deaf people, have you honestly had deep discussion with an educated member of the Deaf community? I’ve had many discussions with oral deaf people who don’t sign, and don’t like sign, just wondering how much you’ve really tried to see the other side, REALLY see it, and not just accepted what’s been taught to you by the people who raised and educated you.

    Now you’re sounding like an ASL militant.
    —-I am an advocate of accessible language first, for nearly all deaf children in America (pre-lingually in particular) that is ASL. Being literate in English is TOTALLY necessary for deaf people in America, as nearly any Deaf person with Deaf parents will tell you. Learning a language that you can fully access in order to learn a second language you can’t makes sense.

    Cheers!

  • sr

    Sometimes I think it would be an advantage to be blind and not read the BS comments on BC including my own. Goodnight.

  • Cairo

    Worse, you’d though sr, you could have to listen to BS comments while JAWS or another screenreader service read them to you.

  • Paotie

    Hey Wow ..

    Just admit it: you’re an elitist hypocrite. First you say deaf people have no business formulating an opinion about Deaf culture; then, you say you’re hearing and are allowed to be an “expert” – but not deaf people.

    [Edited]

    Anyway, the sooner you admit that you’re an elitist ASL militant, and a “Deaf groupie” the sooner you can face reality.

    Mostly, I think it’s funny you created so much rent in your brain just for me.

    Awwww .. how sweet!

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Wow

    Hypocrit, hmm… you were the one who argued it was wrong that only Deaf people in Deaf culture could say anything, then a hearing person does, and you’re not happy with that either…guess nobody can say anything but you

    You gave up I guess, sometimes when the truth comes at you too many times, it’s too hard to take, ah well.

    Good discussion, I appreciated it.

    Here’s to the future of better deaf education!

  • Paotie

    Hey Wow ..

    To illustrate the contradiction in your logic, you said:

    “most deaf people get involved in the Deaf community, in college or later, after they’ve grown up being raised by hearing people with beliefs very similar to yours and it simply doesn’t work”

    And then you said:

    “First of all, I am a hearing member of the Deaf community.”

    You really don’t even know what you’re doing, do you? You validated my article in more ways than one. Outstanding! And the best part was you tried to discredit me, and in the process, you ended up making yourself a hypocrite.

    It’s ok – I understand. Your beliefs are only because of Deaf people telling you what to think – much like your claim about hearing people telling me what to think.

    Good thing I don’t believe in that, even if you do. It just goes to show the hypocrisy inherent to deaf culture.

    Pleeeeeease keep commenting! I love it!

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Wow

    Three times now you have ignored two societies where Deaf people have been most successful, modern day Sweeden and Martha’s Vineyard in the 1600, 1700, and 1800’s…places where they use/used a sign language different from it’s spoken language counterpart. Modern day Sweden’s Deaf children have Swedish and English skills equal to the hearing children there. A place where all Swedish Deaf children are allowed to sign, and their parents are required to learn sign, (through classes the government pays for) and they have Deaf mentors who, as you would probably look at them, are pro-Deaf culture. The people who fought for this were what you would call Swedish sign Language “militants,” when they got it, it worked! There is no society that uses only a spoken language approach where Deaf people have been as successful and educated. America tried it from the 1880’s to the 1970’s, it didn’t succeed for the high majority of Deaf people here.

    First I said, “most deaf people get involved in the Deaf community, in college or later, after they’ve grown up being raised by hearing people with beliefs very similar to yours and it simply doesn’t work”

    Then I said, “I am a hearing member of the Deaf community.”

    Where is the hypocrisy? Where is the contradiction? Some hearing people have beliefs similar to yours, some have beliefs similar to mine, most are just ignorant of the issues all together.

    Again, yes, I said that many deaf people become involved in the deaf community after being raised by hearing people with beliefs similar to yours. Some deaf children are raised with hearing people who have beliefs similar to mine, hence the clarification. Two examples of this would be Martha’s Vineyard and modern day Sweden, where deaf people are highly successful and educated.

    Please show me the hypocrisy.

  • sr

    Does deafness and speech impairment skip a generation or two. Would truly like to know. I have been told this however have not spent the time to research it. Thanks, sr

  • Wow

    Sr,
    Some causes of deafness are genetic, some are not. When it is genetic, from what I know and the people I’ve met, yes it can “skip a generation.” It seems to just become a recessive gene in hearing children of deaf parents, and when it is combined with their partners genes, they may or may not have deaf children.

  • wildnfree

    Paotie,
    Allow me to introduce myself, I too am deaf, and NEVER learned ASL. The schools where I went had “excellent” programs for deaf students that shepherded them through school, and today sadly most of them still have to be herded through life. Through the use of an extremely powerful hearing hearing aid in the one ear that is capable of hearing anything at all, and plenty of speech therapy, I HAVE NO HANDICAP. At times I hated my parents for forcing me to endure the cruelty of “normal” children. (’til I learned to kick their asses!)
    There have been times when I have run across some of the other deaf children that attended the schools that I did, and even today they are trapped in a separate world, like animals in zoo. They only fellowship with each other and for the most part only date/marry among themselves. A couple of them have succeeded in the academic world but most of them are stuck in the menial world of low paying jobs or survival on government benefits.
    Well meaning (perfect hearing) friends who attend the local social events for the deaf have invited me to come but I was a complete outsider, but my hearing friends just didn’t understand why it was so sad for me to see these poor souls.
    There is nothing wrong with these children learning ASL as long as it is used to build a bridge into society, and not a wall to keep it out. It can be done and I’m the living proof.
    My life has been great without ASL… Been through some women, none deaf (most could hear too good:0)
    Before putting myself back through college at night I worked as a mechanic (..lady your car sounds good to me..) Raised my (hearing) child mostly alone.
    My plea to everyone dealing with people with any physical disability is please do not try to lock us away in our own worlds, and protect us. Instead teach your children to forge full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes. That is living and if we get hurt or killed in the process at least we got to LIVE!
    Sorry Do-gooders but most of the time you do more harm than good.

  • Paotie

    Hey Wow ..

    Just so you know, I have the same gene that causes deafness, and in Martha’s Vineyard, that gene is quite prominent in deaf populations.

    Sweden ain’t the US.

    Maryland ain’t the rest of the US.

    You promote ideals that offer minimal reality for the majority of deaf people throughout the US, and your insistence to compare Maryland to New Mexico, for example, fails miserably on too many levels. Sweden has a smaller population than the US, so the impact of poor deaf educational systems probably is more profound there than it would be for the US simply because of population sizes, among many other things.

    Nice try.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Paotie

    WildnFree ..

    Your comments hit home on many levels.

    Perhaps now we see the result of deaf culture:

    Culturally deaf people reject the idea they have a disability. They are seriously handicapped with poor education and poor communicational skills given the fact so many deaf children have 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade reading levels. In any case, they insist they are handicapped because they require interpreters simply to function in society.

    Oralism, you seem to suggest, teaches deaf people that they DO have a disability (deafness), and reject the idea they have a handicap. What do you think?

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Karen Mayes

    I have been following this with some interest.

    I too share similiar concerns with Paotie…

    I have a few burning questions. What is the percentage of oral/CI mainstreamed students that goes on to being mainstreamed at the hearing colleges?

    At what percentage of this 80% group decides to delve into ASL Culture?

    Etc.

    Everytime when I view vlogs, read blogs and comments by “failed” oralists, blaming the oral education, I take it with a grain of salt. Really? I do know several oral deaf people who have successfully mastered the language English without learning ASL.

  • Paotie

    Hey Wow ..

    Couple of quick hits: are you of the mind that Oralism is oppressive?

    And that the NAD (National Association of the Deaf) is wrong for allowing a book on SEE to exist?

    :o)

    Paotie

  • wildnfree

    Paotie,
    The problem really is not the teaching of ASL, but the teaching of only ASL. We would gain a great number of hardworking, intelligent, fellow citizens and possible friends if we could just tear down the walls of the prison that they are kept in.
    Some accommodations have to be made by the rest of society but not as many as claimed by professional advocates.
    Education for the deaf and hard of hearing is stuck in the latter part of the 19th century and kept there by a group that depends on this to put food on the table.
    There are some who are completely an-acoustic and may never be able to fully function with 100% independence, but even they should be able to function in most work or social situations.
    We will never be able to change the minds of the hearing people who dis-agree with us because they really in their hearts believe that they are doing the right thing. BUT if we can inspire just one other person like ourselves to try the implants or wear the really expensive and annoying hearing aids, and tell others to look at me and speak plainly. Then this discussion will have been worth it, because we have set some poor captive on the road to freedom.
    Deaf and hard of hearing people join us, become reasonably prosperous and maybe even get laid occasionally. Sure you will have to make some accommodations for the hearing world, but I have discovered that once you get past the time of teenage stupidity that most people are gracious and helpful. The ones that aren’t? shoot them!

  • Karen Mayes

    Check out this link… seems there is a big division between two socieities… oral and ASL societies. Thought you’d be interested in reading it.

  • kstein

    Thanks, Karen, for that outstanding link. Soooooo refreshing to read an author who avoids knee-jerk reactions, name-calling (“You’re an ASL militant! And you, over there–you’re an ASL militant, too!”), and willy-nilly fingerpointing (at all deaf educators, at the voting system in NM, at deaf people wanting dental exams) and instead poses cohesive, logical, and substantiated arguments. While I agree with some of that author’s points and question others, I am secure in knowing that at least he 1) generally knows what he’s talking about, and 2) is able to state his points clearly and rationally. People LEARN from reading that post.

    What’s more, the subsequent discussion on that site is heated yet civilized and provides all sorts of useful information from a wide variety of perspectives. Many responses contain witty banter and sarcasm while remaining informative and respectful. Delightful!

    Conversely, I feel the author of this piece, on Blogcritics, (ab)uses this forum as an outlet for personal frustration and rage, which results in the watering down of key points that could have been informative to us readers.

    It’s like the schoolyard bully trying to pick fights–at some point, that person is the only one left on the schoolyard.
    ks

  • Paotie

    kstein ..

    Tell us: do you think the Jewish Holocaust was some fictional thing? Comparing Alexander Graham Bell to Hitler (which the link above did) is absurd – even if both believed in eugenics. Hitler put it to work. Bell had a deaf wife AND mother.

    Anyway, it’s ok. You are an interpreter for the deaf. It is ok that a deaf man is highly educated and can form an opinion different that the one you’ve created.

    It is ok. You don’t need to be projecting yourself towards other people. This is America, people are allowed to formulate opinions, rightfully/wrongfully. You think I’m wrong – great. I think you’re wrong – great.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • wildnfree

    This is what I meant, the disagreement is based on what I believe to be a very genuine effort to help. Paotie speaks from experience as do I. Although it is probably useless to ask, please consider opening your minds to greater possibilities than exist now.
    Lets face it people who are any way different make the majority uncomfortable, thus they prefer to keep us tucked quietly (pun intended) away, to protect themselves from us. They just do not realize it, they think they are protecting us.

    This will be my last post on this, as it is getting bogged down in trench warfare and will only end when the next to last fighter dies.

  • Paotie

    Anyone who doubts the veracity of the original article, check out a Washington Post article.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Paotie

    Hey Kstein –

    In reference to your claims that interpreters charge around the $50/hour range on the east coast, one interpreter in Maryland charges $110+/hour with 2 hour minimums. See this.

    So, simple math suggests $220 to pay an interpreter for a 15-minute dental exam.

    Oh, and it was in Maryland – not New Mexico, where the rate is $50/hour.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Todd

    I find it this whole discussion very inappropriate. Here is one hearing persons opinion, with comments from many people who have not heard any other points of view.

    If this discussion interests you, why not ask a Deaf person about their point of view. I am constantly amazed how many hearing people think that all Deaf people need “fixing”. It’s so easy to pass judgment and make assumptions when you do so from an impersonal, distant vantage point.

    I urge anyone reading this post to get informed. While the blog posts encourages thinking of the Deaf as a statistical group, these are real people with real feelings that can do anything that hearing people can do (except hear).

  • kstein

    The only reference I found to interpreter rates on the east coast in the link you provided, Paotie, says this (cut and pasted):

    “I work as a Freelance Interpreter in DC. I usually charge an initial fee of 110-120 for the first 2 hours.. and then its 45 per hour after that. But peoples rates are different.”

    This means that this interpreter charges $110-$120 for 2 hours of work, not for 1 hour. After 2 hours, each additional hour is $45. Charging a two-hour minimum is standard practice for many freelance interpreters and interpreting agencies around the country.

    Your original claim in your story is this (cut and pasted):
    “on the east coast, interpreters can charge $240/hour, with 2-hour minimum charge, which is the norm for interpreters – in this case $480″

    My role here remains as always: to correct misinformation about topics that I know, and to learn more about those topics I don’t know.
    ks

  • Retired Rhonda

    Now that the ranting and raving seem to be settling …

    There are several studies that show that Language Deprivation in the first years of life creates educational and intellectual deficits that are extremely difficult to overcome.

    I beleive that one study showed that Deaf children of Deaf adults perfommed equally well in school compared to hearing children of hearing adults.

    (Hearing children of Deaf parents performed above average – most likely because their little developing brains were exposed to both spoken and visual language; and deaf kids of hearing parents performed below average.)

    This means that Deaf kids who grew up with daily exposure to visual language – i.e.: ASL – grow up with intellectual and educational skills comparable to hearing children.

    However, deaf kids who grow up in hearing familes are not exposed to ANY language during the critical years when the language centers of the brain are developing. These deaf kids cannot hear their parents’ spoken language and the parents – usually – do not learn and become proficient in a visual language.

    These kids face life long deficits.

    Please note: these are generalizations. There are exceptions. As Todd noted above, every child – deaf or Deaf or hearing – is a unique individual raised in a unique family.

    The problem is not ASL or Deaf Schools. The problem is language deprivation in the critical years of brain development.

    Instead of arguing about the use of ASL in deaf education, instead of arguing about the cost of interpreters in different markets, we should be advocating for programs and laws that require hearing parents of deaf children to provide those kids with access to visual language.

    Thats my two cents.

  • http://www.paotie.com Paotie

    Kstein –

    Where ever art thou?

    In case anyone disputes the dentist story, here’s a more realistic and obvious case for you to stir your brains around with. This comment came from DeafDC.com – a Deaf blogging site that includes Gallaudet instructors who are bloggers as well. The comment?

    I know that most interpreting agencies charge around $150-200 bucks an hour with a two hour minimum. Now, the class that my wife was trying to register our daughter for is only 45 minutes long. That would mean we deaf consumers would be OUT anywhere from $300 to $400 bucks just for a measly 45 minute class …

    Click here to follow the link to the blog.

    :o)

    Paotie

  • Sonia

    I am not deaf. But I have seen deaf people having long conversations with their hand movements. I have seen these people conversing in groups and laughing together at some obviously shared thing and I have seen these people telling sad things to eachother. The signing language seems to be a language that facilitates communication and emotional connection. It is sad if these people do not share a language with the hearing, such as English but it is not reason enough to deprive them of a human form communication that meets their needs to connect with other human beings. We have forced native peoples to abandon their languages, did that serve them or us well?

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    These people? My parents are deaf. I was born into deaf culture. I can’t even begin to describe what life was like for CODAs (children of deaf adults) in the 50’s and 60’s. I’ve watched the evolution of deaf integration into society and took an active role in implementing Title VI of the Americans with Disabilities Act in my home state. Today life for deaf Americans is so much better with the advent of interpreters, closed captioning, phone relays and more. Are there problems? Yes. Can we work together to make it better and more efficient? Yes. And to those who would allow the deaf community to go back to the days when they were hidden away from society I say go to Hell.