“Our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow. But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you the wisdom of the old. Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh? Can marsh grass flourish without water? While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut, they begin to wither more quickly than grass. The same happens to all who forget God.” Job 8:8-13a
The Senators on the Appropriations Committee voted to pass House Bill 1367 10 to 1. Not surprisingly, several senators turned their backs on the people whom they said would vote ‘no’ to the bill. While the point of the bill has a valid point, is the placement of Outreach in terms of services; however, not where it is. The chance for positive change is minimal.
Why? The only positive change is that it will be placed on a pedestal higher than Indiana School for the Deaf; however, the rest of it is what will go wrong. Indiana is the first domino and the world is half watching, not believing it is real. Look at California two years ago (AB 2072) and New York last year (4201 Schools), all that work will be wiped out with Indiana. The chance of bilingual success will come to a resounding crash…. once again.
Once again? It happened 130 years ago and its influence is still felt today. The new face of the people pushing for monolingual education on deaf and hard of hearing? Cochlear Implants. Yes it is, that is why HEAR Indiana’s slogan says “Doing Deaf Differently”, it has nothing to do with people but to do with cochlear implants.
It feels like me again when I was young out in the real world. My being deaf is ALL of me. The little piece of the puzzle that makes me, me is an entire puzzle piece.
The bill addresses only one piece of the puzzle and offers no solution for the other pieces of the puzzle. Here is one piece… I have heard stories but hands (mine and the interpreters/aides) are tied: Sign Language Interpreters in Mainstream Classrooms: Heartbroken and Gagged; http://www.streetleverage.com/?p=1903.
Know what Outreach did? They brought in Hands and Voices, a parent organization supporting bilingual use in families (guess what, they turned their backs on Outreach and rejected deaf/hard of hearing participants by giving them hard times and treating them like children, all if not most are parents of deaf children), they established an annual conference for teachers of the deaf and education interpreters in the summer (I have gone to 5 of them and I am neither, *addicted*/St. Joseph only attended 2 conferences) and improved services drastically since its formal recognition in 1999 (at no extra cost to the state and its taxpayers). The curriculum in use for working with families includes ALL sorts of information from English to ASL to bilingualism and from no technology to cochlear implants to name a few.
So why am I so whoo whoo about Outreach? I have had the greatest opportunity to participate in several programs/services with Outreach and can attest that I have been challenged over and over again with my personal preferences, education and knowledge. So this Outreach is at risk, yes at risk, for destruction of unbiased information and an agenda that promotes apathy, monolingualism and a lack of quality education.
Speech does not make education.
That is the past, present and future. The wisdom of the past is defiled. Many of us are beginning to be business owners, partners with hearing people and opening our eyes to the world that has been denied us for generations, with an exception of few families who defied the oppression and pushed for their children to be successful in the real world with ALL tools and resources.
This is one piece of the puzzle of what it is to be a human being. The ecosystem is another piece: “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” Tribe unknown.
By placing ourselves above the kingdom of animals by calling ourselves just human will be our undoing. That is another piece of the puzzle missing. The White Americans placing themselves above the Native Indians and Latinos of the New World will be their undoing. A puzzle missing.
“Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”