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Reframing: Quality Educational Options for the
Deaf/Hard of Hearing
San Antonio, TX
July 23, 2014
Dr. Ronald J. Stern
Aims of Today’s Presentation
• Reaffirm/raise awareness
• PL 194-142
• Current state
• Discussion of critical frames of reference
• Your buy-in and keen involvement
Background Info
• Brown v. Topeka Board (1954)
o Segregation v. integration
o Separate but not equal
• State of special education
• Education of All Handicapped Children Act
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
• Focus on the individual child …
(1975: PL 94(1990)
Law of Unintended Consequences
• Incredibly potent law in life: good
intentions gone awry
• IDEA: diminishing focus on the “I”
• Increasing mindset and practice: one
size fits all
Bioecological Theory of Human Development and
Social Constructivism*
Obsolete: Nature vs. Nurture; Genetics Vs. Environment
Transformation: Genotypes to Phenotypes
Brain & environment operate reciprocally & progressively
Human beings - social and communal*
Knowledge & learning- socially constructed*
Interconnected structures in environment: micro-, meso-, exosystems
Bioecological Theory of Human
• Process-Person-Context-Time model of interactions
A cause for contemplation and
“All too often the deaf/hard of hearing child’s human
potential is chipped away by the environment.”
Kozol, 1991
“Schools are often a microcosm of inequalities that happen
in society”
Freire, 1970
Characteristics of a quality
Active learning
High expectations
Autonomy and liberation
Whole person development
Communication: Direct vs. indirect
Planned & incidental conversations and learning
Child First’s indisputable yet
elusive principles
• Communication and language is a human and educational
• Language deprivation is disabling
• Access to all interactions
• Multiple pathways to language learning
• Complete, accurate information for parents & family
• Instruction by qualified personnel
• Educational progress monitoring
• One size does not fit all
Minimum standard for deaf child’s
school placement & experience
As typically, humanely experienced
by hearing children/students
Continuum of placements
“Options are only options if they address all the fundamental
“General education curriculum is portable but access is not…”
“Address opportunity gap before achievement gap”
Contemplation and discussion
“Deaf/hh children can achieve at comparable levels with the
hearing not by ill-conceived attempts to minimize deafness
but by recognizing they optimally develop language when they
have full access.”
Hehir, 2005
Cogswell & Macy Act (HR
Proper Counting
Appropriately served
Individual needs
State and school accountability
Qualified personnel
• Petition
• Recruit and thank sponsors
Child First and HR 4040
• Mindset
• Our most important project ever – stakes have never been
• The prize at the end of the day
• Re-applying LRE
• Empowering parents
• Humanization of child: Integration and equality
Our challenges: Some reality
• Low number, low power
• Exporting understanding – gap between lived & experienced
• Counter-intuitive nature of being deaf
Moving Forward: Our mindset
The time has come for us to build bridges
not walls and a common set of
fundamental, critical, humane and
scientific principles to bring on quality
education of the deaf/hh child.
Wrap Up
• Tempus fugit: Time waits for no child
• Recognize urgency and what is at stake:
Identification and linkage of core,
indisputable principles and values
• Child First, Alice Cogswell and Sullivan-Macy
Act (HR 4040): Sign on!
Sources & Citations
Bronfenbrenner, U. (Ed.). (2005). Making human beings human:
Bioecological perspectives on human development.
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed.
Hehir, T. (2005). New directions in special education: Eliminating
ableism in policy and practice.
Kozol, J. (1991). Savage inequalities: Children in America’s
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