If Bilingual Education for the Deaf is so great, why are the school test scores so low?

Uploaded by DrDonGCSUS on 13.05.2011

In my previous vlogs, I've explained about language acquisition
and the importance of early exposure and acquisition of language.
And how it helps the bilingual transfer of skills in a first language to a second language.
When skills in a first language are weak, skills in the second language will also be weak.
Early exposure to language is important.
It is not important just for linguistic reasons --
it is also important for academic skills.
When Hearing children are born, they're constantly bomarded
with words, and at the same time, they're learning -- about concepts,
ideas, philosophy, math,
and so on. Everything is taken in consciously or unconsciously
which means that when they enter school at age 5,
they are READY for academic skills such as reading, writing and math.
Their teachers can then go from the right starting point and teach from there.
The same goes for Deaf children from Deaf families --
their parents sign to them from birth
and they acquire language and information in the same manner --
all the philosophy, math, history, and so on is taken in.
So most of them at age 5 are ready to learn at the appropriate academic level,
if the school uses their first language -- ASL.
They're ready to go from their first day of school.
But, if Deaf children with Hearing parents who use oralism or SEE,
their language foundation will not be as strong or filled with the information
so that they're behind when they enter school at age 5
which means that teachers must take time to provide those foundational skills and knowledge
in order to catch them up.
Can they catch up?
It's possible, but while they're catching up,
the other students are already making their own progress further ahead.
Schools for the Deaf have a mixed population
of students from Deaf and Hearing families.
We often see test scores from schools for the Deaf
which are low, compared to public schools with Hearing students.
Why is that? If bilingual/bicultural education is wonderful,
then that means the test scores should be equal to the public schools, right?
It must be understood that those test scores are an AVERAGE
of ALL students in the school for the Deaf.
It includes Deaf of Deaf and Deaf of Hearing, and depending on
the ratio of the population, test scores will be pulled downward.
Suppose we aggregated out those Deaf of Deaf or who entered the program at 5 years old,
or before, and were exposed to signing early so they were ready at enrollment,
and compare them to Deaf from Hearing families
who did not enroll at the school until later,
what would happen? What would those results look like?
Back in 2007 or 2008, at the Cal-Ed conference,
Dr. Klopping (Supt.) announced that
in the previous year, ALL the students who had enrolled at CSDF from Kindergarten on
and stayed from K-12, all passed the State HS Exit exam,
which means they could get a full diploma.
This indicates they were able to learn and reach levels equivalent to a 12th grade education.
Dr. David Geeslin, who is now Supt. of the Indiana School for the Deaf,
did his dissertation research at ISD.
His research shows that students who have longer exposure to bi/bi education
had higher SAT scores compared those who had less time in this educational program.
This shows that bi/bi education helps language, reading, writing and general academic skills.
AND, their SAT scores were higher than the national average for Deaf students.
So again, this shows that Bi/Bi education DOES work.
But when we have students transferring in to Bi/Bi schools from
late elementary, Middle school, or even High School age,
this means their language and academic development
is delayed, and this delay transfers
to their skills in the Bi/Bi environment
There is only so much the schools can do to help them catch up.
They will be constantly working to try to catch up.
It's hard. And that's what we're seeing in the averaging of test scores
at the schools for the Deaf.
But these don't truly show the school's performance, if they are allowed
to have the students from the beginning and to proceed from the same base point as Hearing students.
That's why schools for the Deaf, especially those with Bi/Bi programs,
are important for providing appropriate language and academic skills.
That's why we must support and encourage schools for the Deaf,
and not allow people to insert oral and other ideas into their programs.
Oralism has not worked.
Schools for the Deaf, ASL, and Bi/Bi education
is the only one that has been proven to work!