Saturday, October 27, 2007

New Model: National Deaf School!

Jay Krieger proposes a radical new concept in Deaf education -- moving away from our Pre-Civil War state school model toward a modern and private National Deaf School model.


Amy said...


I'm glad you brought it up, and I've been thinking about the same thing.

First of all, the national deaf school model was created by using MSSD and KDES under Laurent Clerc National Mission Programs --- they are SUPPOSED to be the research-based schools, but somehow... it operates under the traditional school format. That's my opinion.

I wish we could have a private school focusing on ASL-English instruction - without depending on the federal and state dollars.

Once we depend on federal dollars, we follow their insane special education laws or Leave No Child Behind laws... they are not conductive to Deaf Education.

It is my hope that the large 'mega-schools' such as Florida School for the Deaf, Texas School for the Deaf, Indiana School for the Deaf, California Schools for the Deaf, and other schools that have 250 students to be independent from their state control... and they get affiliated to the National Deaf School Headquarters, along with new locations located in metropolitan cities (Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, etc.)

MSSD/KDES were SUPPOSED to be National Deaf Schools - but unfortunately they are not.

Amy Cohen Efron

Anonymous said...


What a radical proposal! I had seen how such a private school similar to what you presented on Maui in Hawaii. The school is Horizons Academy of Maui, Inc., and its governance and fundraising projects were fascinating.

I could vividly remember my old days back in late 1960's when Superintendent Lloyd Ambrosen of Maryland School for the Deaf was deeply involved in developing the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD). He hoped that five Deaf schools (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Deleware, and West Virginia) surrounding Washington, D.C. would become k-8 schools so they could graduate the students off to MSSD for secondary education.

Unfortunately he died of a heart attack, and David Denton entered the picture with a completely different concept. However, there were a group of parents who subscribed to the Ambrosen agenda and sent their children, including my sister and me, to MSSD.

Merv Garretson was my principal at MSSD, and he spoke a lot about developing regional model high schools across the nation based on the research findings at MSSD, but he liked something (Summerhill School curriculum) that the faculty didn't so they eventually pushed him "upstairs" in the administration hierarchy.

The initial plans for both MSSD and KDES (Kendall Demonstration Elementary School) collapsed into what is called the Laurent Clerc Center (LCC) whose priotities and functions seem erratic.

It's great to realize there is still a hope! People like yourself should pursue this National Deaf School concept aggressively.

Carl Nicholas Schroeder

Anonymous said...

AEPBD? What is that? (I know what CAEBER is)....ok I googled it it means
ASL/English Bilingual Professional Development (AEPBD) first time I have heard of it

Anonymous said...

We need a new deaf schools.

#day school with NO dorm.
#higher better education.
#ASL/English Bilingual.
#All teacher required know ASL.

Problem is, we sit and talking too much and do nothing!

Karen Mayes said...

I too thought the same thing (well, not the name of model, National Deaf School though :o) ) However, while it sounds a cool concept, it will open a new can of worms (or not.) What? What if some deaf children are termed as "not deaf enough", what if ASL is not their first language (ie, late deafened children/teenagers), etc. Even deaf parents have their own expectations which might come into clash with the school's philosophy. So forth...

Still it is a good concept to explore and hopefully something will happen.

Sigh... it is frustrating to see the state schools run by politics, with ever changing new politicians who know next-to-nothing about deafness (or deafhood... whatever.)

Anonymous said...

Interesting Topic, Jay.

Remember back then, during pre and post civil war years, there were no mainstreaming schools, no interpreters in the public schools, no support system in the public schools, no deaf employees in the administration office at the state-deaf schools and so forth.

There were more state-deaf schools due to the "deaf's" overpoplutation after the civil war years.

In the modern years, we have interpreters in the public schools, more mainstreaming schools, computer networks, and so forth.

Now.....state officials will recognize that there are several state-deaf schools that are now closed due to the deaf's underpopulation.

Do you really think that the mainstreaming schools have hurted the "closed" state schools?

I cannot answer that question.

White Ghost

Todd said...

It's nice to see a familiar face again on DeafRead!

First of all, I'm not quite sure I can agree that the premise is feasible given the current economic climate, and the statistical trends favoring a reduced Deaf population.

Secondly, there is already Model and KDES. They just need to take a much more proactive and visible leadership position among state Deaf institutions.

Here's one idea; MSSD/KDES could be obligated to serve Deaf students in states that do not have a Deaf institition, thereby preserving the option of a dedicated Deaf school for these students come IEP planning time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jay,

Very good vlog of yours.

Especially your proposal on doing with the new idea. Since it's your idea, are you willing to obtain the resposibilities to establish the National Deaf School New Model? (smile)

Best wishes,
Ms. Katrina

Jay said...

Anonymous 12:37 AM:

AEBPD is part of CAEBER. CAEBER is now located at Gallaudet, and still run by Steve Nover and others. It was researched and developed at NMSD and some other deaf schools, including Indiana Deaf, are implementing this.

Anonymous 1:24 AM:

Grins. We are not exactly doing nothing about it. We are talking about it! Ha. Often ideas float around and become food for thought, and then one thing leads to another. Or even a different form of the ideas caught on and took place.

Karen Mayes:

That is true. Some things simply become impossible if we are to accodomate everything and everybody. That sometimes cause the primary purpose/goal to lose its focus. Look at St. Joseph, they have a very limited scope yet they exist.

White Ghost:

Sure, thats my point -- times have changed, but our systems have not rolled with the flow. We need to adapt -- use technologies, cross boundaries, and so forth to survive. Like in any businesses -- sure new business can form, and sometimes they hurt old businesses -- but its up to the old businesses to reevaluate and adapt or evolve to remain viable.

Ms Katrina:

Yeah "walk the talk", grins. If I see momentum or changes toward that direction, I might get aboard and contribute. This is just a theory, but sometimes it catches on and becomes a reality.

Jon Savage said...

Reponse in video
philosophy of Waldorf education

Karen Mayes said...

Jon S., yup, about Waldorf... my two nieces who live just north of SF attend Waldord School... it is a different academic setting, up (does not teach ABC's, counting, that consists of "traditional education) etc., until well after 1st grade... mostly reading aloud stories, myths, learning to garden, knitting, world holidays, etc...but the graduates go on to the colleges/universities with excellent reputations... it is all done to nurture the child's spirit, full it with imagination, etc., as I learned from my brother.

Good idea... ISD is doing the same thing... in a way, teaching ASL, deaf tidbits, yet, as part of social learning in the early education. Academic learning comes later on... in the elementary years. By then, deaf children are already enjoying learning.

Good suggestion though.

Todd said...

After thinking about this for a few minutes, I'd like to add to my seemingly casual comments about MSSD/KDES being an appropriate placement for Deaf students in states that do not have Deaf institutions.

Ironically enough, the more Deaf schools close, the better chance that a National Deaf School could be established. Despite the closure of several state Deaf schools, Deaf students there need the educational placement option in these states. Simply closing the Deaf school doesn't remove the respective State's obligation to have educational placements such as a dedicated Deaf school!

A national Deaf school could be established and open itself up to students in those states, and charge tuition. If the states balk at placing their Deaf students into this school, they can re-establish their Deaf school (Highly unlikely.), or send them to MSSD/KDES and pay the required tuition.

Really, there could be a captive audience, and with a bit of creative Special Education legal engineering, a national Deaf school could have a critical mass of Deaf students and be able to collect tuition in operating the school. The states also save their scarce public funding, as they don't have to re-establish/continue their Deaf schools, a win-win situation.

Well, not really. I'm still in a favor of preserving state Deaf institutions. But, I also understand the law of diminishing returns, and states can only accept funding such schools for so long, before the numbers become all but unworkable.

Anonymous said...


National School for the Deaf is a magical name but would it become a reality is a good question.

CSSD ( Central Secondary School for the Deaf) was a magical name but it did not become a reality. When MSSD found in 1968, Chicago people wanted to establish CSSD in Chicago to follow MSSD. Eight states were considered to send deaf and hard of hearing students to CSSD. The committee members worked so hard to make it possible. A few years later CSSD became Whitney Young High School. There were few reasons why CSSD was not established . They were : not enough deaf students enrolled, state schools for the Deaf would not want to be folded.

Same principle for National School for the Deaf...How many students would attend there... How many parents would send their children to that values are important in children's lives????..We have to beg private organizations to make huge monetary contributions to keep the National School for the Deaf alive annually.

Sandra Goldstein

Lani1961 said...

I believe that a National School for the Deaf is necessary. If we have government regulation, they will never understand and support the deaf schools. Right now it's all politics. The state schools for the Deaf are grandfathered in. If you try to set up a charter, the states beat you down. I homeschooled my sons for 17 years. Maybe we could set up our schools under that model. There is an organization called HSLDA - Homeschool Legal Defense Association, who could possibly advise. Even "homeschools" often have school co-ops set up.

I know from my experience that the first thing we need is funding. That is why the government can make decisions for deaf educators. Money. It's all about money. We need to find funding. I'm not talking nickel and dime. I'm talking BiG BUSINESS, like Pepsico (who did the ASL Superbowl commercial) Use what we have. Supporting a National Deaf School could give companies major public relations kudos.

Personally, I'm tired of dancing to the state's beat. Time to cut the cord!!

Anonymous said...

The author of has written an excellent article. You have made your point and there is not much to argue about. It is like the following universal truth that you can not argue with: The opposite of upside down is not down side up. It?s upside up. Thanks for the info.