Friday, October 27, 2006

The MSSD gate, the ninth in hell for JKF and IKJ?

This is really spiraling out of control, the IJK/JKF handle on working with the protestors; authorising the Physical Plant Department to dump stuff and bulldoze tents. What next - fire hoses, german sherpard dogs with their sharp teeth, or rubber bullets even? I try to be rational, thinking this cannot be possibly be worse. I hope not, because high school students witnessed this and as Ben put it at his post (DeafDC) the credibility of JKF and now, IJK are shot to hell and back.

Ridorlive.com reported students being injured - I was incredulous, doubting the news. But Ridor would not make something up like this. He would seize facts and let others know. RT would rectify if he was mistaken. He didn't and is not. Joseph Rainmound also got some collaborating stories from those at MSSD.

I'm in management and much as I despise JKF from her work with Kendall and MSSD; and Provost (after Roz as VP of Academics left with her head held high), I initially disagreed but accepted the idea that JKF will (or would?) be the ninth President. Gallaudet was already deteriorating. Let it burn into the ground and a Deaf Phoenix will rise out of the ashes. JKF is still bent on her destiny to be President because the First Deaf President Chose Her.

Being an alumni, '95 (MSSD) and '99 undergraduate, an intern and an employee; I observed some crumbling of the institution on Kendall Green, the 99 acre campus in Northeast Washington DC. The system was at work - enrollment and resources were down. Starring in 1996, the PEP and Preparatory programs, a jumpboard for those to improve/polish math and English skills to a collegiate level, were shut down. The demands were transferred to Gallaudet English and Mathematic departments. With foreign resources to work with, their priorities were turned upside down. Remedial classes increased in a collegiate environment and students, most of them bright, couldn't go on to classes with their undergraduate peers. Because they were stuck in classes that Gallaudet were not prepared for. Some gave up, or went to a local community college to catch up. It's demeaning to study in the environment because your English sucks.

Every other person were apathetic about it, preferring to keep their heads down to study or leave altogether. Some students stopped returning from LOAs because their VRs were stretched to limits and maybe no other means to return except if their credit card isn't maxed out.

As every other civilization, race, creed, walk of life, we are humans. The University was and is rife with nepotism and meritocracy. That's life and it's how the world turns and churns. But, we are not expendable. A minority within a minority. There's always different degrees of preferred communication methods but people should unite with ASL as their official language and use their preferred language (be it SimCom, pidign, SEE, Cued) as their dialects. That is the beauty of Deaf Culture. There's not enough of us to go around - in a modern age where technology opened more doors of information and opportunities for deaf people to be considered more functional in society than dependents. The current generation of hearing people overall are slightly more educated and knowledgeable about deaf culture and ASL. The American society became more mainstream after the civil rights movement in the 60s and 70s. NAD worked with Congress to pass laws to ensure deaf children, and others with mental retardation and disabilities received special education in public schools with state and federal money. In 1990, ADA was passed increasing access to higher education, giving deaf students/academic choices where they could pursue their studies.

Gallaudet is a dying Mecca of the Deaf World - the priorities are different now. States are closing or integrating schools for the deaf into other institutions. ASL is recognized as an official foreign language to be taught in schools but for political and social reasons, ASL is not thought to be a primary language for educational purposes. There's no ASL 101 - that's like no English 101 for a hearing school.

Congress has several offices and there are independent offices to investigate institutions that are federally funded, to ensure they are meeting performance levels. Instead of being creative to keep enrollment levels up, the IJK administration especially with JKF on board for pre-college programs (now known as Laurent Clerc center) and Provost, and now president-designate, they choose to face hard reality and dumb down the quality and resources to keep the federal money running. They should be accountable for their actions and decisions they made.

ASL must be recognized as a official language for deaf and hard of hearing Americans to be taught in educational settings as English is for hearing Americans. The hearing folks have their own regional dialects and vocabulary varying from state to state. We are the same, de facto. The avoidance to recognize ASL continue to stew divisions across generations. Risks must be made. Stokoe said "eureka" when he recognized language patterns in sign language deaf people used in 1950s and 60s. The hearing people and those in administrations had around 50 years to get used to the idea. Move on with the times, people.

Students and academics are way ahead in times of research and owning their rights than the people in the administration. IKJ and JKF need to go. They are the relics of the past.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Barb DiGi said...

Yes, it has been overdue for IKJ and JKF to go! It is time for a true deaf leader to bring ASL out in the open. It is time to do a better job to spread the practice of ASL across the nation thus making it a requisite course in schools for the deaf.

Thanks for a great article Breenie!

10/29/2006 3:58 PM  
Anonymous JIM COYNE'73 said...

IT S ALL WELL AND GOOD TO BRING OUT ASL INTO THE OPEN.WHAT MANY DEAF PEOPLE DONT REALIZE IS THAT WHEN HEARIES SIGN UP FOR ASL CLASSES THEY OFTEN QUALIFY THEMSELVES AS "QUALIFIED" FOR JOBS IN THE DEAF COMMUNITY..THIS HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED BY THE CAD IN CALIF
HEARIES TAKE ASL COURSES AND THEN TAKE OUR "DEAF JOBS" EVEN AT GALLAUDET THE GREAT MAJORITY OF THE FACULTY ARE HEARIES-MANY WITH MINIMAL ASL SKILLS.TEACHERS CAN ASK FOR AN INTERPRETER AT GALLAUDET
IF I WANT TO GO TO CLASSES WITH INTERPRETERS I'LL JUST STAY HOME AND TAKE MY COLLEGE CLASSES HERE
WHY BOTHER WITH GALLAUDET-RIGHT?
JUST A SMALL EXAMPLE OF THE GARBAGE THAT WENT ON UNDER FERNANDES. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE
TEACHERS THAT CAN AND DO SIGN FOR THEMSELVES HAS BEEN ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MADE GALLAUDET SPECIAL

10/30/2006 7:54 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home