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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Bilingual, Bicultural Education The concerns raised by Dr. Stuckless (.AAD 1991, pp. 270-272) "about current advocacy and trends" in bilingual, bicultural education for deaf children, if they reflected widespread beliefs and practices, would also cause me serious concern "that many families of deaf children may experience pressure to make extraordinary adaptations that are detrimental to the family as a whole" (page 272). Fortunately, my readings and experiences with supporters of bilingual, bicultural educational opportunities for deaf children in the United States have generally reflected a true commitment to recognition and development of each deaf person's language skills in all communication modalities (spoken, sign, and written), and in two languages (English and American Sign Language), in accordance with the individual circumstances of each deaf person. For example, S. P. Quigley and P. V. Paul (1984, Language and Deafness, College Hill Press, San Diego, CA, p. 195), in supporting bilingual ASL/ESL (English as a Second Language) program options for deaf children, stated that such programs: ...might also fill a program gap in educational programs for deaf children. Hearing parents who provide an intensive early oral environment for their children can find school programs, public and private , that will continue this approach. Parents who use some form of early MCE input can also find school programs that use this approach. But parents who use ASL with their deaf children, usually deaf parents, can rarely if ever find similar programs in the schools. The option should be available. And if longitudinal research studies of the ASL/ESL approach were conducted with these deaf children of deaf parents, data on the effectiveness of the approach could be provided. It is possible, as seems to be true with the other approaches, that ASL/ESL programs will be found to work with some deaf children and not for others. The presence of extremist positions is not new to the field of education for deaf people, and I too have encountered the beliefs and attitudes that concern Dr. Stuckless. Also, as some of my colleagues have advised me, the entrenchment of traditional educational practices may require the expression of alternatives in strong terms that may both anger and concern some of us. There are, however, many reasonable supporters of bilingual, bicultural educational options for deaf people who (1) do acknowledge individual differences among deaf children and their families, (2) do discuss educational objectives, curriculum, instruction, and learning, and (3) are interested in research and evaluation. Therefore, I wish to suggest that either a special issue of AAD or a delineated series of AAD articles be devoted to bilingual, bicultural educational options and opportunities for deaf people, with thoughtful, documented commentary on published articles included as appropriate. This special issue, or series of articles, might begin with a selected recommended list of readings with annotations. Hopefully, this reference list will provide AAD readers a balanced perspective on bilingual, bicultural educational options and opportunities for deaf people. Frank Caccamise, Ph.D. Rochester, NY Teacher Competency Exams On June 10th, Governor Ann Richards signed a law which exempts deaf teachers from taking a competency exam (EXcet-HI) required of all teachers seeking a license to teach in Texas. This bill was introduced after several deaf teachers and teachers-in-training filed class-action lawsuits against the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This exam, laden with speech and audiology competencies with no requirement of demonstrated sign language skills, was reported to be biased against deaf test-takers. The passing of this bill was no easy victory. Two weeks before the vote, in a last-ditch, desperate attempt to squash the bill, the Texas Speech and Hearing Association (TSHA) launched a mail campaign urging its members to write their state legislators to oppose the bill. Fortunately, they were unsuccessful. One of the major frustrations working in teacher-preparation is getting the administrators at the state level and in speech and hearing associations to understand the critical importance of sign language competencies of teachers of the deaf. Hearing teachers, especially in Texas, can easily obtain state teaching credentials and be employed by a school district without demonstrating their competency in sign language. Unfortunately, for the deaf children in...


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