1. As teachers of the deaf, why should we be concerned with this population?
Hispanics in general:
- Current Demographics:
- Fastest growing group school-age population in the U.S. (Cohen, 1993)
- In the 25 largest urban schools in the nation, the majority of students are ethnic, racial, or linguistic minorities (Cohen, 1993)
- Projected Demographics:
- Year 2020: expected to surpass the Black cohort to become the largest
minority group in the nation (Fradd & Correa, 1989)
- Year 2030: about 1 in 5 youths will be Hispanic (Cohen, 1993)
- Year 2050: proportion of Hispanics will more than double (Cohen, 1993)
- Year 2080: conservatively estimated that percentage of Hispanics in U.S. will increase to 24% (Fradd & Correa, 1989)
- Ethnicity found to be a significant negative predictor of integration, placement, and exposure to reading content (Cohen, 1993)
- Continue to score far below their white peers on standardized tests and other educational
measures (Cohen, 1993)
- Gap for achievements is increasing rather than decreasing (Cohen, 1993)
- One of the largest dropout rates of any group in the U.S. (Gerner de Garcia, 1993)
- If they remain in school, much more likely to be tracked into vocational rather than academic programs (Cohen, 1993)
- If they graduate from high school, less likely than whites to attend college (Cohen, 1993)
- Similar changes in demographics have been found among the d/Deaf (Gerner de Garcia, 1993)
- Score the lowest when compared with their white and African American d/Deaf peers (Gerner de Garcia, 1993)
- Achievement levels suggest that the actual reading level of many Hispanic d/Deaf may be even lower than the 4th grade (Gerner de Garcia, 1993)
- Three to four times more likely to be classified as "learning disabled", "mentally retarded", or "emotionally disturbed" (Cohen, 1993)
- Speech is more likely to be classified as less intelligible (Wolk & Schildroth, 1989)
- Almost certain to earn less money over the course of their careers than white children of similar abilities (Johns, 1989)
Application of Information
Statistics concerning the poor educational performance of d/Deaf Hispanic children are both alarming and tragic. However, as educators, we must recognize that these achievement levels are more likely a function of the lack of specialized programs and culturally-sensitive personnel than the characteristics of the children themselves. It is our responsibility to develop an understanding of these studentsí cultural realities and to raise expectations concerning their performance in school.
Cohen, O. (1993). Educational needs of African American and Hispanic deaf children and youth. In Christensen, K. M., & Delgado, G.L. (Eds.), Multicultural issues in deafness. New York: Longman Publishing.
Fradd, S., & Correa, V. (1989). Hispanic students at risk: Do we abdicate or advocate? Exceptional Children, 56 (2), 105-110.
Gerner de Garcia, B. (1993). Addressing the needs of Hispanic deaf children. In Christensen, K.M., & Delgado, G.L. (Eds.), Multicultural issues in deafness. New York: Longman Publishing.
Johns, J. (1989). Black and Hispanic deaf students: Do we help or hinder? The Progress Report. Washington, DC: Gallaudet College Press.
Wolk, S., & Schildroth, A.N. (1986). Deaf children and speech intelligibility: A national study. In Schildroth, A.N., & Karchmer, M.A. (Eds.), Deaf children in America. Boston: College-Hill Press.