Are the children's educational needs being met?

The educational needs of many d/Deaf African American children are not being met. Historically, they were placed in segregated schools where teachers weren't necessarily trained in education.(Aramburo, 1990) Like many hearing African American children, educational standards are lower than their White counterparts.(Cohen, 1993) Although d/Deaf children of all races tend to score below the average hearing students on standard achievements tests, d/Deaf African American students tend to score even lower than d/deaf White students. They are also less likely to attend college. Of the 2,000 students attending Gallaudet, only 150 are African Americans.(Lane, 1996) Many d/Deaf and hard of hearing African American children are graduating from high school with certificates, rather than diplomas. (Aramburo, 1990)

One problem may be that the educational curriculum tends to be eurocentric and lacks the children's own cultural experiences.(MacNeil, 1990) As in the Statewide Center (SWC) in Honolulu, Hawaii, the students ethnic diversity is integrated throughout their school curriculum and school year.(Fernandes, 1997) There objective is to develop knowledge and skills in both ASL and English.(Fernandes, 1997) They have different foods prepared by classrooms and the cafeteria, that represent the diverse cultures of the student population.(Fernandes, 1997) It involves parents and staff working together for the good of the children.(Fernandes, 1997) It is the center's hope that they create a model environment where students achieve.(Fernandes, 1997)

Insight and Application: These children need to have better educational opportunities met. They need to be able to compete with this fast growing and technically advanced world. To often, the educational programs that these children are part of, denies them the best possible education. They are not encouraged to focus their course work on academics or going to college.

As parents and professionals, there must be encouragement and opportunities made available to them. An environment must be created where, first, a child feels comfortable and second, stimulates the child's learning style. Most of these children have normal cognitive abilities and they need to be pushed to be the best they can be. Parents and professionals must collaborate and work together. The Deaf culture, as well as the students ethnic background needs to be incorporated into the curriculum and lessons an a daily basis.

Aramburo, A. (1992). Sociolinguistic aspects of the Black deaf community. In Conference Proceedings. Empowerment and Black deaf persons. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University.

Cohen, O. (1993). Educational needs of African American and Hispanic deaf children and youth. In Christensen, K., & Delgado, G. (Eds.) Multicultural issues in deafness. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishing Group.

Fernandes, J. (1997). Current trends: SWC as a microcosm.

Lane, H., Hoffmeister, R., & Bahan, B. (1996). A Journey into the Deaf-World. San Diego, Ca: Dawn Sign Press.

MacNeil,B. (1990). Educational needs for multicultural hearing- impaired students in the public school system. American Annals of the Deaf,136, 392-400.

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