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Reply #135: Detroit's special needs schools at risk [View All]

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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #132
135. Detroit's special needs schools at risk

"I understand that they need to close some schools because of the money situation," Anderson said. "But this is the only deaf school in Detroit. I think we should have the option to choose what schools we go to."

The closure plan has drawn the ire of many in the community, including a crowd that picketed in front of the city-county building downtown Friday. Others protested outside the Day School for the Deaf last week and will get a chance to voice opposition to Bobb at a community hearing tonight.

The district will spend $35 million in the next five years for programs for students with special needs, said district spokesman Steve Wasko in a written response to questions.

"The district plans to build a new central center for students with the most severe disabilities, while other students will receive renovated buildings or be moved to newer buildings that are better equipped to serve them. Our program for deaf students is being aligned with the state's directive to accommodate deaf students in classes with their hearing peers."

The other specialty schools considered for closure include:

Nancy Boykin Continuing Education Center, which provides education for pregnant teen and preteen students.

Caroline Crosman Alternative High School for students who are one to two years behind their peers.

McKinney Treatment Center for students with cognitive deficits.

Detroit City High School, which targets students who school leaders say are at risk for dropping out.

Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women, which provides accelerated learning for gifted students.

Trombly and Westside alternative high schools.

Peggy Collrin is among those trying to save Day School for the Deaf. She taught at the school for 34 years before retiring and said closing it would be a waste of a facility that is tailor-made for serving deaf children.

Collrin said the school adheres to a policy of only a handful of students per teacher. And those teachers know sign language, something teachers in mainstream schools may not know.

"When you are hearing impaired, you have to focus very intently on your teacher," Collrin said. "The less a student can hear the more visual they have to be."

A deaf student in mainstream schools will have to rely on an interpreter, limiting direct communication, and that can lead to poorer performance academically, as well as social problems.

Collrin said the district has more than 400 deaf or hard-of-hearing students. Day School for the Deaf has 57.

For parents who don't want their children in a mainstream school, the closest institution designed for the deaf and hard-of-hearing is in Flint.

From The Detroit News:

School closures shouldn't just be a numbers game. Schools are places rich in meaning for students, families, neighborhoods. They are history and institutional memory. It's easy to come in and wave a hand and say "All of this must go" when it isn't your place. There are people living and going to these schools who want a say in the future. I think that's fair. Why should their past and future be totally erased and managed by ledger-bound corporate stooges?
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