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Idaho Council for the Deaf   

and Hard of Hearing   

Deaf Education Reform Information


Deaf/HH Education Changes

Over the past several years, a series of events has led the Idaho State Board of Education (SBOE) and some policymakers to propose imminent changes to the way education services are delivered to deaf and hard-of-hearing students.  If you have questions or comments for the SBOE about this topic, you may contact the SBOE's Transition Coordinator.

What Does the Council Recommend? 

The Council's position on this issue is that our state needs to have a full continuum of viable placement and communication options from which families and IEP teams can choose.  The elimination or under-funding of one or more options on the continuum would be harmful to some families.  There are five major categories of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.  The Council has an obligation "to act in the interests of the deaf and hard of hearing population" (Idaho Code 67-7302). Accordingly, we recommend that sufficient resources be allocated to each of these student populations:

1. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students who need direct instruction in ASL from certified teachers of the deaf in a school for the deaf with a critical mass of peers in a metropolitan area.  A residential component is an essential part of the academic experience for students who do not live within daily commuting distance to the school. 

2. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students who need mediated instruction through qualified interpreters or transliterators in a regular education environment.  Some of these students may also need direct instruction from certified teachers of the deaf and/or other pull-out services.

3. Deaf and severely hard-of-hearing students who need direct instruction from certified auditory-oral teachers of the deaf in a specialized auditory-oral environment from birth to age six or seven.  Many of these students need the majority of specialized resources invested during the first years of their education until they transition to a regular education environment.  Some will need ongoing specialized instruction and/or other pull-out support throughout their education experience.

4. Hard-of-hearing students who need direct instruction in a regular education environment with periodic consultation from audiologists.  Some of these students may also need speech therapy and/or other pull-out services.

5. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students who have multiple disabilities and need direct and/or mediated instruction in any of the settings above. 

Summary of Recent Events

The following is a general chronological outline of significant events that have taken place over the past several years.  To download the public documents that correspond to each of these events, please refer to the column on the left side of this page.

November 1999-present - Some Treasure Valley Parents Express Concerns over Lack of Auditory-Oral Resources

July 30, 2003 - First Deaf ISDB Superintendent Resigned

January 31, 2005 - Senator Hal Bunderson Begins Advocating for Auditory-Oral Education and the Restructuring of Deaf Education Delivery

February 10, 2005 - CDHH Recommends to Legislature the Formation of a Permanent Advisory Committee of Experts to Advise the SBOE on Deaf Education Affairs on an Ongoing Basis

March 4, 2005 - JLOC Orders Study on ISDB

March 9, 2005 - Senator Bunderson Asks SBOE to Distribute ISDB's Resources into Regional Programs and Advocates for Cochlear Implantation

March 9, 2005 - Two Treasure Valley Parents of Oral Deaf Children Ask for an Overhaul of Deaf Education

July 19, 2005 - SBOE Forms First Subcommittee to Revamp Deaf Education

August 2005-present - A Resistance Surfaces in Response to the Emphasis on Oral-Auditory Education

August 2005-present - Some Stakeholders Push for ISDB's Relocation to the Treasure Valley

October 17, 2005 - OPE Releases Report on ISDB

October 28, 2005 - ISU Offers the SBOE a Comprehensive Study at No Charge

November 14, 2005 - CDHH Makes Recommendations to the SBOE

December 13, 2005 - JLOC Co-chair asks SBOE to Shorten the Timeframe for Change

January 28, 2006 - Some JFAC Members Express Concerns over the Cost per Year to Educate Students at ISDB

February 13, 2006 - Three JFAC Members Release White Paper to Close ISDB, Convert it into a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, and Mainstream Deaf/HH Students into Regional Programs

February 27, 2006 - EIIC Releases Position Paper on the Need for Educational Interpreter Standards

March 21, 2005 - Bill to Close ISDB Fails in Committee with a Vote of 16/1

March 23, 2006 - The Idaho Educational Interpreter Act Becomes Law

March 28, 2006 - CDHH Recommends Names to SBOE for Workgroup Membership

April 28, 2006 - SBOE Announces the Formation of a Second Workgroup

April 28, 2006 - CDHH Announces Plans to Undertake Major Research Project

September 26, 2006 - CDHH Executive Director Presents the Council's Recommendations to the SBOE's Workgroup

October 11, 2006 - State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Marilyn Howard, Writes a Public Letter of Concern

October 12, 2006 - Representative Donna Pence and CDHH Executive Director Testify at an SBOE Meeting

October 13, 2006 - CDHH Releases its Report on Deaf Education Reform

October 25, 2006 - SBOE Forms a Third Committee

November 2, 2006 - Parent of Deaf Child Forms a Statewide Stakeholder Advocacy Group

November 10, 2006 - Idaho School Boards Association Passes Resolution in Support of a Careful Process and the Continuation of the School for the Deaf

November 17, 2006 - SBOE President Sends a Letter to School Administrators with an Update

December 1, 2006 - CDHH Distributes FAQ Document with Highlights from its Report

December 15, 2006 - SBOE Forms a Fourth Committee - a Standards-writing Committee

January 2007 - Certain SBOE and OSBE Leaders of Deaf Education Reform Appointed to New Positions within State Government

January 10, 2007 - CDHH Distributes a Second FAQ Document to Accentuate Important Deaf Education Concepts

January 19, 2007 - CDHH Executive Director Presents to JFAC and Answers Representative Henbest's Questions Relating to Deaf Education

January 28, 2007 - Interim ISDB Superintendent Gives His Final Presentation to JFAC and Cautions the Committee about Certain Reform Implications

January 30, 2007 -  The CEASD Writes a Letter of Concern

February 7, 2007 - ISDB Interim Superintendent, Harv Lyter III, is Replaced by Mary Dunne

February 19, 2007 - The NAD Writes a Letter of Concern

February 26, 2007 - Legislature Adopts Both CDHH Senate Concurrent Resolutions: ASL as a Foreign Language and 'Deaf/HH Child's Bill of Rights'

February 26, 2007 - ISU President Introduces CADES Concept

April 4, 2007 - SBOE President Sends Letter to Stakeholders with an Update

April 16, 2007 - SBOE Forms Fifth Committee - a Sub-committee of the Transition Committee

June 14, 2007 - SBOE Approves Deaf/HH Education Standards

July 12, 2007 - OPE Closes the ISDB Case and Turns it Over to the SBOE.

July 23, 2007 - SBOE Launches a new Web site on Deaf/HH Education Transition

September 2007 - Mike Rush, Ph.D. becomes Interim Executive Director of the State Board of Education

December 2007 - Aylee Schaefer Assumes Responsibilities for Deaf Education Reform

February 2008 - Mike Rush and Aylee Schaefer meet with the Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at Quarterly Board Meeting.

May 2008 - CDHH submits Three Options Plan to SBOE

June 2008 - Summarative Report Completed.

July 30, 31 and August 1 2008- SBOE hosts Three-Day Deaf/HH and Blind/VI Education Summit

October 9, 10 2008 - SBOE Meets to Approve the Plan  Recommended by the Participants at the Summit

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