Active support of an idea or cause etc.; especially the act of pleading or arguing for something!

Monthly Archives: June 2013

Below is a letter that was sent to as many LSL parents in Utah as there were emails for. If you are a parent of an LSL child and would like to be added to the email list please use the contact form on this site or leave a comment with your email and that you want to be added to the list.

Dear Parents,
As you may know, the State Office of Education is planning to hire a new Supt for the Utah Schools for the Deaf & Blind.In March there was a meeting to gather nominations from the public for the application selection committee (that will aid in reviewing applicants for USDB Superintendent). An email went out to all Utah Association for the Deaf members (UAD) which included the following:

Ellen O’Hara Hanna made a short video to keep the ASL community update with what is happening with USDB Superintendent Search.

Her video is this link – http://youtu.be/kkCCqB3ZtAo

It talks about the finalists being announced in Salt Lake Tribute and there will be the final interview with the Utah State of Education on June 6. Public is welcomed to watch.

The article can be found in this link – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56351335-78/board-state-deaf-noyce.html.csp

UAD’s monthly newsletter also has a write up that you may be interested in as well, it can be found on pg 4 here: http://www.uad.org/archive/pdf%20bulletins/pdf%202011-2020/2013/June%202013%20Bulletin.pdf.

There will be many ASL who will be in attendance tomorrow, it would be extremely powerful if as many of you as can would email Lorraine Austin (her info is at the end of this email) and ask her to put your emails/letters in the boards packet for tomorrow. Please, if you email Lorraine or the whole board, cc or bcc me on that email.

As we know, one of the most vocal deaf groups is the ASL community. They have every right to be vocal and advocate for their children. The Oral (Listening & Spoken Language) group as well as the Blind should ALSO BE VOCAL!

The majority of children being served by USDB for hearing related services are the ORAL or LSL children. We need to make sure that ALL OF OUR VOICES are HEARD. There is no way we can complain if we do not speak up for our children.

As ORAL parents and advocates, we are concerned about the applicants who will be part of the final interview process for the position of Superintendent.

The state school board has named as finalists for the position: Joel Coleman, a state school board member, chairman of the board’s committee on the school and a charter school founder and trustee; Larry S. Taub, executive director of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf & Center for Community and Professional Services in Philadelphia; and Karl A. Wilson, Utah director of Title I and federal programs at the state office and former state director of special education. (here is a link to the SLTrib article: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56351335-78/board-state-deaf-noyce.html.csp)

The ASL community has been trying for years to create changes that would make our oral/lsl children HAVE to learn to sign before getting oral services, thus wasting precious developmental years.

If I were to make suggestions to USOE this is what I would suggest:

1. All groups served by USDB should have equal representation or representation equal to the number of children enrolled in each area.

2. Applicants should be properly vetted and be credentialed for Special Needs Education. There ought to be work experience, schooling, etc.

3. Applicants should be non-biased and believe strongly in the rights of parents to determine the correct path for the child and no one else!

Glenna Gallo at USOE has agreed to accept letters of complaint on behalf of the Utah Association for the Deaf. If you would like to send your letter to her, I would bet she would accept yours as well. I do also know that Lorraine Austin is the contact that we have used in the past and she has always been glad to help. In the subject line, you will want to identify what the email/letter is regarding. You could use the following as the subject line: “USDB Superintendent”.

Her contact info is:

Lorraine Austin
Secretary to the Board
Phone: (801) 538-7517
Fax: (801) 538-7768
lorraine.austin@schools.utah.gov

I know many of you have championed valiantly in the past for the rights of our children in the Oral (LSL) Deaf Education & Special Needs arena. I’m hoping that we can all come together again and make sure that we watch out for our kids in the program now and for those who will be in the future.

With a new USDB Superintendent to hire, the State Office of Education needs the input from the ORAL/LSL perspective. Please take time to write a short and to the point email to the state school board and the Superintendent of USOE (Martell Menlove). Below is a sample.

USOE needs to hear from more than just the ASL community. Make the letter your own and be sure to sign it so that it is counted as a valid letter.

Please do this TODAY! USOE does not expect to hear from us parents & advocates but the NEED to hear from YOU!

Dear Superintendent & School Board,

As a parent/advocate of a hearing impaired/deaf/blind child I am writing to ask that you take a few things into consideration when discussing the applicants and their ability to lead USDB.

There is much concern regarding the applicants and the only one Deaf person on this committee. This is unacceptable. The Oral parents are greatly concerned and invested in USDB. Oral children make up the largest group of children served at USDB whether served at a USDB school or via the Outreach program and should at least have an equal position on any committee discussing changes to USDB of any nature.

I respectfully ask the board to consider the needs of each group that makes up USDB and the percentages of the children served in each area (currently over 3/4′s of students are in the oral program). There is great opposition in this group and it is important to make sure that we not only meet the needs of the children today but also in the future. Please consider the needs and wishes of all parents when hiring the next USDB Superintendent. The children need someone who will allow parents to be the expert of their child’s needs.

Sincerely,

(name)
(stakeholder position:whichever you are)
Deaf/Blind/Hearing Impaired/Oral adult
Parent
Professional
Student

Here are the state school board and superintendent’s emails (minus Joel Coleman’s): Board@schools.utah.gov, Martell.Menlove@schools.utah.gov.


Please write and tell USOE that we care and we want a qualified Superintendent that will allow Parent Choice! Please email me with any questions.



Thank you!

Anissa Wardell
Concerned Parent & Advocate

 

Iris Scans – Angel Clark Show

Three Polk County, Florida schools subjected their students to iris scans without their parents’ permission. A high school, middle school and even an elementary school were involved in the iris scans. It looks like a child told a parent what had happened, and the parent blew the whistle on the whole thing.

It was confirmed Wednesday that Daniel Jenkins Academy, (high school), Davenport School of the Arts (middle school), and Bethune Academy (elementary school), planned a pilot scan program with a security program and the schools allowed officials from Stanley Convergent Security Solutions to take iris scans of an unknown number of students. Parents of the students were sent a letter on Friday, May 24, although the letters were dated for delivery the day before. The letters stated that the scanning program would begin on May 20, and allow for students to opt out. However, all students were scanned before any letters were sent home.

This Facebook post from one of the parents states:

    I have been in touch with the principal at my son’s school this morning regarding the iris scans. She verified everything my son told me, she says the scans were completed on May 22. She said that she was following instructions from the Polk County School Board (PCSB), and that she knew very little, if anything, about this before it occurred, she just did as she was told. She gave me the name and number for her two contacts at the PCSB whom she said were pulling these strings on this “security pilot program”.

    By the time we were able to make a phone call to PCSB (a time span of about 1 hour), the secretary told us that this pilot program had been suspended. When we did get a return call from one contact, she reiterated that the program has been suspended, like this should appease us. My husband continued to ask where our son’s private scans were, and she said the company was instructed to destroy the information. When we asked how do we know this has happened, there was no answer.

    It is interesting that this letter went home on Friday afternoon at 3pm. Like I told you originally, everyone was gone by 4pm when I tried to make calls. So when exactly did this program get suspended? As of Friday afternoon, it was still in effect. Are they trying to say that somehow it was suspended by Tuesday morning (Monday being a holiday)? It seems like they are mostly focused on this program, like the program was the problem. It’s not, it’s the invasion of my family’s Constitutional right to privacy that is the problem, as well as the school allowing a private company access to my child without my consent or permission. This is stolen information, and we cannot retrieve it.

Last September in Park City Utah, DNA samples were taken from high school students. The High School has apparently agreed to participate in a study where students will give DNA samples to a lab as an outbreak drill to test new lab equipment. The purpose is that in the future, they may want to determine how new H1N1 type diseases are spreading. The teens were bribed with a chance to win an iPad, then earlier this year they had the teens wearing biometric bracelets and bribed them with $15 iTunes gift cards.

In other disturbing yet similar news, look at what technology will soon be available. Can we say, Too Invasive?!

Motorola has announced it is looking at alternatives to traditional passwords in a bid to make logging into online sites, or accessing mobile phones, more secure.

Among the ideas discussed are electronic tattoos and authentication pills that people swallow.

The tattoos, developed by Massachusetts-based engineering firm MC10, contain flexible electronic circuits that are attached to the wearer’s skin using a rubber stamp.

 

The mobile devices could then be used to confirm the owner’s identity and log them in to accounts automatically.

 

Once swallowed the ‘vitamin authentication pill’ creates an 18-bit ECG-like signal inside the wearer’s body that can be picked up by mobile devices and authentication hardware outside.

This could be used verify the wearer is the correct owner of the device or account.

Dugan continued that the pill could be taken every day for 30 days, if necessary, without any problems.

Woodside added Motorola would not be shipping these ‘right away’ but they have ‘tested it authenticating a phone, and it works.’

He continued: ‘Having the boldness to think differently about problems that everybody has every day is really important for Motorola now.’

Dugan, who used to be head of the US Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, explained that each signal emitted by the pill could be unique to each user.

Both these ideas move away from traditional passwords and towards technology that turns the user into a physical authentication token.

Explaining the reasons behind the plans, Dugan said: ‘Authentication is irritating. In fact its so irritating only about half the people do it.