Why the NDEP Now...?

(National Deaf Education Project NOW)

"The need and right to communicate
is the most fundamental of human rights.
To deny it is to harm the human spirit.
To foster communication is
to reveal all the possibilities of life."
Lawrence Siegel, J.D.

The debate over deaf education has continued for decades and yet one thing remains unchanged--many of our children continue to leave school unprepared, without the communication, language, or literacy skills necessary for an individual to become a productive and happy adult. We know the statistics all too well-- 3rd grading reading skills, deficiencies in many academic subjects and yet as Marc Marschark has recently written, "There is general agreement that such difficulties are not direct consequences of hearing loss."

Even with the advent of newborn hearing screening, early identification of hearing loss, and new technologies, our children continue to face a limited future. Why is this? While communication and language are at the heart of everything we do as humans and without them there can be no cognitive, academic, social, emotional and literacy growth, American law and educational policy do not recognize this fundamental truth, and indeed, often work against it.

What is the NDEP Vision?

Given the absolute and central importance of communication and language to the educational experience the NDEP has developed a communication and language-driven educational paradigm that must be mandated by law to provide:

What has the NDEP done?

The NDEP has approached reform of deaf education in a variety of ways. First, it published the "Statement of Principle" which describes in detail the reasons for, and components of, a "communication and language-driven" educational system for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Statement has been widely accepted, included in legislative recommendations to Congress, and is the centerpiece of the National Agenda, a national reform movement of the leading organizations involved in the education of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. NDEP has also:

What is Happening Across the Country?

There is a clear and exciting movement across the country to reform deaf education. NDEP, the National Agenda, Hands & Voices, and other groups are actively engaged in developing strategies for change. In April 2005, state educational leaders, parents, and consumers met at the first annual State Leaders Summit on Deaf Education to discuss how to go forward with state and national reform efforts. In the next few years we anticipate significant efforts throughout the country to make education for students who are deaf or hard of hearing communication and language-driven.

What Can NDEPNOW Do For You?

NDEPNOW can help your state move forward on the reformation of deaf education:

For more information on how to get involved, contact us via this website, or at www.handsandvoices.org


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