Fast Way to Contact our Local Assemblyman

17 01 2008

EdVoice Website was established by our state’s leading educational philanthropists who understand  that the future of California will be shaped by the quality of education.
The website has a simple letter set up and it will localize which assemblyman to contact. All you have to do type in your name, address and of course with a little tweaking in the letter to make it more specific about California School for the Deaf. 
I suggest you to make a few changes in the letter before sending. From public schools, California schools, or schools to California School for the Deaf. 

Look at example below:

shared by Bridgetta Bourne-Firl and Jason Kulchinsky, parents and community members


Update: New Action Plan

14 01 2008

TRANSCRIPT OF “UPDATE: NEW ACTION PLAN”Hello. I want to inform you that today Jack O’Connell sent out an e-mail emphasizing his support and value of our school.He doesn’t want our school to close; rather he wants us [the Deaf community] to take action and protect the state budget.For the past few days we have been calling O’Connell’s office. We don’t have to do that anymore. Let’s shift our focus to Governor Arnold [Schwarzenegger].We need to tell the Governor to please not cut the state budget for education.You can contact the Governor at After entering the site, scroll down to the bottom and click “Email the Governor”.In closing, I understand that you might feel that e-mailing the Governor will not make a difference. However, if we all do our part, it WILL make a difference.Thank you.Cat Cassidy,Parent of two Deaf children

Open Letter to Superintendent O’Connell

14 01 2008

Superintendent O’Connell,

Thank you for reiterating your support of the State Special Schools and all California schools. The Deaf community is equally passionate about education, and will be more than happy to join you in the fight to preserve (and increase!) educational funding for ALL children in California.

I would like to put last week into context. When the Deaf community was alerted to this particular radio interview, we had no direct access to the interview, and had the interview transcribed. Therefore, we had the interview at face value- we couldn’t hear or see the intonation in your voice & facial expressions. However, we did deduce that your intentions were noble and that you have the best interests of Deaf children at heart, but ultimately we were concerned with this interview reinforcing the current media narrative on Deaf education.

Unfortunately, the words that were used during the interview also triggered our 128-year-old fears of losing our home; our wonderful Deaf schools. For 128 years we have lived with the very real threat of Deaf schools being closed; a few at this date have been closed or radically altered. For 128 years the Deaf way of learning (ASL-English bilingual instruction) and living has been under constant assault by the auditory-corporatist industry that is primarily motivated by financial interests.

The auditory-corporatist industry, disguised as parent advocacy organizations, has an intense stranglehold on the quality of Deaf education here in America.

Ø By “quality of Deaf education here in America”, there is a direct connection between the auditory-corporatist industry and instruction. Check out “AG Bell Launches Collaboration to Expand Auditory/Oral Education in Los Angeles”, It is my understanding that LAUSD has approximately 1,000 Deaf schoolchildren.

Ø I am also referring to the Children’s Legal Advocacy program, where they dole out financial support to families to sue school districts providing instruction in ASL to their Deaf children, One case has already been won here in California, creating a dangerous precedent for the research-backed and quality ASL-English bilingual instruction for Deaf children.

Ø According to the Gallaudet Research Institute, 70.7% of Deaf schoolchildren in California come from families who do not “regularly sign”. 78.6% attend programs that do not use ASL-English bilingual instruction (29.3% “speech/sign” [no ASL] combined with 49.3% “speech only”). 75.9% are at non-Deaf school settings.

There is a clear correlation between low achievement scores and the educational philosophy/method of Deaf children. If 78.6% of programs serving Deaf children do not use ASL-English bilingual instruction, then it is safe to infer that these programs are responsible for most of the shamefully low achievement scores happening here in California. On top of that, with 70.7% of families not regularly signing with their Deaf children, the picture becomes painfully clear. Something needs to be done now.

And we wonder why and how all the above is happening, and has been happening for the last 128 years. How is it possible for the truth and research-backed instruction to be completely ignored, allowing the same mistakes to be repeated ad infinitum?

The answer is; the media helps make it possible for the truth to be shoved aside in favor of front-page stories that glorify unproven and substance-less programs that focus on Deaf babies’ ears rather than their brains and soul. For instance, just last week, this article made it to the front page.

When it comes to media, we frequently read articles about;

Ø The wonders of oral “education” and assistive devices, nothing about real and actual literacy scores and results

Ø How wonderful it is to “hear”, but not about learning everything and reading at grade level (which happens through ASL)

Ø Going to a local school with a team of ear “specialists” rather than a top-notch state school with qualified teachers & staff and where more than 80% of students pass the CAHSEE*

Ø The “hearing impaired” child that spends his/her day attempt to hear something, but nothing about the Deaf and VISUAL child that is doing well in English, literacy, and life

As you can see, after years of being bombarded with a false and misleading narrative in the media, the Deaf community takes the media very, very seriously. Our education and life depends on it. Hence our strong initial reaction to the radio

It is clear that a new & consistent media narrative founded in truth and not the auditory-corporatist propaganda is urgently needed.

You have always been a great ally to the Deaf community, and we appreciate your pointing out ASL’s benefits in your 2007 State of Education address, We know you care about Deaf children, and we will continue working with you on closing the achievement gap among Deaf children and preserving CDE’s budget during this crisis.

We don’t want Deaf children to merely survive lousy education and lack of language; they should thrive in homes and schools with ASL & English. We want all Deaf children to thrive, not just survive.

Thank you,
David Eberwein
Deaf Community activist and a proud product of signing parents and a California state special school
*those with parents who sign ASL fluently

shared by David Eberwein, Deaf Community Activist

DCARA CEO statement

14 01 2008

I received this e-mail as a DCARA Board member and received permission to post this.

From: Diana Herron

I called Superintendent Jack O’Connell’s office to get clarification on the comment that he made on the radio regarding budget cuts and CSD. I spoke with Andrew Laufer who is a consultant for Dr. William J. Ellerbee, Jr., Deputy Superintendent overseeing the newly created School and District Operations Branch.

Clarification: Superintendent O’Connell is in favor of maintaining California School for the Deaf and he believes in Deaf Education.

His comment on the radio was worded in a way that is confusing especially to those of us who are more comfortable with ASL. He was trying to explain that the Governor has made a budget proposal for an “overall reduction to the State Special Schools (CSD is a part of the SSS) support and transportation.” Also, the Governor proposed a “major cut to classroom base – Prop 98 funding.” According to Mr. Laufer, Superintendent O’Connell sees that the Governor’s budget seems to favor prison services and reduction in education services especially for deaf and blind students.

Governor Schwarzenegger has made recommendations for proposals for cuts for every California State Departments including CDE, DOR, EDD, and DSS. So, what we need to do is to contact our legislators to voice our concern about budget cuts and how the cuts would negatively impact the quality of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people’s lives.

Diana Herron
Chief Executive Officer
Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency (DCARA)
14895 E. 14th Street, Suite 200
San Leandro, CA 94578
(510) 483-0759 VP IP
(510) 483-0718 Voice
(510) 483-1790 Fax
To subscribe to DCARA’s e-newsletter, sign up at , and to make an online donation via credit card, visit .

Shared by Jenny Cantrell, a DCARA Board member, an alum, and a community member

Message from Jack O’ Connell

14 01 2008

Please share this email with any of your staff, parents or community members who may have contacted you about Superintendent O’Connell’s comments during his radio interview on Thursday, January 10. Thank you.

>>> Jack O’Connell 1/11/2008 5:25 PM >>>

In response to concerns raised about my comments to the media regarding our State Special Schools and the Governor’s proposed budget, I am sending you this note to clarify my position. The budget cuts Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed to the State Special Schools will have grave consequences if they prevail. The intent of my comments is to suggest the seriousness of the budget situation and to encourage the public to notify their legislators and the Governor of their concerns.
Let me assure you of my continued passionate support for the State Special Schools and all California schools. I will continue to fight any cuts to education.
 JACK O’CONNELLState Superintendent of Public Instruction

More Action Plans

14 01 2008

San Francisco Chronicle published an article on January 13, 2008; Governor’s budget aims to curb spending mandates by Tom Chorneau. The article mentioned a few things that we all should be aware of. It is about Jack O’Connell stance on how our governors are going in wrong directions by cutting budgets in the education arena. Later in the article, there were suggestions for us to contact variety governors in our state to express our opinions on cutting the education budget. I strongly suggest us to contact different governors and make them listen to our concerns than weighting our issues on a person, Jack O’Connell.

Excerpt from Governor’s budget aims to curb spending mandates

To comment on the governor’s proposed budget, contact:

— Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: Sacramento office (916) 445-2841; San Francisco office (415) 703-2218; e-mail from the governor’s Web site at

— Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles: Sacramento office (916) 319-2046; e-mail speaker.nunez@assem

— Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland: Sacramento office (916) 651-4009; district office (510) 286-1333; e-mail

— Senate Republican leader Dick Ackerman of Irvine (Orange County): Sacramento office (916) 651-4033; e-mail senator.ack

— Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines of Clovis (Fresno County): Sacramento office (916) 319-2029; e-mail assem


shared by Jason Kulchinsky, parent and community member

Calm, respectful action is a MUST

13 01 2008

Hi, everyone.

A few comments have asked for clarification, a suggestion to wait, and so on. We assure you that we are not encouraging people to panic, to rashly call O’Connell’s office and leave an angry message, or anything of that nature.

We fully acknowledge the possibility that this is simply a political ploy, therefore, we need to tread with care. But do we really want to take that chance and wait? The budget crisis is a very real and serious one. There are ways to argue successfully that downsizing the State Special Schools is a smart financial move, but I’m not going to make the mistake of outlining those here. *grin* What we (as in all of us community members out there) need to do is to get in touch with O’Connell’s office, but to do it with tact and reason. We do not want to alienate him, you’re right. We do, however, need to send the message that CSD is valuable and should be left alone with a minimum of damage from the budget ax. There’s nothing wrong/dangerous about going ahead and placing a tactful call, saying that you want to keep CSD without downsizing in any way, and encouraging others to do the same.
This is a multi-pronged approach, and we’re doing everything we can, including some of what you’ve suggested, but for various reasons, including job security for some of us, we can’t outline those here.

For those of you who are urging caution or waiting, there is nothing wrong with contacting O’Connell and urging that he minimize the cuts as much as possible for CSD, say “no downsizing,” and so forth in a calm, respectful way. If you have direct ties (you are a hearing businessperson in Fremont,  you graduated from CSD, you have children at CSD, you’re a community member in California, you’re related to someone from CSD, and so on), mention that. It cannot hurt for the California Department of Education (CDE) to hear that CSD is important just the way it is, without changing/downsizing. In fact, it could even help us in other areas.

We may need to do this more than once over the next several months, but we are remaining calm and encouraging respectful action above all.

Thanks, everyone.

shared by Jenny Cantrell, alumnae and community member