[nfbwatlk] Oregon legislature ensures closure of school for theblind (Oregonian 6-10-2009)
k7uij at panix.com
Sun Jun 14 03:41:05 UTC 2009
On the other hand, there really are people who sincerely believe that
the Oregon State School for the Blind had been allowed to decay (both in
physical plant and in programs) to the point that it wasn't worth
saving. That's not NFB's position although I believe it has some
validity. The school should be defended because of the precedent closure
will set, not to mention the fact that the stipulations of the deed
originally providing the land for the school have been violated.
To some extent, I think those like the good representative who advocate
local placements are right -- but if and only if adequate resources
(both monetary and in qualified personnel) are provided to give blind
and multihandicapped students the skills and education they need to
succeed. All of us know how rare that is.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Lauren Merryfield" <lauren1 at catliness.com>
To: "NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List" <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, June 13, 2009 3:59 PM
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Oregon legislature ensures closure of school for
theblind (Oregonian 6-10-2009)
Maybe someone needs to get on this woman's case:
House Education Chairwoman Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, an advocate
disabled students, spearheaded efforts to close the school.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nightingale, Noel" <Noel.Nightingale at ed.gov>
To: <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 1:40 PM
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Oregon legislature ensures closure of school for the
blind (Oregonian 6-10-2009)
> Breaking News Impact - The Oregonian - OregonLive.com
> Vote closes Oregon School for the Blind
> Posted by Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian June 10, 2009 11:59AM
> Boyd/The OregonianA student climbs the stairs to his dorm room at the
> Oregon School for the Blind in Salem.
> The Oregon Senate sealed the fate of the state's 135-year-old school
> the blind Wednesday, voting 20-8 to close the Salem boarding school
> summer and return its students to their local schools.
> The House had already voted to close the school, and Gov. Ted
> says he will sign the decision into law.
> The 24 students who would have returned to the Oregon School for the
> this fall, most of whom are ages 16 to 20, will instead attend their
> public schools. The bill says they must receive "substantially
> services as those they received at the state school.
> More than $3 million that would otherwise have been spent operating
> boarding school will be used to help educate those 24 students and to
> improve services to the other 800 blind and visually impaired students
> already being served in their local schools.
> House Education Chairwoman Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, an advocate
> disabled students, spearheaded efforts to close the school.
> She said the students should be educated in their hometowns and live
> their families. She also decried the lack of core academic classes at
> state school, which lost its accreditation in the early 1990s. And she
> said the high cost per student -- more than $125,000 a year --
> a lack of equity between blind students at the boarding school and
> educated in hometown schools.
> The school's physical plant, which includes a dorm, a gym and nine
> buildings, is dilapidated, and the state hasn't spent the millions it
> would take to bring it up to code. Enrollment at the school has
> dropped to
> 32 students from its high of 118 in 1964, before the federal
> mandated that disabled students be served in the least restrictive
> "Closing this school wrenches at your heart ... but I believe in the
> bottom of my heart that mainstreaming is best for the visually
> said Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton.
> Parents, teachers and members of groups that advocate for the blind
> decried the decision to close the school. They testified how visually
> impaired students have been poorly served in local schools that
> areill-equipped to help them -- stories that Gelser said are true.
> Visually impaired students have such specialized learning needs that
> school districts can meet their needs, in large part because they lack
> trained teachers, champions of the school say. Education at the Salem
> school stretched more than 12 hours a day, with students learning to
> navigate with a cane and master life skills such as cooking and
> after classes ended at 3 p.m.
> Most of the students who attend Oregon School for the Blind will be
> only blind or visually impaired student in their local school.
> Kathy O'Malley met recently with officials in the North Clackamas
> District to discuss their plans to educate her 17-year-old daughter,
> Kelsey, who had a miserable experience at Clackamas High before
> transferring to the Oregon School for the Blind two years ago.
> O'Malley says she doesn't trust their assurances that things will be
> better this time for Kelsey, who has cognitive delays, limited speech
> a genetic disorder that caused her to lose her peripheral vision
> when she was 8.
> O'Malley says she will push for Kelsey to attend the state school for
> blind in Washington, where space is limited, or in Idaho. The district
> would have to pay for her education at the Idaho school plus weekly
> trips home from the school to match the weekends she spends at home
> she said.
> Clackamas High officials want to place her in a special education
> classroom with a teacher who has never taught a visually impaired
> and where the other students all can see fine, O'Malley says. They say
> teacher will get more coaching and support from an expert teacher of
> visually impaired, thanks to the $3 million in new funding.
> But O'Malley said she and other parents with children at the School
> the Blind find it "obvious that, contrary to how everybody in Salem
> this is miraculously going to work out, that the districts remain
> "Our kids will get lost in the shuffle. They will be sent back to the
> school districts that were not able to provide the services for them,"
> -- Betsy Hammond;
> betsyhammond at news.oregonian.com<mailto:betsyhammond at news.oregonian.com>
> (c)2009 Oregon Live LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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