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LAUSD to restructure deaf education

Los Angeles Unified unanimously approved a controversial resolution Tuesday that will place all deaf and hard of hearing children ages 0-to-3 in a bilingual ASL and English language program. LAUSD parents will still be able to choose among all available education programs, but the bilingual program will be the default.

Those in favor say the move will elevate and encourage use of ASL in a district they say has never fully embraced it. Those against the resolution say they worry the decision to make the bilingual program the default program will take away parent choice. To quell concerns from opponents, board members added language to the resolution ensuring that all families will be given complete information about their education options.

“That’s the key to this resolution,” said board member Jackie Goldberg, one of the sponsors of the resolution. “Everybody, every parent, dealing with the understanding that their infant cannot hear or hears very poorly has to come to grips with what’s best for their child to do. My resolution does not tell them what to do. It is still their decision.”

The resolution received support from many, including United Teachers Los Angeles and was opposed by many, including Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso, whose daughter is hard of hearing. A statement was read on his behalf during the public comments portion.

Those against the resolution argued that ASL might cause barriers between hearing parents and their children and that the move doesn’t take into account those who receive cochlear implants that allow them to hear and speak. Supporters argued that learning ASL would only enhance their speaking abilities.