07 February 2012

The Problem With HB-1367

Look out Indiana: The bill HB-1367 is headed to the Senate and threatens to shut down the Indiana School for the Deaf's outreach center.  The bill, backed by special interest lobbyists from pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, calls for the removal of the Indiana School for the Deaf's center to provide families with deaf children a full range of information, support, and early language intervention.  The  closing of the outreach center, to be replaced by an unspecified entity under the direction of the bill's current financial backers, would not be accountable to anyone for the type or amount of information or services they provide. The funding cuts to the Indiana School for the Deaf may also threaten the livelihood of the school itself. 

HB-1367 sets a dangerous precedent of 1. Taking away federal funding from Deaf schools, and 2. Failing to provide accurate and comprehensive information and support to families with deaf and hard of hearing children. And a lack of information means inferior education for deaf children. 

From the petition on change.org: "This bill is NOT about parent Choice of options and services when it comes to Outreach services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children.  It is about gutting one state agency that is an expert in Deaf Education and Early Intervention, the Indiana School for the Deaf Outreach, to replace it with an unknown, unplanned, and unfunded agency under the SOLE direction of the Office of Management and Budget with no accountability to anyone.  This bill was based upon NO official OMB report and NO accurate fiscal analysis." Read more or sign the petition HERE.

An Open Letter to the Indiana Legislature from Public Administrator and Deaf Activist Jeanette Johnson:
Sorry there are no captions for non-signers, but a condensed version of this information, with subtitles is available from Deaf Youth USA, HERE.

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