Letter: Shocked USU Abolishes ASL Curriculum | News, Sports, Jobs

There is a tragedy happening at USU that few people know about.

USU Deaf Education Department has two aspects. The one that trains future teachers of the deaf to use American Sign Language with deaf children is closed at the end of this spring 2022 semester.

It’s a tragedy !

This program is the only one of its kind in Utah!

University students in this program commit to 5 years and obtain a master’s degree. The Utah School for the Deaf has 4 schools for the deaf that easily hire these graduates. Other states quickly adopted them as well.

My daughter graduated from this program. Deaf herself, she knew intimately how important it was to have a qualified teacher of the deaf who knows American Sign Language. A visual language is the simplest modality by which a deaf child can access educational content.

Why was this decision made? This program is vital for the educational future of deaf children. Have the necessary stakeholders been involved? There appears to have been no transparency from the USU regarding this decision. It is unconscionable that the USU has planned to dismantle its Deaf-American Sign Language education program.

This action, if not rescinded, will certainly reduce the reputation and esteem of USU among colleges and universities nationwide.

But worse than USU’s national reputation will be the damage to children. It is the worst form of discrimination. Closing this program deprives deaf children of access to teachers who know their language. Without these teachers, the ability of these children to learn is hampered.

The Utah School for the Deaf will not have enough qualified teachers for their students who use American Sign Language as their first language.

It’s a tragedy.

It is the children who will suffer.

Bronwyn O’Hara



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