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In response to some of the comments that have been posted in the responses to the article published in the Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday, May 5, 2011 (, we wish to let our readers know the following:
We are NOT fighting to get LSL removed from the Deaf division of USDB. We respect parents' right to choose LSL if they feel that it would work for their children. This is NOT an ASL versus LSL battle. We have never said that our goal was to have USD be an ASL-only school. We only ask for fair, unbiased options for all families and students, and for families to be able to choose both options if they so desire.

Let it be known that in 2007, elementary teachers in the Central Deaf Division of USDB who taught in the Total Communication program* asked to be merged with JMS. Later, in 2009, when Steven W. Noyce revamped Parent Infant Program, he removed what was called the Total Communication option (which included both sign and speech) and restructured the program so that it offers either LSL or ASL, which upset many parents who wanted both options. Mr. Noyce also announced the phasing out of the USDB Total Communication program at Churchill. The Deaf community had no part of this change.

*The Total Communication program utilized signing and speaking simultaneously and was ineffective for a number of reasons, one of which is that ASL and English are two distinct languages. Advocates of ASL/English bilingualism support the utilization of both ASL and written/spoken English in the instruction of deaf and hard of hearing children, with the understanding that one or the other language is used as appropriate and not simultaneously. A thorough explanation of this, however, is beyond the scope of this report.

Our first concern is for parents who WANT to learn ASL in addition to obtaining the intensive speech therapy that's provided to LSL parents and their children. We understand that parents who choose the ASL/English bilingual approach do receive oracy training, but that for some parents, oracy is not enough. Parents who want LSL training should be allowed to learn ASL as well if they want it.

Along these lines, let it be understood that we support the concept of ASL/English AND LSL, rather than ASL/English OR LSL (AND, not OR). As discussed above, PIP has been restructured so that parents can only choose one option or the other. We feel there should be a way parents can choose both.

Our second concern is the apparent favoritism of one program over the other, particularly in the Deaf division. In one example, speech therapists have been TAKEN AWAY from parents who had already had speech therapists from USDB working with their children, but who then chose the ASL/English path. Another example is the lack of a playgroup for ASL/English children. In fact, ASL/English parents who were attending the LSL playgroup were asked to stop attending. A final example is the allocation of $440,000 to the Sound Beginnings, an oral program in Logan, without an equivalent allocation to an ASL/English program.

It has been said that the ASL/English program in SLC is receiving funds that other programs aren't and the playground has been listed as an example. The fact is that funds for the playground have come from the PTA and, to many people's surprise, the legislature - brought up by an interested senator. USDB has NOT allocated ANY funds towards the playground. Furthermore, the playground has been designed to accommodate ALL disabilities, including those with visual impairments. It has ALSO been designed to be safe for children with cochlear implants. All deaf/hard-of-hearing, blind, and deaf-blind children are welcome to play on this playground once it is set up.

Likewise, the building that's occupied by students in the ASL/English program in SLC was obtained after years of struggle. There are 100 students in this program, and rooms/teachers are needed for these 100 students. Parents and teachers of LSL students tend to want their children to be housed in local public schools so that the kids are exposed to other hearing children, which is their right. Parents of ASL/English students want them to be educated together. Can we have the building for that?

As a side note, while it is true that the ASL/English program was expanded with high school classes, a predicted enrollment of 30 additional students to the elementary and middle school classes for Fall 2010 mysteriously ended up being zero. It was eventually discovered that negative information was circulating around USDB regarding the ASL/English bilingual programs available at USD and about sign language in general, causing parents to NOT want to enroll their children at JMS.

Furthermore, there is actually a policy that there would never be any separate “hard money” funding for special education charter schools in Utah. Mr. Noyce and a few others lobbied for this policy and it made the future possibility of JMS to be a charter school again impossible. This legislation made permanent, the placement of JMS under the direction of USDB.

Our final concern is the termination of the two-year contract for Steven W. Noyce, USDB Superintendent, due to his 1. Favoring one program over the other programs, 2. Unwillingness to offer parents the option of choosing BOTH LSL and ASL/English bilingualism, 3. Unbalanced funding of USD programs, and 4. Bungling of the school's fiscal-management.

Parents who want the ASL option aren’t getting much support here in Utah, particularly not from Mr. Noyce. We need a superintendent who provides fair, unbiased options to all families and students.

Finally and importantly, we, ASL parents and community have the constitutional right to voice our concerns to the Utah State Board of Education and it is their job to listen to us. We feel that it is important for them to hear our concerns in order to make effective decisions for USDB.

In addition, all of the information included in our website can be verified by minutes from various meetings held by the Advisory Council and other organizations. All of the letters from parents were written by real parents who actually went through the experiences that are recorded in the letters. The information is real, not lies like one of the comments to the article states.

FYI, we as a group have declined to meet with Mr. Noyce face to face regarding these issues as we feel that such a meeting would probably not be productive because of a long history of his trivializing ASL/English bilingual issues.

Utah Deaf Education Core Group

To involve the Deaf community is vital. It provides for opportunities for deaf children to interact with adult Deaf role models. In addition, parents and teachers will gain an awareness of how the Deaf community perceives the world to understand their children and students better. During Deaf President Now at Gallaudet University in 1988, Reverend Jesse Jackson said, “The problem is not that the students do not hear. The problem is that the hearing world does not listen.” That means the community needs to understand that it’s important to be listening to input from the Deaf community when decisions are being made that IMPACT the Deaf community.

Contact Us -

  • Amy English's letter for other parents to read....     Click HERE to read Amy English's letter.
    Posted Feb 21, 2011, 10:34 AM by Bulletin Utah Deaf Education
  • Melissa Miller's Letter for other parents of USDB kids to read... Click HERE to read Melissa Miller's letter.
    Posted Feb 18, 2011, 11:24 AM by Bulletin Utah Deaf Education
  • Jake Deitz's letter for parents of other deaf and hard of hearing children.... Click HERE to read the webpage.Click HERE to read Jake Deitz's BLOG. 
    Posted Feb 17, 2011, 12:03 PM by Bulletin Utah Deaf Education
Showing posts 1 - 3 of 14. View more »

PLEASE READ: The Utah Deaf Education Core Group would like to emphasize to the readers of this website that we are "pro-choice" which means we support the right parents have to make whatever educational choice they feel is best for their Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. We are not trying to discriminate against any members of the Deaf community including parents of Deaf children, the Hard of Hearing individuals and those who wear cochlear implants. We welcome all members of the Deaf Community and hope that we all work together towards equal access to quality education. Our major concern is to promote fair and unbiased presentations on both of the options offered at USD (Listening and Spoken Language and ASL/English bilingual programs). We are also concerned about the mandate that parents have to choose just one program, instead of being able to choose both if desired. This website is one of the ways we have chosen to bring this information to light: the unfair bias of one program over another that has existed, and exists, at USD.

The Utah Deaf Education group consists of deaf and hearing parents as well as deaf individuals who work and thrive in the hearing world because of our ability to converse in BOTH English and ASL. It is our strong desire that all deaf and hard of hearing children and their families have the CHOICE of learning ASL in addition to spoken language (together, not either/or). 

We are aware that Steven Noyce is sending emails to his staff with quotes from our website. To get accurate information on what we really mean by our comments, please direct questions to We will respond as soon as possible. 

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Community Announcements

  • The Miracle Worker - IN ASL!!! Riverton High School will be performing the play The Miracle Worker, Friday February 25th at 7:00pm in their school auditorium.  Riverton's ASL III students, under the direction of Sarah Giorgis-Pratt, will be interpreting the production in its entirety.  There will be a reserved section in the auditorium located near the "interpreters" for the Deaf and Friends of the Deaf.  Please join us for a wonderful night of theatre and ASL! Date: Friday, February 25th, 2011Time: 7:00pm Address: 12476 S. Silverwolf Way, Riverton, UT 84065Tickets are $7.00 for adults, $6.00 for students Any questions please contact Sarah Giorgis-Pratt at
    Posted Feb 24, 2011, 4:12 PM by Bulletin Utah Deaf Education
  • WSBC on SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah played host to a unique type of basketball tournament Saturday.Eight schools from California, Oregon, Arizona, Washington and of course Utah participated in the Western States Basketball and Cheerleading Classic.What makes this tournament unique is the fact that almost everyone involved -- including players, refs, coaches and cheerleaders -- is deaf."For the deaf schools to have an opportunity to compete against their peers and be able to communicate in their own language, there's no language barrier, they are able to sign, it's really a good opportunity for the kids," said Craig Radford, senior director for the tournament.Utah's team, the USDB Eagles, is sponsored by the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind ...
    Posted Jan 30, 2011, 2:45 PM by Bulletin Utah Deaf Education
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