We, the undersigned professionals (Teachers and Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH), Audiologists, Speech Therapists, Mainstream Teachers, Para-Educators, etc.), family members, and friends of deaf students hereby petition the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to protect the educational rights of children who are deaf and/or hard of hearing to have non-biased options for modes of communication and sign systems available to them. It is stated repeatedly throughout the 2010 Status of Educational Services to Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing Children and Youth in Washington, a document created by the Board of Trustees for Washington's Center for Deafness and Hearing Loss (CDHL), that DHH students must receive non-biased access to all communication modalities. In fact, on page one (1) it states there needs to be a requirement to "Support communication-rich learning environments and instruction of students in the full spectrum of communication modalities by qualified professionals, including American Sign Language (ASL), listening and spoken language, total communication, and Signing Exact English (SEE)."This petition is prompted by a recent directive from OSPI to the Professional Educators Standards Board (PESB) to oversee a committee in the writing of a recommendation for Washington State educational interpreter standards that will go into effect mid-year 2013.
In order for all communication modalities to be evaluated fairly and properly it is critical all modalities be evaluated via assessment tools that are appropriate and designed specifically for the modality being evaluated. Therefore, in addition to the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) which evaluates American Sign Language (ASL), Pidgin Signed English (PSE), Manually Coded English (MCE), and Cued Speech (CS), we request consideration and inclusion of the Educational Signed Skills Evaluation for Interpreting and Receptive Skills (ESSE:I/R) for interpreters working in the educational setting who are trained and skilled specifically in SEE. The ESSE:I/R evaluates ASL, PSE, and SEE thoroughly, has excellent validity and reliability statistics, and is reviewed by a panel of five trained evaluators. Once scored a detailed multi-page report is returned to the applicant. This report gives much needed feedback on strengths, weaknesses, and areas needing improvement. The EIPA states it evaluates Manually Coded English, but its evaluators are seldom familiar with SEE and thus cannot provide appropriate feedback. SEE trained interpreters prefer to be assessed via the ESSE:I/R as its evaluators are trained, qualified, and certified to evaluate SEE as well as ASL and PSE and thus can evaluate accurately and provide quality feedback.
Since WAC 392-172A-03110(2) (a) (iv) requires public schools to "consider the student's language and communication mode" when developing a deaf student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP), it is most appropriate for interpreters trained in SEE to be assessed with the ESSE:I/R rather than the EIPA. Thus certification by either the EIPA or ESSE:I/R would qualify professionals to work in the State of Washington. Additionally, we ask OSPI to "Support communication-rich learning environments and instruction of students in the full spectrum of communication modalities by qualified professionals, including American Sign Language (ASL), listening and spoken language, total communication, and Signing Exact English (SEE)."
We the undersigned petitioners, respectfully ask OSPI and the PESB to include the ESSE:I/R as a valid assessment for SEE, ASL, and PSE in the interpreter standards for Washington State.