Through the years the school has faced many challenges such as: funding, maintenance, up keep of advancing technology and enrollment. The single most important issue is funding without funding there would be no residential school for the deaf children and the would be forced to be mainstreamed into public school. I propose that parents should be told about Michigan School for the Deaf. Driving down Miller Road in Flint, Michigan and you are probably wondering what the old buildings standing there are for and what came about to how the school Michigan School for the Deaf became about?
I will help you better understand. MSD was started in 1848, but it did not start out as MSD. Heck, they didn’t even know what they were going to call it or where it was going to be located, they just knew the deaf and blind needed a school to go to as well as “normal” students. A State Legislature Governor Ransom, who just so happened to be the governor at the time, wanted to give the idea of having a joint school for the deaf and dumb and blind. A guy by the name of E. H. Thomson proposed a bill to establish an institution called Michigan Asylum for Educating the deaf and dumb and blind.
The bill was later enacted into a law and signed April 3rd, 1848. It took a good 28 years to get a school started. In the 1820’s a state sponsored school was proposed to be established in Detroit, Michigan but it was never materialized. A few students who were blind were taught in a preparatory school at the University of Michigan located in Romeo, Michigan during the 1840’s. Children in the 1840’s were not educated in programs, Michigan did not send deaf and blind students to schools like many other states were practicing.
Villages of Flint, Romeo, and Kalamazoo extended offers of donations of land, cash, and building materials. In November 1849, the board selected the proposed site for the hospital for the insane and the also the proposed for the school. The hospital was to be located in Kalamazoo and the school was in Flint. The funding law was passed in 1848, but because of financial difficulties the school did not start until 1854. In the year of 1851 the board voiced the idea to joint the deaf and blind because having a separate school was out of the question.
They proposed the idea of having of having erected class rooms suitable and separate for the deaf and blind. Students who could afford the school financially, were the suitable age, and had the strength would board in the Village of Flint, the students who couldn’t afford were accommodated under the charge of the Principle. The month of November in 1853 the board offered Reverend Barnabas Maynard Fay the position of Principle. Fay had previous experience as a teacher at Indiana Institution for the Blind and the Institution for Deaf and Dumb in New York.
January 1854, Fay was appointed and the school was to open February 1, 1854 in Flint. February 6, 1854 the first student was enrolled, April 18, 1854 it was reported they had 12 students, 11 deaf mute and one blind. Thirteen years later an act was passed to change the name of Michigan Asylum to Michigan Institution for Educating the Dead and Dumb and the Blind. In 1879, the blind were separated the school for the blind from the school for the deaf. In 1887 Michigan School for the Deaf was given, not sure what year Michigan School for the Blind was relocated to Lansing, Michigan.
As of 1937 MSD became jurisdiction of the State Board of Education and still remains to this day. (deaftartars. com) You may be wondering why I am writing a proposal for MSD when I am neither deaf or blind. It’s a simple answer, family. My grandpa is a Tartar alumni, being deaf mute and completely blind. He was not always blind, but he has been deaf since the day he was born. My family moved from Arkansas to Michigan for the school. You are probably once again thinking, are you guys crazy?
No, we are not, they just wanted best from their highly intelligent son. A lot of people degrade deaf and blind individuals, they see them as being different from us so they automatically call them dumb. It hurts when I hear these individuals being called that because I know first hand that they are not anywhere near that. They have to retain a bunch of knowledge in their brain as well as us, but the difference they have to use their hands where we use are mouths. It is an even harder task because just like us they have to learn different languages also.
You are probably really confused as to how a deaf and blind person communicates am I right? I will inform you, it is a lot harder then a regular deaf person. They use what is called tactile sign language, it is when the person talking takes the other persons hand and signs into the palm of the hand, but only using one hand most of the time. Luckily, my grandpa was one of the lucky was to get a great education considering there are a lot of them that are not as lucky example, Matt Hamill. Matt Hamill, found out at a very young age that he was profoundly deaf.
His grandfather would not let him go to a school that would help him better learn how to communicate with every day people. He became a star wrestler, even got into Purdue University. Soon to be kicked out because he was not taught sign language and could not comprehend what the interrupters were saying to him, let alone what they were doing. Matt later went to Rochester College of Technology (RTC). There he learned everything he needed to know and became a National Champion Wrestler. Michigan School for the Deaf, is not only for deaf students.
MSD is also a school of choice for anyone, but it definitely an expensive school. Tuition is $30,600 and for the resident intermediate school district it is $9,500. Many parents of deaf children do not know that there is a school for deaf children, reasoning why enrollment is down and why MSD does not have a lot of funding. (The Hammer) The amount of enrollment for MSD has gone down so far over the years which is causing some major funding for the school. Public schools get $9,000 for each deaf student that is enrolled into their school district.
Most of the students and their parent’s do not even know that Michigan School for the Deaf even exist. I believe in order to get funding up at MSD a group of people need to go from school district to school across Michigan and have an assembly or a benefit for these parents. They can sit down and talk about what can happen at Michigan School for the Deaf for their child, why it is a better ideal school for their child to go to, and why their school district will not tell them about MSD. I bet you didn’t know that for every deaf child a public school has they get $9,000, that is $9,000 that MSD does not et because if that child leaves the district to go to MSD that district loses that money and has to give it to MSD. Deaf culture is a very hard culture to understand. A lot of time learning their language and learning how they have to learn is a very hard way. Its not easy teaching a deaf child math. You have to make sure you never mix the numbers up or how you sign a very long equation. The public school really isn’t using the money other then to pay an interrupter for each deaf child that is at that school. They get paid anywhere from $30-$70/hour.
For one week of a school year saying that the child attends school for 35 hours that week, that interrupter earns $2,450 just one week! So in all honesty that school is losing money rather then gaining it from/for that child. Even fundraisers for the school would help. Like do a huge sporting event, say that Powers Catholic football team plays a huge game there and half the proceeds go to MSD or even showing movies like The Hammer and paying three dollars to watch it and having snacks where all the proceeds go to the school.
I just think that more parents need to know that Michigan School for the Deaf is there so that their child gets a better education for their situation. If Michigan School for the Deaf does not get their funding up they are going to have to shut down and main stream all of their students into public schools. I believe that every parent with a deaf child is a very lucky parent. My grandparents are both deaf and they are highly intelligent. My grandpa is deaf and blind he is what people call the wooden toy maker. He carves fire trucks, old ford trucks, helicopters, and trains out of wood.
He has been doing this 1991. my grandpa has no idea what we look like but he knows its us by a simple wave of hi in his hand or a handshake. A lot of people I know call deaf people dumb, but they are far from that. I bet if every person got a chance to have a conversation one to one with a deaf person they would think completely different of how they see each person. They are unique in their own way just like every other person in this world. I think it is amazing how they have a school to go to for their environment as well as we have one for ours. I think taking that away from them is cruel and horrible.
Having a child that is deaf is a remarkable thing, do not let something that has been around for years be taken away because someone can afford to keep it up and running. This state needs to understand that they have a historical building in their hands, they need to figure out a way to keep it up and running. Remember, No Child Left Behind. Work Cited Michigan School for the Deaf. January 2011. December 2011 . Debbie Jenkins. Personal interview. December 2011. Harold Riley. Personal interview. December 2011. The Hammer. Dir. Oren Kapal. Perf. Russell Harvard, Raymond J. Barry, and Shoshannah Stern. 2011. Film.