It was puzzling to read the May 16 editorial “Study Schools for Blind, Deaf,” praising the Washington State School for the Blind but which also stated “the notion of state-run boarding schools just might be outdated.”
WSSB has provided specialized education for blind students for over 130 years and continues to offer trendsetting and innovative educational opportunities. With emphasis on the core curriculum, public school teachers are unable to devote the time and instructional expertise needed by blind students to learn unique skills such as Braille, long cane travel, and use of technology. Specialized teachers often travel throughout many districts providing limited access to the specific educational services that blind students are entitled to receive. Blind students, in contrast, generally make 1.5 to 3.5 years of progress in skills of blindness training in one year at WSSB.
The editorial notes that more public schools these days are providing adequate services for blind students. But do parents want to settle for “adequate” when it comes to the education of their children?
The Washington Council of the Blind, a consumer organization (www.wcbinfo.org) with many members who are graduates of the Washington State School for the Blind, promotes opportunity, equality and independence for the state’s blind citizens.