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February 18, 2002

Education of the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Task Force To Hold Second of Four Meetings in Albuquerque

(Santa Fe, NM)-The newly formed Education of the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Task Force will hold its second meeting on Monday, February 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Community Outreach Program of the Deaf, located at 10601 Lomas Boulevard in Albuquerque. The New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) and New Mexico School for the Deaf (NMSD) announced the formation of the 21-member task force in November. This is the second of four meetings planned by the task force.

"The February meeting provides an opportunity to better define and prioritize the problems facing deaf/hard-of-hearing children in New Mexico. Our goal through the task force is to effect change so that deaf/hard-of-hearing children can reach their full potential," said Sam Howarth, the SDE's special education director. He added, "This is an unprecedented collaborative initiative between the SDE and New Mexico School for the Deaf."

The public is invited to attend the meetings to provide input.

Among the task force's goals are to:

  • Review, expand as necessary and prioritize problems affecting deaf/hard-of-hearing education;
  • Identify needed resources to upgrade the quality of deaf services and education;
  • Recommend strategies for developing accountability standards for all programs serving deaf/heard-of-hearing children; and
  • Recommend language for a Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Children's Bill of Rights in New Mexico.
According to the SDE, in 2000-01, there were 532 students with hearing impairments in New Mexico. The School for the Deaf reports that the average reading level of the deaf/hard-of-hearing adult over the years has continued to hover at around the third grade level.