Should Blind, Deaf Experience be Required for School’s Superintendent?

According to a draft job description for Iowa’s schools for the deaf and blind, the superintendent doesn’t necessarily have to have experience teaching blind and deaf students. They don’t even have to have had any formal dealings with blind and deaf students. What’s the reason why the Iowa Board of Regents and the 16-person search committee, which includes educators, parents and administrators, decided not to include experience as a requirement?

It is a widely-established fact that a lot of parents and guardians of blind and deaf children prefer their kids attend a regular public school. A lot of school districts offer programs for blind/visually impaired or deaf and hard of hearing children. Many students in those programs attend the regular class and are pulled aside for either one-on-one teaching or with a group of students to learn things such as braille or ASL. Many people see this method as more prosperous for the student’s long-term educational achievement. These students will most likely want to follow their peers and stride to attend college.

A lot of people see a school for the blind or deaf as one that will provide the student with everything they need academically, but socially are keeping them away from the real world. Could it be possible that Iowa’s schools for the deaf and blind are thinking about this as well? Although the students at the schools of the blind and deaf will be surrounded by their peers, maybe it will take a superintendent who has experience with running a regular public school-and not necessarily dealing with students who are blind and deaf- to shake things up. Is it possible that the school board wants to see a shift in the students’ prospective? Can someone from the outside implement that? Could someone who knows how to motivate students to stride higher do that for students in the school for the blind and deaf?

It’s not clear if the lack of mentioning experience that is currently on the job posting’s draft version will make it to the final copy, but what is clear is that the school board left it out for a reason. There has been no public comment on this, but there will, over the next few months, be much talk about it.

To read the article, click here.

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