[nobe-l] New THOUGHT PROVOKER 142- Literacy Nightmare

Robert Newman newmanrl at cox.net
Sun Feb 8 18:25:40 UTC 2009

RE:  Literacy Nightmare 

This new THOUGHT PROVOKER challenges the educator who is not a supporter of
Braille to think through what would happen if he or she were to deny a
sighted student his or her most efficient method for reading and writing? If
you have not read the PROVOKER, it follows.  Recall that I collect responses
and post them upon my web site for all the WWW to read and learn from and
that URL is- Http://thoughtprovoker.info <http://thoughtprovoker.info/>   If
you wish to receive THOUGHT PROVOKERS sent directly to you, just write me
and ask, at-  newmanrl at cox.net 

Literacy Nightmare

"Give Our Children Literacy! Give Our Children Print!" chanted the crowd.

"This is CNN and this is the scene outside Central Elementary School. These
parents are angry and dramatically sending their message to the teachers of
this school and to the State Department of Education." The camera's lens
shows the front of a school.  A mass of people march back and forth  the
length of the block, waving large labeled placards.

WOMP, WOMP, WOMP! The sound of a helicopter is heard over the audio and the
view zooms up to an aerial shot.  We are looking down from a significant
height to a view of the school's entire property, which is surrounded by a
shoulder-to-shoulder phalanx of adults. The focus sharpens to the teacher's
parking lot, where police officers negotiate with parents blocking the
driveway to not allow the drivers of cars penned inside to leave.

The news anchor's face again fills the screen. "You've viewed the scene,
read the placards, and heard the chants. Now walk with me into this throng
and we will learn the specifics of what this is all about.

"Miss, pardon me." The anchor thrust the microphone at a woman waving a
placard labeled LITERACY NOW. "Could you tell our viewers what this
demonstration is about?" 

"Literacy! An efficient method of reading and writing. Our children are
being denied this right."

Seeing the camera, marchers crowd in. 

 "My daughter gets one hour of teaching per week to learn to read!" 

The man behind her shouts out, "The teacher who instructs my son to read and
write is not certified."

A man in a business suit edges in front of the mike, "They tell us that with
the increasing development of technology, computers reading aloud to us is
good enough.  Good enough!"

The first mother grabs the mike, "In my daughter's class they turned off the
computer monitors!"

"M'am, are you reporting the students are being denied seeing what is being
displayed upon the screen?" asked the shocked anchor.

"Not exactly." interjected another marcher. "My daughter tells me they allow
it to be switched on, but it's out of focus. She comes home with a

A man's face fills the screen. "My son tells me, in his class they have the
font programmed to either enlarge up to a ridiculous size, forcing you to
scroll and scroll to read, or the text is so tiny you have to stick your
nose up to the screen like you are smelling it." With a dramatic gesture he
thrusts forward a sheath of papers. "It goes beyond the computer. Look at
these hardcopy handouts." 

First showing what appears to be a worksheet, but is so light in contrast
that its nature is questionable. The second is in very tiny print. A third
is several pages stapled together and is in gigantic bold letters. "They
tell us it allows our child to function in the print world. But I ask you,
is this adequate in terms of being competitive?"

Another female voice gets the anchor's attention. "Oh, and the books, too!
They are either very large volumes that the average student refuses to use
or they are audio!"

 "Miss, for the sake of the viewers who have just tuned in, could you
clarify the major point of what your group claims is happening here?"

The most efficient method of reading and writing is being withheld from our
children! They say print is becoming obsolete. Literacy for our children is
being greatly restricted and we are not going to allow it anymore."

The face of the anchor again fills the screen as he gives his closing. "Is
the strongest method for reading and writing for these children being
systematically taken away? Is literacy being threatened here in this school
system? These parents think so and when you take away the student's
strongest method of literacy, what do we expect will happen?  This is CNN
action news."  And the screen faded to a last view of the angry, marching

"AAAHHH!" Marlene, a sighted teacher of blind/VI children, sat bolt upright
in bed, hand to her head. "Oh my God, that was a nightmare! Where did that
come from?" Yesterday's memory of running into Brad, a former VI student
came to mind. "

Brad had been almost bitter when he said, "I should have learnt Braille in
elementary school; it would have been more efficient for me than print.
Ever think what parents of normally sighted kids would do if you didn't
teach their children the most efficient method for reading and writing?"  He
said he was learning Braille now as a college student. 

Marlene flashed back to the scenes in her nightmare. Surely Brad was the
exception?  It was just a nightmare, not reality. Surely?

Robert Leslie Newman 
Email- newmanrl at cox.net

More information about the NOBE-L mailing list