LRE vs. MRE = what’s it gonna be for ye?

Least Restrictive Environment vs. Most Restrictive Environment

Often LRE = Least Restrictive Environment in PL 94-142 – the IDEA LAW is interpreted to mean “public school in child’s home district” but many folks have said:

– what about the socio-emotional component

– what about a sense of belonging

– what about direct instruction

– what about a natural and fully accessible language

– what about cultural literacy

– what about Deaf ways of doing and being that Deaf teachers and teachers of the Deaf know and understand and utilize????

Recent research findings show:

  • The deaf students who perform best academically usually are the ones whose parents have effectively communicated with them from an early age.
  • Children who sign early on generally outperform those who do not sign during their early school years.
  • Early language skills-both American Sign Language and spoken language- correlate with reading ability, with no evidence that one is necessarily better than the other.
  • Most deaf students’ difficulties in reading are mirrored by difficulties in understanding sign language.
  • Deaf and hard-of-hearing children entering school often are lagging behind hearing children in their knowledge of the world, number concepts, and problem-solving skills, not just in language.
  • Deaf students do not always learn, think, or know in the same ways as hearing children.

above from

According to Dr. Marc Marschark “86 percent of deaf students in the U.S. are in mainstreamed programs all or part of the day. In many cases, they are the only deaf or hard-of-hearing student in their school.”

Deaf schools have continually been at the mercy of state budgets and politicians who have no knowledge of Deaf culture, ASL, bilingualism and Deaf rights.  Links below re: threats to Deaf schools.

A Deaf mind is a horrible thing to waste – get busy making sure Deaf folks are not automatically mandated into MRE situations

LRE vs. MRE = what’s it gonna be for ye and the wee things?

“So long as there are two deaf people upon the face of the earth and they get together, so long will signs be in use.” J. Schuyler Long (1910)




threat to Deaf Schools in NY state

2 Deaf youths letters to Gov Cuomo

Mother’s experiences with children in mainstreaming, home schooling and Deaf School (additional links at the bottom also)

Save 4201 Schools Now! A short film

Texas School for the Deaf – possible lawsuits to public schools

Kansas School for the Deaf

Blog entry about possible threats to Deaf schools from Jan 29, 2009 (old but still has important information)


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roberta
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 18:51:53

    Hi Patti…I was just remembering watching or reading a story, some few years back, about this similar problems in a Deaf school in Fla, I think St. Augustine School for the Deaf and the Blind…they had to mainstream many Deaf children…but realizing it was too costly to get interpreters and other issues, so they brought many students back to their Deaf school. Know anyone who might remember and use this as an example to share with DeafNYAction/4201Schools?

  2. Karen Mayes
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 20:17:26

    Yeah. IF (I doubt it would happen) the Cuomo’s budget proposal comes to pass, I’d be facing more difficulties keeping my children at RSD… why? Both have in the past successfully passed state exams, in both states… NYS and Indiana and their reading grade level is at par or above the level; they are able to talk; etc. One thing that bugs me is that the Deaf students require IEPs in order to attend a Deaf school. Hence IEPs = $$.

    Serioiusly, economics and politics are mixed up here in NYS… NYS spends too much money on pupils here in NYS, more than other states and NYS wants to cut out 4201 to save $$?

    Some things don’t make sense at all.

    There will be a meeting about this situation tomorrow at RSD at 6:30 PM where we’d get more information.

  3. Dianrez
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 21:58:31

    Just today I received a broadcast email from Gov. Cuomo about the education cuts. He said NY spends the most per student in the nation and rank only 34th in student achievement. He used language like “inefficient” and “cut the fat” and “freeze salaries” and “cut the pay of the highest paid administrators” with a lot of explanations such as reserve funds being available locally to reduce the cuts to overall about 2.9 percent net. This link is an online version of his rant:

    I am annoyed at the tone of this broadcast and omitting that we have the largest concentration of people below the poverty line in the major cities of the state, a large percentage of immigrants and refugees, and heavy spending on food stamps, welfare, medicaid and so on. Instead of addressing these globally, Cuomo is choosing to attack education including the disability schools.

  4. Karen Mayes
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 00:20:17


    Ugh (my reaction to what Cuomo said in regards to the education cuts.) I still don’t like that idea of “shifting” because the money being sent to school districts first… they might want to keep it. That’s what worries me.

  5. handeyes
    Feb 19, 2011 @ 12:38:35

    Roberta, Karen, and Dianrez –

    thank u for all ur comments

    yep lots of concerns that the proposed budget is really just a shell game

    the whole country has been in an economic downward spiral for a while now.

    doesnt take a greenspan brain to know u cant be trillions of dollars in debt to china and still wage two unjust (and most likely unwinnable) wars going on a decade now)

    all these little efforts r not gonna add up to economic sustainability and if approved will most likely result in a higher number of Deaf kids drowning in the mainstream



  6. Karen Mayes
    Feb 19, 2011 @ 21:36:05

    Thought you’d need to view this vlog of ASLKimber.

  7. Kim Symansky
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 05:16:05

    LRE 5a = students with disability attend the general education classroom at least 80% time everyday at public education school
    LRE 5b = students with disability attend the general education classroom at least 40% time everyday at public school and attend resource room or other program for the rest of the day
    LRE 5c = students with disability attend separate school (deaf school, blind school, special education school i.e, alternative school with students with behavior problems, and hospital with students with severe mental or emotional disturbance)

    Let’s say a state with 75,000 students with disability requires 85% of LRE 5a (85% of all students with disability attend general education classroom) = 63,750 students in regular classroom almost all the time

    LRE 5b = students with disability of 5b (13%) = 9,750 students with disabilty attend 40% general education classroom every day at public schools

    LRE 5c = students at separate school (1.5%) = 1,125 students at other schools – not public schools (deaf school, blind school, special education school, hospita)

    that state allows 1,125 students with disabilities at separate schools, but the count is 1,500 students (375 more students than 1.5%) = this results that the state’s LRE 5c NOT meeting the target.

    5a = Yes, the state met the target
    5b = Yes, the state met the target
    5c = No, the state did not meet the target because the count is 375 over the limit of 1.5% = 1,125 students.

    Hope I’m making it more clear. Thanks, Kim

  8. Kim Symansky
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 05:18:13

    Karen, your state NY met the target in indicator 5c in 2010-2011. Here’s the copied & pasted sentence; •The percent of students with disabilities who are educated in separate settings increased from 6.0 percent in 2008-09 to 6.3 percent in 2009-10. However, the State met its target, which was to be below 6.6 percent in 2009-10.
    The website is

    Your state Ny is not having problems with the numbers of students at separate schools. The budget issue has nothing to do with the SPP – federal regulations. While my state has too many students at separate schools. 2.14% of students with disabilities are allowed to be at separate schools, but we have 2.35% so we didn’t meet the target.

  9. Karen Mayes
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 11:51:27

    Still Kim, I am seeing some politicians playing games with numbers and it’s disturbing to me… it’s like having to follow the numbers in order to decide the futures of Deaf children for the best of… what? Public education? Dollar signs? It’s a bit cold (I am talking about people who set up the recommended percentages.) And then being encouraged to develop better mainstreaming programs (albeit, to close down the Deaf schools, as well as Blind schools, etc.)

    I am glad to hear that we NYers are OK, but in the light of what’s happening now, we are fighting to see that 4201 schools escape the possible huge decline if imposed by the budget, changing the way the finances are handled. AND I am glad to hear that KSD is safe!

  10. handeyes
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 13:33:35

    kim –

    thank you for the vlogging u r doing on LRE and also for the text English info here

    u r grand

    do u know who in the state of kansas (my bad i re-watched and u explained its Federally established and the different % is based on the # of folks in that state etc so now i assume its the Dept of Education (DOE???) decides on those % (caps) for each track / setting and how they make those determinations?

    im asking because im not sure if its in sync with the ICED 2010 Vancouver New Era accord – which basically says “Nothing about us without us” do they consult with the byproducts of THEIR LRE to determine which setting is actually the least restrictive?

    again i thank u for what u r doing and sharing and finding and learning

    and ur activism – wow – u go girl. let me know if u need more of those audism cards cuz my general thinking is that if laws and governments are skewed to think that LRE always means Hearing setting – they got it a bit backward and their thinking may unintentionally be a result of audism – the notion that to hear or behave like a hearing person is superior to being Deaf

    just seems like they might benefit from a bit of education



  11. handeyes
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 13:37:36

    Karen –

    thanks for putting Kim’s vlog here and for sharing what is being faced in NY

    while the circumstances are different – i do think the misconception of what constitutes LRE for a Deaf child contributes to problems in both states

    maybe all these threats to Deaf schools will lead to a more organized and national effort to examine what is LRE for the Deaf child and why

    glad to see NAD speaking out on the importance of Deaf schools

    local, state, and national decision makers must know that they have to include the byproducts of their educational mandates in the past

    Hope folks will pull out the research up above in the blog entry about how Deaf folks learn differently – the value of ASL etc etc

    and also the ICED 2010 New Era accord

    nothing about us without us folks



  12. Tim V
    Feb 28, 2011 @ 14:24:11

    If Cuomo really wants to “cut the fat”, and he mentioned that huge amount of spending increases are recent…

    I’d like to ask: how much of that spending increase is attributable to 4201 schools? Seriously…if the “fat” he talks about is the recent spending increases, I’d look there first. It most definitely is NOT 4201 schools.

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