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Resolution calling on the NYC DOE to restore hearing screenings in schools and for a statewide policy supporting hearing screenings in all schools

WHEREAS, school-based programs to screen children’s hearing are strongly recommended by leading federal health agencies and professional associations including:  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute for Deafness and other Communication Disorders and the Educational Audiology Association; and

WHEREAS, screening children’s hearing at school is a critical step in identifying children who have hearing loss not previously revealed by newborn hearing screening and who are therefore at risk of academic and speech language delays and social and behavioral problems, as undiagnosed or unmanaged hearing loss in school-age children can have serious lifelong consequences; and

WHEREAS, former New York City Chancellor Joel Klein in June 2008, through Chancellor’s Regulation A-701, cancelled the city’s program for hearing screenings of kindergarten and 1st-graders, a decision based on a research paper that was outdated and applied to only a limited subsection of the student population; and

WHEREAS, the elimination of the program runs counter to state law, which requires local boards of education “to provide hearing screening to all students within six months of admission to the school and in grades kindergarten, 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10 and at any other time deemed necessary;” and

WHEREAS, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which  represents more than 173,000 audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language and hearing scientists; and support personnel has strongly urged the New York City Department of Education to repeal Chancellor's Regulation A-701 and reinstate a comprehensive hearing screening program for school-age students; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the UFT will urge the DOE to meet with ASHA to discuss the association’s concerns; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT, in support of ASHA’s request, calls on the DOE to repeal Chancellor’s Regulation A-701, which cancels the hearing screening program; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT calls on the DOE to reinstate a comprehensive and well-managed hearing screening program for school-age children across the city of New York.