DECEMBER ISSUE 1961
PUBLISHED BY THE AMERICAN BROTHERHOOD FOR THE BLIND
A CHARITABLE AND EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION
2652 SHASTA ROAD, BERKELEY 8, CALIF
THE BLIND AMERICAN
Published monthly in Braille and inkprint and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, President. National headquarters and editorial offices at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.
Editor: Floyd W. Matson.
Executive Secretary: Anthony Mannino, 205 South West Avenue, Room 206, Los Angeles 14, California.
VOLUME I DECEMBER, 1961 No. 8
Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
OBSTACLES TO ACTION FOR HUMAN WELFARE
By Dr. Charles Frankel
"THE GROVE PARK REPORT": AN ANALYSIS
THE ATTACK ON THE ANC WELFARE PROGRAM
By Peroy H. Steele, Jr.
ROUNDUP OF STATE CONVENTIONS
ADVANCE REPORT ON THE NFB CONVENTION
RECORDINGS FOR THE BLIND
BROTHERS ... & OTHERS
By Dr. Charles Frankel
(Editor's note: Dr. Frankel is professor of philosophy at Columbia University, New York City, and the author of numerous books on political and social philosophy, including a notable defense of the liberal tradition, "The Case for Modern Man". The present address was delivered before the National Conference on Social Welfare in Minneapolis last May.)
My assigned subject is "Obstacles to Action for Human Welfare," and I shall concentrate on the obstacles. It would be well to say at the very beginning, therefore, that we ought not to forget the background of progress against which these obstacles must be measured. The changes in the American scene over the last thirty years have altered our society, and for the most part altered it for the better, in fundamental ways. They have shown the resilience of our system, the educability of its members, and the resources of conscience and energy that lie ready to be tapped if those who are professionally or politically engaged in advancing the cause of human welfare have the wit and the will to lead the way. Indeed, our very success over the past generation may itself be one of the present obstacles in the way of doing the jobs that now need to be done. The pace of events has left us a little breathless and our progress a little tired. Our affluence seems to have stunned rather than stimulated us.
No more serious issue exists, none bites more deeply into the other issues that plague us, than that of generating a vision of a future America that might enlighten and ignite the comfortable. For while we have many troubles, they are not so visible as troubles in the past. Our schools are not nearly what they could or should be, but the children who suffer from this situation are not crying out in pain. We have unemployment, but the shock is cushioned, and the prosperity of the prosperous largely unaffected. Juvenile delinquency, it is easy to think, involves other people's children, poverty is hidden and closed off in ghettoes. We have moved, in short, from a politics of grievances to a politics of possibilities. Our discontents are based, not on clear and definite wrongs crying out to be set right--the desegregation issue is the one great exception--but on our sense of resources that are unused and potentialities ignored. The transition to such an atmosphere is difficult; it is like the transition from the problems of fighting sin to the problems of making the best of a state of grace. An effort of thought and imagination, and not just a lively conscience is necessary.
But what are the present obstacles to the promotion of human welfare? In one sense they are the perennial obstacles: greed; demagoguery; fear of the unknown; discomfort at change; the failure to take thought, the incapacity, or the self-protective refusal, to imagine another's condition. And to all these is added a fact that characterizes all societies. Those who have the best chance to lead are usually the most fortunate; and because they are, they are also likely to be most worried by proposals for change.
But there are also special obstacles peculiar to our own condition. First, there are obstacles created by our political and administrative institutions. These institutions are afflicted by apoplexy at the center and anaemia at the extremities. Second, our social and cultural attitudes have not caught up with what we are doing, and have not begun to prefigure what we might do. Our deeds, though behind our needs, are ahead of our thoughts. Third, the pressures of our present situation bear on us heavily. The cold war distracts and depresses us. We take our cues from the actions and threats of our opponents. And we have been overwhelmed by our powers, frightened rather than liberated by them. Let us look at each of these problems in turn.
First, our political and administrative institutions, and, more specifically, the institutions directly concerned with welfare programs: they bear the mark, I think, of the emergency in which they were born. Along with the words "freedom and democracy," the word "welfare" is one of the more abused words of our time. "Welfare," the dictionary tells us, is a state of being or faring well. But all that the so-called welfare state attempts to guarantee men is a life of minimal decency. Our "welfare state" is, in fact, the bandage we wear as the sign of past wounds. Its programs are in the main postscripts to the emergencies of depression and war. They reflect a view of human welfare, and of the conditions of its pursuit, which is as warped as the view of a convalescent about the energies of the human body.
Let me put the issue more precisely. Broadly speaking, we may distinguish between two kinds of social problems. One kind of problem emerges when the system does not work well, or when irreparable human difficulties intrude. In the best of societies there will be broken legs and broken hearts, illness, helpless children, dependent old people. And even in pretty good societies, there will be occasional failures. Public health measures may not prevent an outbreak of hepatitis, and economic progress will have occasional dips and falls. We may call such problems "residual" problems. And we normally (and, to a degree, mistakenly) think of crime, for example, as a residual problem.
On the other hand, there are also problems that emerge precisely because the system is working well and as we wish it to work. The child taking his first steps is a problem, but the problem has appeared because the child has grown as we desire. And similarly, in all societies there is a standing problem of education. And the fact that the problem exists, and that more of the resources of the society must be steadily devoted to it, is a sign of success, not failure - if only the kind of success reflected in a rising population.
The problem which existing welfare institutions pose is whether they are concerned exclusively with residual problems or with non- residual problems. In the main, it seems to me, our welfare programs are still conceived as residual problems. We think of them as efforts to deal with problems that arise despite our system and its success, and not because of that system and its success. But I venture to suggest that most (though not all) of our welfare problems are not in fact consequences of the health of our particular kind of society. And I think that we would have a rather different kind of welfare society if we looked at welfare problems systematically in this way. The failure to do so is one of the principal present obstacles to the advancement of human welfare.
What do I mean? Let us take just a few examples. A great many of the problems that face welfare programs in American cities - as I think all of you would recognize - are problems that arise as the result of the migration of rural people to the city. For a hundred and fifty years now, inhabitants of the countryside have been moving to cities of industrial Europe and then America. Successive waves of immigrants, almost all of them with rural backgrounds, have made the history of our cities. Now it's the Latin American and the Negro; a generation ago it was the Italian. Only the Jew, on the whole, has brought an urban background with him. And most of the problems of urban welfare programs arise in that context.
Now this is not a fault in our system. It is the sign - the symptom and the consequence - of the industrial growth of our system and of its creation of increasing opportunities. It is a problem, in other words, like the problem of education, not like the problem of crime. Yet we deal with the problem as though it were like the problem of crime. For instance, the army assumes that when you take a man from civilian status and put him into the military he needs a period of orientation. The army deals with this problem in an organized and deliberate way. It doesn't wait until the individual falters and then sends him to the guardhouse or the hospital. Of course, some people will falter and have to be sent to the guardhouse or hospital in any case. But the army makes some deliberate efforts to cushion the shock of transition. Dealing with a problem of transition, at least as abrupt, we do relatively little in an organized way. We take a therapeutic and remedial, rather than preventive, approach to the problem.
Another great issue of which we are only beginning to be aware is the issue of technological unemployment. A major justification for a system of decentralized capitalist competition, so far as I can see, is that it energizes the spirit of invention and innovation. That system seems to be working very well. And as a result, not only do we have technological unemployment but we can count on it as a normal condition of life. It is the price we pay for our success, the inevitable defect that goes with our virtue. What do we do about this chronic problem? Once more, we can treat it as an accident, as something that shouldn't happen, or we can establish institutions for the retraining and relocation of displaced individuals which have the same status in our society as schools. Our administrative and political institutions are in this respect, I think, quite inadequate for dealing with the problems with which we are confronted. They bear the signs of the emergency in which they were born. They need to be converted deliberately and as a matter of principle, into standing agencies for preventing the problems which they now go about managing In an ad hoc and retrospective manner.
There is one more issue here of considerable importance. You may find it difficult to believe, I find it difficult to believe myself, but there are moments every day when I think there is something to be said for Senator Barry Goldwater. Senator Goldwater is worried about the increasing centralization of our society. And I am worried about it too, so worried about it that I wish that Senator Goldwater would sing a different tune. For I think that he is an agent of the forces that are creating this over-centralization. What do I mean? Like a good many old-fashioned Jeffersonians, I think it a liberal and liberating purpose to want to relieve individuals from a meddlesome state, from the petty tyrannies of officials, from the constant intervention of government into local and private affairs. The number of such interventions is growing steadily. But why?
Let me give you two analogies which I hope will help me to make my point. Let's imagine a man who refuses to go on the regular regimen of physical exercise and decent diet that his doctor prescribes for him. He doesn't follow any planned program for maintaining his health. And as a result the doctor comes to his house every week, he intervenes in the man's life in a hundred detailed ways, the fellow feels that he's got no freedom at all, and the medical bills are very high. Or take another example. When I try to walk across New York City these days, I run into a series of blocks and obstacles to my progress towards my welfare. I run into people. I barely avoid running into cars. I see policemen everywhere, and they order me around, and often in a discourteous way. But unless New York were to make some deliberate decision about the rights of the automobile driver, this problem is going to continue and to get worse. Without some deliberate planned decision at the center, for example, one governing access of the automobile to the center of New York, the inroads on my daily freedom of movement are going to grow.
This is the kind of issue I have in mind when I say that our political and administrative organizations concerned with welfare ought to be converted from remedial institutions into institutions dealing with problems conceived as normal and natural problems of our society. I say it once in the interest of planning and centralization and in the interest of recentralization. The pressures towards centralization in our society are very great. Without deliberate planning at the center, they are going to become greater. Policies focussed on and by emergencies, ad hoc measures for dealing with one separate problem after another, only multiply restrictions, regulations, and inhibitions on human energy. The purpose is to simplify, to rationalize, to provide a stable set of alternatives within which individuals are freer to act in security and to exercise their freedom of choice. Only a positive approach to programs of human welfare will promote, I think, the liberty of our society as well as the welfare of our society.
This is particularly important in connection with an agency which has always been thought to be fundamental in democracy - the voluntary organization. We are suffering, I said a while ago, from apoplexy at the center and anaemia at the extremities. The anaemia is in our voluntary organizations, which are increasingly centralized and bureaucracized. In a period of crisis, or with the aid of ideology and rhetoric, you can whip people up to a great effort. But you can do so, usually, only for a short time. If people are to work for long-range social purposes with energy and devotion, I think they have to feel, as a normal matter, that right at home, close to them, there are things they can do that are significant. If they speak, they will be heard. If they move, somebody else will move. The reactivation and revitalization of voluntary organizations at the local levels is a problem of major importance In the pursuit of human welfare. The problem cannot be left just to professionals. Most of you, though not all, are professionals. A major part of your job, in the years to come, I would diffidently suggest, is not just to put your professional knowledge and competence at the disposal of those who need help. It is to organize and lead communities, and to show them that the problem of human welfare is their problem - no, not simply their problem, but also their chance to give a meaning to the word community.
But let me turn to our social and cultural attitudes, I said a while ago that the word welfare is one of the woefully abused words of our times. It is woefully abused for reasons that I have already indicated, but for other reasons, too. As the welfare state has emerged, it has undercut and come close to subverting certain traditional moral values of our society. The conflict between these old moral values and the emerging and still unexpressed moral values of the new welfare society is still unresolved. And so, in our attitudes, we are as yet largely uncommitted, undecided, as to what it is that we have done and as to what it is that we want to do.
How does the new concept of welfare conflict with old values? Although the concept of welfare as we have come to use it in fact only designates the minimally decent life, there are still two elements in it which are relatively new! First, it reflects the growing recognition that even a life of minimal decency cannot be defined in purely material terms . Minimal decency is a concept that is relative in two respects. It is relative to social resources and social expectations, and it is relative to personality. A life of minimal decency for an American in 1961 is not a life of minimal decency for an American in 1861. The standard of living which we set as the floor below which no one shall go is a rising standard of living. For what men regard as minimal has something to do with what they regard as possible. Secondly, there is a psychological component in the concept of welfare.
Merely to allow a man or a family to keep body and soul together is not all that is meant by minimal decency. They have to be allowed to keep body and soul together under conditions that also permit them to keep their self-respect. This understanding of the imperatives of a social assistance program is a new understanding. Throughout most of history, it has not been usual for men to help their fellows under such conditions that their fellows can keep their self-respect. You all know, or should know, the Biblical maxim that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The maxim could not be truer; it is more blessed to give than to receive - it is much more agreeable to the ego. What we have been trying to do for the last thirty years is to make receiving a little less painful to the human ego. And it will always be painful. In Dostoevski's Brothers Karamazov, old man Karamazov is asked why he has a deadly hate for someone. He replies, "He once did me a favor!"
There is also a second point of great importance in which our approach to human welfare has changed. A life of minimal decency is regarded, in a welfare society, as a right. Over the long course of western history, charity has been considered a supreme virtue. And one reason that charity has been regarded as a supreme virtue is that it is a wholly free act, an act of benefaction towards others who have no natural right to be so benefited. It is a free gift of the donor. In this respect, charity has been subverted by the new welfare policies. The right to receive certain minimal benefits of the society in which one lives is now generally recognized as a right of all. It is part of what we mean when we speak of fundamental human rights. And this clashes with very old attitudes - with the attitude that benefits should always be a return for service, with the notion that if men don't have the lash of utter poverty behind them, they won't work hard, with all the moralities and immoralities that lead us to divide the poor, but no one else, into two classes - the deserving and the undeserving.
We haven't yet assimilated all that this dislocating of old attitudes means. And our irresolution shows itself in fears - for example, the fear that a guarantee of minimal security eats away at initiative and self-reliance. It is, of course, true that if you guarantee all men certain minimal securities, some men will take such a guarantee as an invitation to take things easy. There isn't the slightest doubt that security does unnerve some people and encourage them to think that the world owes them a living. My evidence of this assertion is the behavior of many rich people. But on the whole, in a society in which there are great opportunities - in which there is money to be made, work to be done, and success is valued above all things - in such a society, it seems to me it is foolish to worry about the enervating effects of the guarantee of minimal security. These effects are scattered, and are almost certainly balanced by the stimulations that minimal security offers.
In addition to the still unresolved notions about welfare we inherit from the past, we have some new problems towards which we have not yet managed to formulate any settled attitudes at all. They are examples of precisely the kind of normal chronic problem to which, as I have been suggesting, welfare programs ought to be addressed. To understand these problems, it is helpful to think about what it means to move away from the Garden of Eden morality. Paradise for men, throughout history, has been conceived as a kind of easy-going existence where you don't have to work, where you don't feel pain, where there are no angers or jealousies, where a man is tame, placid, and obedient. That's because we always create our paradises out of our knowledge of hell. We look at hell, which is close at hand and requires few powers of imagination, and we eliminate what is evil: that gives us paradise.
But we are now living in a society in which most old notions of paradise will not do. Consider early retirement or leisure, or extension of life expectancy or stretching out of youth. To start with the last case, It is a special phenomenon of our mature industrial society that young people spend longer and longer periods receiving an education, remain for a longer time in a socially dependent and apprentice status. And yet human biology, of course, hasn't changed. At a certain point in their teens, young people are biologically mature - with all the problems that that creates. It is a fantasy to imagine that adolescence is a biological phenomenon. It is a social phenomenon. It's a phenomenon of young people who are physically mature but are kept in socially immature positions. And since this problem is built into the kind of society we have, it requires the examination of the institutions, from schools to labor laws, that bear upon it. Old categories, not even the categories of thirty years ago, will not do.
Similarly, the notion of a happy old age spent in retirement loses its meaning when biological old age more normally begins at 75 or 80 but official retirement begins at 65 or 60. The Eskimos have been condemned for exposing their old people on the hills and letting them die. We're more humane; we expose them in sunshine colonies and let them die. We have still to find ways In which those who are retired can act as useful contributors to their community. We have still to find other than purely stop-gap measures for dealing with the problem of old age In a society in which, for the first time in human history, something like a third of the population is directly affected.
But now let me turn finally to the pressures of our present situation. Obviously, the greatest reason for wanting to liquidate the cold war is that if we don't we may all go up in smoke. But a second reason is the awful, shameful diversion of human wealth and energy that the cold war represents. The economic waste, the distraction, tension and very probably the domestic violence that comes from the cold war is immeasurable. In the United States, furthermore, the cold war has had another consequence. It has created an attitude which seems to me, when judged against the American past, almost to merit the label Un-American. That attitude is our fascinated and preoccupied concern with our enemy.
That enemy is making a painful transition from a shamefully impoverished society to, at best, a poor man's paradise. We have long since passed that stage of economic development. That the enemy is real and that he is a threat, I don't for a moment wish to deny. But the United States has not normally decided its own domestic policies in the past by reading from the enemy's script. It has not created its policy just out of fear and antagonism. We are preoccupied with Anti-Communism, as though we had no independent notions of our own about what freedom and democracy in America might mean. Until the Russians do something, we seem not to know what we ought to do. What we seem to have lost is a sense of the future - an image of the future. We try very hard - we're immensely flexible, we're extraordinarily gifted in technical pursuits, we tinker better than any other society. But we don't quite know what it is we want - and we don't quite know what it is we want, I suspect, because we still have our minds fixed on that last emergency through which we came.
Those who are concerned with social welfare in particular need to address themselves to a serious study of our social and political organization, and to a serious, deliberate, and controversial concern with social policy. The social worker, unhappily, has become one of the best examples of the decline of our society's capacity to imagine its future. He's doing his job efficiently and he is also encasing himself in his job. He's tinkering with the broken products that are brought to the repair shop, but he isn't asking himself why so many of these broken products are being brought in. Even with regard to the cold war, the construction of a positive image of a society concerned with human welfare for it's own sake--even in the cold war, this would be an extraordinary instrument.
Ten years ago George Kennan wrote in Foreign Affairs , "Any message we may try to bring to others will be effective only if it is in accord with what we are to ourselves, and if this is something sufficiently impressive to compel the respect and confidence of a world which, despite all its material difficulties, is still more ready to recognize and respect spiritual distinction than material opulence. This search for and recovery of spiritual distinction seems to me to be our problem.
How can we begin? I would say, first of all, that we ought to begin by stating some disagreeable facts about ourselves. Nothing would help more than if we cut through the rhetoric, looked at our unfinished business squarely, and tried to state the ideals that define our new business. Our schools are shockingly inadequate. Our programs for the young and the old are sketchy, grudging, undernourished. Our actions and thoughts about unemployment, delinquency, recreation, public facilities, or the ugliness of our cities - all of these are ad hoc and fearful. In New York, the city where I work, the capital of an extraordinarily rich continent, the contrast between wealth and poverty is shocking and hideous. The bewilderment, the scorn, and the violence that lie a millimeter below the surface in Harlem can be sensed by anybody who walks through Harlem - unless, of course, his senses have been completely destroyed by time, life and fortune - and you may capitalize these words. And the question to be asked is not the irrelevant and tiresome question, "Can any other social system do better?" The question is whether this represents the best that the American system can do.
The man who is prepared to say "Yes," the man who thinks these facts should not be mentioned or that mentioning them shows a lack of respect for the American system - that man is the man who shows lack of respect for the American system and its potential. It is he who is killing the faith of Americans in what they have, for faith is built on works. And he is contributing to the image of the United States abroad - he is that image - which has made millions associate us with the past rather than with the future. In our past, the United States was a contagion. It was a contagion because, almost alone in the world, it was a society that wanted its future, that knew its possibilities and loved them and seized them. And it is still true that no other society has a better chance to demonstrate what the possibilities for human well-being might be.
Last winter, even in England, a poorer society, there was a cartoon at Christmas time in one of the English journals. It showed Jesus in the manger with a television set and a refrigerator and some very large fuzzy little animals with which to play. I was struck by this cartoon appearing in a welfare society. Thirty years ago, social critics attacked poverty. Now social critics, including some of our most liberal social critics, attack affluence. Why? It's sentimental to declaim against affluence. I hope you will forgive me - I hope it doesn't sound too vulgar, but along with a rapidly declining group of other materialists, I think that material wealth and material goods generally are good, not bad, for a civilization and for the spiritual life. The American bathroom is a contribution to civilization. Why, then, are we so apologetic about our wealth, and worried about our alleged materialism.
The answer is so obvious we hesitate to put it into words. It is because we haven't yet put this extraordinary opulence to work that we can respect. In any society, and particularly in a rich one, men need a sense that there are large, ideal enterprises under way. They need a sense that they can take part in those enterprises, that their work adds up to something - that if they use their minds and their hearts, they can do something supremely worth doing. The theme for this Conference is "Concern for Human Welfare: Unifying Force for Survival." I hope you will forgive me if I extend that theme. Survival is something, but not enough: what counts is survival in freedom and survival for the good life. Concern for human welfare could be a unifying force, producing excitement and a sense of purpose and meaning in our society - if only we could get our eyes on the target. The question is whether we in the United States today have the energy, courage and imagination to live up to our extraordinary powers. Those of you who have come to this Conference can do as much to generate this renewal of mind and heart as any group in the country.
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An important study in the field of vocational rehabilitation — dealing specifically with the attempt to define uniform standards and principles covering "non- medical vocational and rehabilitation preparation services for blind persons" — was published in October by the American Foundation for the Blind.
Bearing the title "The Grove Park Report," the publication is the outcome of a work conference held last July under the auspices of the AFB. Participating were some 20 representatives of agencies for the blind, public and private, from various parts of the country. No representatives from organizations of the blind, however, were among the participants.
Organized initially on the premise that the diversity of rehabilitation services for the blind from state to state betrays a lack of common agreement on minimum principles and standards, the Grove Park conference found this assumption strongly confirmed by the findings of a preliminary survey of state training facilities and services. As analyzed by Maurice I. Tynan for the conferees, the survey data revealed "that few of the states have developed special criteria for the selection of training facilities and principles and standards relative to the provision or purchase of training servioes which take into consideration the many needs and problems inherent In the disability of blindness."
On the basis of the scanty and differing information turned up by the survey, it was inferred that few recognized standards prevail among the states in the general areas of prevocational and vocational training. The survey analyst concluded: "The Vocational Rehabilitation Act contemplated that each individual accepted for training would receive special services tailored to meet his needs to enable him to be employed in an occupation commensurate with his talents, skills and abilities. Although much progress has been made in the vocational rehabilitation of blind persons since the Act was amended in 1943, there remains much to be done if objectives are to be fully realized."
Unfortunately, it would appear from the "Grove Park Report" that still more remains to be done than was contemplated by the work conference itself if the major objectives of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act are to be realized. Both the "assumptions" of the conferees and the "principles" which they have developed reflect the tendency of many professional workers and administrators to minimize the vocational goals of the rehabilitation process in favor of concentration upon such nonvocational services as psychological adjustment and personal orientation.
While there is no lack of references to the employment objectives of the program, the emphasis of the AFB Report (and presumably the main interest of the participants) appears to lie elsewhere. For example, the key term "training" as used in rehabilitation terminology, with its obvious vocational connotation, is regarded by the conferees as somewhat outdated and dispensable in light of the increasing nonvocational developments in the program governed by the federal Act. Thus, in a revealing (not to say ominous) passage, the Report notes that since 1943 "new concepts of rehabilitation have been developed and federally supported services have been expanded to include such items as physical restoration services; more comprehensive evaluative and diagnostic services, etc. In addition, the conference participants had been more or less conditioned to the future possibility of the independent living bill and all it might connote with respect to rehabilitation terminology unqualified by the word 'vocational.'"
As a result of this explicit anti-vocational bias, the agency conferees proposed, among other things, that: "Inasmuch as the three committees seem to agree that the terminology 'personal adjustment training, ' 'prevocational training,' and 'vocational training' presents real confusion in the separation of function, and inasmuch as this terminology is still in use by the federal government, and inasmuch as substantive change in terminology is a very serious undertaking, Committee I recommends to the American Foundation for the Blind that this matter be explored much more intensively to the end that more meaningful terminology be developed for general consideration and possible adoption."
The import of this interesting terminological discussion is not far to seek. The central emphasis of federal-state vocational rehabilitation programs, ever since their original enactment in 1920, has been upon the restoration of the productive powers of the disabled in order to assist them to find remunerative employment in the normal commerce and industry of their communities. The basic and crucial provisions of the programs have accordingly been those of vocational training and job placement . Other services and facilities — medical, therapeutic, psychological, and so on — have always been regarded, under this "old" terminology, as adjuncts or preliminaries to the overriding purpose of getting the clients back to work. But in recent years, as the above quotations suggest, other and different interests have grown up bearing little or no relation to the vocational goal. These new professional interests, clearly illustrated in the "independent living" bill, have so captured the attention of social workers that they threaten to displace the services of occupational training and preparation for employment and to convert the 40-year-old program of vocational rehabilitation into one primarily of non-vocational orientation.
The "Grove Park Report" of the AFB does not, of course, go so far as to ignore the vocational objectives of the public program; nor is there reason to suppose that the distinguished group of agency executives participating in On the contrary, the group's Report deals positively and at some length with the problem of establishing "principles" to govern the vocational training of blind persons, and stipulates both that services should be geared to individual needs and that competitive employment objectives should be encouraged.
Nevertheless, in view of these professed principles, it is discouraging to note the Report's recommendation that "if specific vocational training cannot be secured elsewhere in a community, it may be provided by qualified staff in a workshop facility." Whatever may be the place of sheltered workshops outside the vocational rehabilitation program (e.g., in the provision of therapeutic or constructive work and leisure activities for those without normal employment potential), there can be little question of the prima facie incompatibility of such sheltered shops with the fundamental purposes of vocational rehabilitation. Where adequate training facilities do not exist locally, their absence can hardly be used as an excuse for shunting disabled clients into institutions geared to other and conflicting purposes.
In addition to its broad discussion of principles and standards underlying vocational rehabilitation, the Grove Park Report deals briefly with the special requirements of training with respect to vending stands, the operation of transcribing machines, and "homemaking." It may be noted in passing that the Report's brief statement of "principles for vending stand operators" makes no mention of opportunities under the revised Randolph- Sheppard Act for operators to purchase their enterprises and thus become independent owners rather than permanent employees of the state agency. As in other places, the Report here suffers from the absence of the client's viewpoint (i.e., the blind person receiving services) as distinguished from the viewpoint of the professional agency dispensing the services. For all its thoughtful appraisal and informative detail, therefore, the AFB's Grove Park Report must be said to fall short of a balanced and judicious assessment of the unmet needs of the blind in the broad field of vocational rehabilitation.
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By Percy H. Steele, Jr.
(Editor's note: Mr. Steele is Executive Director of the San Diego Urban League and a member of the California State Board of Social Welfare. His address — reprinted in slightly abridged form for reasons of space — was delivered in October before the semi-annual convention of the California Council of the Blind in San Diego.)
From coast to coast the ANC Program has been sharply criticized, and its recipients have been slandered and insulted, in a crescendo of shrill vituperation perhaps unequaled in the modern history of social services. It is not my task in this presentation today to attempt to explain this sad phenomenon, but I wish to clearly characterize it. The bulk of the attacks on this Public Welfare Program represent shallow, incomplete or misguided thinking - or, at worst, consummate distortion of the facts. The weaknesses and limitations of the Aid to Needy Children Program are to any fair-minded observer few and relatively minor. The accomplishments of the Program, on the other hand, especially when considered in the light of the obstacles built into its administration, are manifold and heartening.
These accomplishments in the face of the level of the attacks are a tribute to the administrators, the workers, and even the recipients. The accomplishments also reflect credit on legislators and other public officials, including county Boards of Supervisors, who despite personal doubts and misgivings have, by and large, supported the Program and have usually prevented restrictions in the Program and have held down punitive reprisals against recipients.
When Governor Brown delivered his annual message to the joint session of the California Legislature on January 2 of this year, he asked the Legislature to "take a hard, yet sympathetic look at the Aid to Needy Children Program." The object of this Program, he went on to say, should be the saving of children first and the saving of money second. Critics of Aid to Needy Children Program in California, and in other states as well, have not always taken this balanced view, but instead have hammered away at the rising costs of this Program and at the heavy proportion of illegitimate children in the total ANC case load. The cost of the Program has brought forth the criticism of widespread fraud on the part of the recipients and has also, in California, been directed toward the higher proportion of county participation in this Program, as compared with its share of the other categorical assistance programs. The heavy ratio of illegitimate children has been used by the critics to imply or to flatly assert that ANC tended to encourage immorality and illegitimacy and that many ANC homes were unsuitable for the children being aided with public funds.
Counties, therefore, have been greatly concerned about the Program and in a variety of ways have sought to achieve "tightening" of their administration of it to meet the views of the critics and the obvious problems of the families and children served by ANC. The Newburgh Plan is a good example of this kind of "tightening up." At the State level, similar concerns, although with different emphases, led to the inauguration of intensive study through a special task force of the Department of Social Welfare; and this study was submitted to the Governor on August 1, 1960, after being reviewed by the State Social Welfare Board. During 1960, Legislative studies were also carried out on ANC by the Sub-committee on Welfare Costs of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and by the Assembly Committee on Social Welfare and by the Senate Interim Committee on Social Welfare. The findings and recommendations of these four studies are pertinent to any interested group or official and can be obtained through the Department of Social Welfare. The ADC crisis in New Orleans is another outstanding example of the problems in this over-all field. Even the casual observer will note that more and more we are finding written material and publications on this very controversial Program. For instance, the American Public Welfare Association came out with a pamphlet, ADC - Problem and Promise. The Family Service Association of America devoted one of its issues to the whole problem: The Campaign Against Helpless Children. The U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare came out with a booklet, Illegitimacy and Its Impact on the Aid to Dependent Children Program, only to name a few of these.
The Aid to Needy Children Program has become one of the most controversial and misunderstood programs in the United States. Despite our increasingly wealthy economy the Program has had to provide for greater numbers of families requiring greater public expenditures than ever before. The ANC families are considerably different than in the early years of the Program, Their problems are more complex, accusing and hostile. The ANC Program was initially adopted by the Congress of the United States in 1935 as part of a comprehensive plan of Social Security "to promote the general welfare," as referred to in the Preamble to the Constitution. It is an essential part of a broad social plan of public services, including education, health, welfare and social insurances that the nation is progressively developing to assure its children an opportunity to: (1) Grow up in a setting of their own family relationships; (2) Have the economic support and services they need for health and development; (3) Receive an education that will help them to realize their capacities; and (4) Share in the life of the neighborhood and community.
The ANC problem has grown in size and complexity over the past 25 years. Throughout the nation some 3 million individuals are receiving Aid to Needy Children, of which 2.3 million are children. The problem has grown for many reasons. There has been an unprecedented increase in the general population with an even higher increase in the proportion of children.
Economic and industrial progress has created a national labor market and encouraged great population mobility and the disruption of normal family ties and normal family living. There is more recklessness in the general population and the incidents of desertion, divorce, separation and unmarried parenthood have risen almost year by year along with mental illness, juvenile delinquency and crime. Within some sectors of the population, economic insecurity, unemployment or underemployment have been intensified by automation, fluctuations in the economy, discrimination in employment, insufficient education, absence of marketable job skills, impaired health and mental and physical incapacities. These factors contribute heavily to the ANC load. The ANC problem is growing in quantity and complexity in practically every major center of population in the United States.
Let's take a look at some of the facts and statistics as far as California is concerned. The increase in the California ANC case load has been smaller than in seven comparable eastern states. For instance, the child population increased 20 per cent and the ANC increase was only 38 per cent during the same period. As a follow up to this, one might ask: Why the increase in the ANC case load? Availability of employment is the most important single factor affecting case load size. The proportion of Mexican and Negro recipients has markedly increased. These two groups most seriously affected by an increase in unemployment because of lack of skills and education and as a result of discrimination, account for nearly three-fifths of the case load today as compared to two-fifths in 1950. For such groups, ANC tends to take on the attributes of an unemployment relief program.
Insecurity and instability lie at the root of the growing rate of illegitimacy. Possible recommendations in this area are: increased social services in the field of family counseling; increased mental health facilities, especially in the schools to aid in spotting maladjusted teenagers; and more funds for services helping unwed mothers, so that more case workers could be provided.
As a social worker, and as a citizen charged with a responsibility for the current ANC Program as a member of the State Social Welfare Board, let me acknowledge without debate that it is an imperfect social mechanism for meeting some of the needs of the deprived group of parents and children; but whatever the limitations and weaknesses in the ANC Program - due, in my judgment, to its character and not to its administration - ANC simply mirrors the problems of its beneficiaries; and the roots of these problems in turn twist deeply into the underlying problems of social change and family disorganization in our communities. This perspective is the sobering one we must face when we look at some of the criticisms which have been leveled against ANG:
1. I submit to you, any fraudulent obtaining of assistance is morally wrong, should be reduced, and must be punished by appropriate sanctions. Studies of fraud in ANC, as I pointed out above, the critics to the contrary notwithstanding, show it to be very small and similar in its incidents to the volume of stealing from supermarkets, department stores, banks and substantially less than the fraud that exists in filing of Income Tax Returns. It follows that most so-called crackdowns on ANC fraud are ways to build newspaper circulation, or to enhance the reputation of certain public officials seeking special acclaim for merely doing their duty.
2. I also submit to you that illegitimacy, which is certainly heavy in the ANC load, roughly one-third, is a serious problem In the ANC Program and, more importantly, outside of the Program; but the charge, however, that ANC stimulates illegitimacy is really preposterous to any person who really gives thought and study to the problem. We need to devote major research and planning effort to the rising amount of illegitimacy in our society. But to relate the problem positively to ANC and to think of tightening policies in the Program against illegitimate children, as some critics propose, simply does not make good sense.
3. Similarly the argument that ANC encourages or rewards immorality is patently a defective argument. Immorality is not of minor consequence in our social life. Unconventional behavior of some ANC parents is certainly cause for deep concern, because of its adverse effects on these parents; and more significantly because of the adverse effects on the well-being of children. But similar behavior in non-ANC families should and must be of similar concern to the community. We must be wary of over-emphasizing, if not distorting, the amount of immorality of ANC recipients and of anything which tends to set up a different or more severe moral standard for those who need subsistence help from tax funds, than those who do not need or receive such help.
The problems are real, but some of the critics are unreasonable; and therefore we must be cautious about taking their advice, such as was offered in the Newburgh Plan. To deal with the problems, we will manage best if we avoid hysteria, exaggeration and inflammatory approaches.
To what extent public criticism has its roots in public embarrassment because of a deprived group within our abundant society cannot be ascertained. However, there is evidence that much of the criticism has grown out of racial tensions, a feeling that ANC families should behave in a manner not expected of others, and lack of understanding of the ANC recipients and of the problems which they face and which created their dependency. Neither have the critics been aware of the costs of alternate solutions to the problem of caring for children in their own homes when they are deprived of a parent and in need. Even if it were believed to be beneficial to remove these children from the care of their own parent or relatives, the cost of maintaining them in foster homes or institutions would be prohibited. Nor is there any evidence that removal of children in need from their own homes would decrease the number of illegitimate births.
The ANC Program has helped to preserve family unity. It has made it possible for countless numbers of children to grow into reasonably normal adulthood. After more than 25 years of operation weaknesses are evident; some which the Congress of the United States tried to remedy with amendments. Others are still to be dealt with, especially the effect of the ANC Program in subordinating the role of fathers and in keeping parents apart. This was done, but California did not take advantage of it.
In conclusion let me say this. I do not pretend to have offered any startling or particularly new insights to you on the problems of illegitimacy and the total ANC Program. This evil has existed since marriage became a social institution, since it is the production of children out of wedlock that results in what we term illegitimacy, and even that is a term or dated situation because, if the involved male and/or female marry, the child or children lose the illegitimate status and acquire respectability. It might be well to recognize that the real problem involved here is not the number or ratio of children born out of wedlock but the extent to which people indulge or engage in adulterous sexual intercourse. Out of the core problem of such illicit sex contacts, except when conception does not take place, come the evils of abortions and illegitimate births. Let's also admit that, to a real degree, the hue and cry over and seriousness of the fact of illegitimacy is related to the spiraling costs of public assistance as reflected in the Aid to Needy Children Program especially. In fact, it was that narrow interest which led to the creation of the welfare Study Commission.
On that basis, let me remind you again that illegitimacy occurs on all social, economic, cultural and educational levels, without regard to race, creed or color, and also that reliable figures place on Welfare rolls about 10 per cent of the approximately 200,000 illegitimate births each year. Perhaps we first can agree that there is no hope of preventing illegitimacy and that effort must be profitably directed to a reduction in its incidents. This calls for a willingness by society to effect severe changes in its social practices, and it is to the presentation of a few such alterations that I conclude my remarks this afternoon, I recommend that:
1. Discrimination, segregation and denial of equality of opportunity based on race, creed or color be abolished. There is little question but that rejection, aggression and deprivation figure importantly in illegitimacy.
2. Decent, safe and sanitary housing must be provided on a greatly enlarged scale for all levels of society below the so-called middle-class grouping.
3. Family living, family planning and sex education must be made much more accessible and available through the home, the church, the school, the social agencies and organizations, etc. Programs such as "Strengthening the Family Project," which have been carried out in a number of cities, must be increased and expanded.
4. Much larger appropriations must be made by both Government and the public for the public and private social agencies that are presently contending with or can be converted to contend with the problem. It is not enough to do a little about helping people with their problems. The real answer lies in helping them out of their problems. Effective prevention and rehabilitation of social agency cases in the real or potential grasp of illegitimacy will be possible to the extent that society learns to care more about people than dollars.
5. Services for unwed minority group mothers must be provided on a much larger scale than exists at present. We need to be more aggressive and do more in the way of carrying the service to these people. This suggestion also implies an enlargement of existing services for majority group unwed mothers. Clearly this suggestion, as well as the preceding one, includes a decided expansion in adoption and foster care programs. A change in the economic situation will, no doubt, have a decided effect on this problem.
6. As in the case of the Tango, it takes two people to produce an illegitimate child in the absence of resort to artificial insemination. It therefore follows that corrective efforts must be directed toward the male of the species in the areas of prevention, rehabilitation and apprehension. I must leave the development of appropriate apprehension programs to others who are much more legally competent than I. My only thought is that in cases where the male partner is legally identified, he must be made to share a larger portion of responsibility for the welfare of the children than now falls upon him.
7. One injunction I hasten to insert here is that resort must not be had to compulsory sterilization as an approach to a solution of the problem. Nor should public assistance be withheld. Both measures are repulsive to me and give rise to problems greater than the one they would be intended to solve.
8. A second injunction is that remediable results cannot be expected to materialize immediately, rather they must be projected over a reasonable period of time and in proportion to the money and community efforts put into the project.
Let it not be assumed that I speak today as one who defends those who, as a result of thoughtless and selfish indulgence in sexual pleasures, and without regard to their responsibilities, cause or add to the severity of our social problems. I like to hope that there is no question whatever as to the position of the San Diego Urban League or its Executive Director or myself as a member of the State Board of Social Welfare or as Chairman of the San Diego Board of Public Welfare, on the need for assumption of responsibility by all members of our society; rather I ask only that, as we do with a dirty face, we wash it instead of cutting it off.
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(Editor's note: THE BLIND AMERICAN wishes to keep its readers accurately informed of conventions held by state and national organizations of the blind as well as by significant agencies and groups in the welfare field. In order to make our coverage as complete and comprehensive as possible, interested organizations are requested to send full information on their conventions to the editor, THE BLIND AMERICAN, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California.)
James McGinnls to Lead California Council. The fall convention of the California Council of the Blind, held October 21-22 in San Diego, was highlighted by the appearance of several distinguished guest speakers and the presentation of informative panel discussions -- but found its real climax in the unexpected resignation of Council President Russell Kletzing. The outgoing leader, who has headed the Council for the past three years, regretfully announced his resignation at the close of his presidential report for reasons of a "pressing personal nature," and expressed gratitude to the membership for its strong support of his programs and leadership. James McGinnis, of Van Nuys, was subsequently elected to the presidency.
Among those who addressed the convention were State Assemblyman Phillip E. Burton of San Francisco, chairman of the Assembly Social Welfare Committee; Assemblyman Augustus Hawkins of Los Angeles, sponsor of the "Right to Organize" bill in the 1961 state legislature; John Nagle, chief of the Washington office of the National Federation of the Blind; California State Senator Hugo Fi3her, and Percy H. Steele, Executive Director of the San Diego Urban League and member of the State Social Welfare Board (whose address is reprinted elsewhere in this issue).
Charters were presented at the convention to the presidents of two new affiliates: the West Contra Costa Club of the Blind, Richmond, and the East Contra Costa Chapter of the California Council.
Nevada Elects Officers. Mrs. Audrey Bascom was reelected president of the Nevada Federation of the Blind at its sixth annual convention held in mid-October at Las Vegas. Other officers and board members chosen were: first vice-president, K. 0. Knudson; second vice-president, Catherine Callahan; secretary, Gus Raepsaet; treasurer, James Ellis; chaplain, Julia Davis; directors, Dorothy Bowring, Catherine Callahan, Andy Anderson, and Louise Long.
Guest speaker at the convention's banquet was Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, president of the American Brotherhood for the Blind and recently resigned head of the National Federation of the Blind, who also joined in active convention discussions of legislative goals and the problems of disability. Other speakers included John Nagle, the NFB's Washington chief; John Ruiz, Chief of Nevada Services to the Blind, and Mrs. Florence Beebee, a public school superintendent of special education programs.
Colorado Federation Meets. The seventh annual convention of the Colorado Federation of the Blind took place November 4. in Denver, with a busy schedule of events, including election of new officers. Those chosen to lead Colorado's affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind were: president, Clifford E. Jensen, Denver; first vice president, Sam Matzner, Colorado Springs; second vice president, Henry Taylor, Denver; corresponding secretary Mrs. Marie Jensen, Denver; recording secretary, Mrs. Alta Haverty, Kremmling; treasurer, Mrs. Georgia Cox, Denver board members, Ray McGeorge, Denver, Mike Murin, Denver, and George Newell, Colorado Springs.Cliff Jensen was elected as delegate to the 1962 NFB convention, with Mrs. Ethyl Mahaney, also of Denver, as alternate.
Convention activities included a panel discussion on employment of the blind, participated in by Miss Leota Pekrul, personnel officer of the University of Colorado Medical Center (which employs a large number of blind persons in various capacities); R. C. Anderson, executive vice president of the Colorado Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Charles Ritter, Chief of Colorado Rehabilitation Services, and Raymond McGeorge, blind machinist and president of the Denver Area Association of the Blind. Chief speaker at the evening banquet was Robert Keating, president of the Denver City Council, In other convention action the Colorado Federationists voted a contribution of $50 to aid in publication of THE BLIND AMERICAN.
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By Stanley Oliver
(Editor's note: Mr. Oliver is editor of THE EYE OPENER, published by the Michigan Council of the Blind. The Council, a state affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, will be host for the 1962 national convention to be held in Detroit.)
The Detroit Statler Hilton hotel is the site of the forthcoming National Federation convention. Convention days will be July 4.th through the 7th - Tuesday through Friday. Some 700 rooms have been set aside for delegates, all of them air-conditioned, with complimentary radio and television sets. Room rates have been set exceptionally low for the traditional Statler quality of accommodations. All single rooms are seven dollars; all twin-bed or double- bed rooms ten dollars. In addition, a family or dormitory plan is available accommodating four or more persons in a room at $3.50 each. Children under 14. will be accommodated in the parents' room without charge. Agreement has also been made covering the accommodation of an extra person in a room with a rollaway bed at the cost of three dollars per night. A further Statler concession is the half-price charge for banquet dinners served to children under 14. The hotel management has gone all-out in the reduction of rates to attract as many family groups as possible.
The hotel staff has been thoroughly indoctrinated in handling guide dogs and large groups of blind people. The AAWB held its national convention here two years ago, with the hotel people listing some twenty points of value in accommodating some hundreds of blind persons over a four-day period. Mr. Hulen C. Walker, executive director of the AAWB, has referred to this hotel as one of the best designed in his experience for blind people to get around in. The banquet, ballroom, smaller meeting rooms, display rooms, the hospitality room and the hotel-managed Studio Bar are all conveniently located on the ballroom level.
The Tuller Hotel, directly across the street, has set aside a sizable number of single and twin-bed or double-bed rooms for use by our convention at five dollars and eight dollars per night.
There are a number of other hotels within ten minutes walk, including the YMCA and the YWCA. The Statler is located within a fifty-cent cab ride from the Greyhound terminal. The railroad terminals are a little farther off. The Greyhound bus service from the Metropolitan Airport is excellent and delivers passengers directly to the Statler in a forty-minute trip. When making hotel reservations, please be sure to state that you are attending the NFB convention in order to receive our special low room rates. These same low rates apply should you arrive a few days early or stay on a few extra days. Do not fail to send a carbon of your hotel reservation to Mrs. Bertha Cothery, 1201 Colton, Detroit 3, Michigan. Mrs. Cothery is in charge of registrations for the convention.
The recreation program in connection with our gathering promises to be an exciting series under the direction of Harry Hunter, former national president of the Blind Golfers Association. Harry just now is trying to decide between trips to Canada across the Detroit River, visiting a new C.N.I.B. headquarters, and a visit to Ford's Greenfield Village, a world-famous museum of Americana. In prospect for those arriving a day early with their children is an outing to Edgewater Amusement Park, with all rides and concessions free. This latter event has been enormously popular with many hundreds of blind folk and their progeny here for years. Harry also hints at a "quickie" bowling competition with some worthwhile prizes, to be sneaked in during off-time from the convention for the rabid keglers .
Your convention committee is looking forward to making your Detroit visit a most enjoyable and memorable one. Send in your reservations early, with a carbon to Mrs. Cothery, 1201 Colton, Detroit 3, Michigan.
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For the past ten years an organization known as Recordings for the Blind, Inc., has been transcribing textbooks onto disks in virtually every language without charge to blind students -- with the help of such famous readers as Robert Montgomery, Walter Cronkite, Cornelia Otis Skinner, and Ed Bagley.
The RFB was inaugurated in 1951 as a means of assisting blinded veterans of the Korean War to finish college. One such veteran, E. Bastion, who lost his sight when his F-80 jet fighter plane crashed in flames on takeoff from Fairbanks, Alaska, began ordering books from the fledgling organization. With its help he was graduated with honors from the University of Southern California law school after completing four years in the university's school of commerce, according to an RFB spokesman.
Although 2,000 people each year offer their services as volunteer readers, over half are rejected after testing. Even professional actors may not qualify, since the intensity of their presentation often distracts from the subject matter. For the same reason, the RFB points out, the author of a book may be the least desirable reader of his own work. The reader's voice must compensate for the common dullness of textbooks materials and keep the student alert, willing to listen further. Following a period of training, the volunteer reader finds himself devoting days or weeks, or often months, to the tape-recording of a text.
During 1960 alone, some 9,000 books were ordered from the RFB by two thousand blind persons of all ages. Among the titles recorded for specific individuals were: "New Hope for Arthritic Sufferers," "General Principles of Criminal Law," "Readings in Russian History," books on dairy cattle breeding, Greek literature, biochemistry and thermodynamics, educational psychology and world geography. Not only college students but blind students in public school from the third grade up may request books from RFB, along with adults engaged in self-improvement projects or learning useful skills. Among established clients of the agency are a 26-year-old New York University student who has been using RFB texts since 1951, and a 20-year-old Eskimo boy who is working simultaneously toward his high school diploma and a college degree.
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First Rehab-Research-Training Center. Establishment of the nation's first rehabilitation-research-training center was announced in mid-October by Mary E. Switzer, Director of the Federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. In revealing the half-million dollar annual grant to New York University's Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the OVR Director said that a $390,000 installment already has been granted for the current academic year.
Facilities of the Institute, under the direction of Dr. Howard A. Rusk, will be used for research in rehabilitation as well as for training of professional rehabilitation workers in a clinical setting. A limited number of similar centers will eventually be established at universities whose medical schools possess comprehensive teaching and research programs as resources for research in other phases of rehabilitation and for training workers in various disciplines, including medicine.
Iowa Teacher Honored. Max Whitlock, a former student at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton,was recently chosen Iowa's Rural Teacher for 1961, according to a news item in the Cedar Valley (Iowa) TIMES. Whitlock has been a teacher of instrumental music in the elementary and high schools of his community for the past seven years. His teaching career began sixteen years ago following graduation from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. He has also taken graduate work in the music field at Drake University In Des Moines.
Whitlock was nominated for the annual award, sponsored by a farm magazine, by the "Music Boosters" club of Jewell, Iowa, and supported by letters from students both present and past, his coworkers and community leaders.The award was established to give recognition to outstanding work by teachers in the rural areas of the state. Whitlock received a U.S. savings bond, and both he and his school were presented with special plaques, the newspaper reported.
Guide to Sheltered Work programs . "Operational Techniques for Sheltered Work Programs — a Guide for Planning and Management," is the title of a two-part article by Miss N. P. Smith published in the August and September (1961) issue of REHABILITATION LITERATURE, journal of the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults, Inc., 2023 W. Ogden Ave., Chicago 12, Illinois. Single copies of the issue are available without charge from the publisher.
"For our purpose," Miss Smith writes, " sheltered work program will be assumed to mean a voluntary organization conducted not for profit but to provide a rehabilitation service for the physically, psychologically, or socially handicapped person by employing him in the manufacture of salable products." Her article covers such phases of management as contract procurement, organizing the physical plant, production control, constructive supervision, setting up the job, and meeting contract commitments.
New L.A. Information Center for Blind. A new Information Center for the Blind opened in Los Angeles in mid-November under sponsorship of the Junior League of that city. Located at Gate 12, Farmer's Market, 6333 West Third Street, the Los Angeles center is designed to "record, refer, disseminate information about community services; health and welfare; recreation; educational programs, residences; volunteer opportunities, general information." Services of the center are said to be available to blind persons by telephone (Webster 1-4400) or by mail.
Describing the background of the new project, a Junior League pamphlet states that trained volunteer workers with the organization have participated since 1934 in the following activities: "offering courses of instruction in Braille; maintaining a corps of transcribers doing hand-embossed material, both for schools and individuals; operating a motor corps; providing a recreational program for blind veterans; supporting a craft group working both with state teachers for the blind and with integrated public schools. Members of this group of volunteers established and operated for five years the Los Angeles unit of Recording for the Blind, Inc., and they continue to offer a recording service."
Wes Osborne Heads Parliamentarians . Wes Osborne, well-known blind federationist of Washington State, was the subject of a recent feature article in the TACOMA NEWS-TRIBUNE in recognition of his latest achievement.Excerpts from the article follow:
"Wesley Osborne is totally blind. But he's not in the dark when it comes to motions, amendments, amendments to the amendments, and parliamentary procedure in general. The 60-year-old Osborne took over the president's gavel, [last summer] for Tacoma's Blanche Wilkinson Unit of the National Association of Parliamentarians.
In fact, so far as he knows, he's the first president of a parliamentary unit who is blind. Osborne doesn't think he'll have much trouble conducting meetings. 'After all,' he said, 'the secretary can see, and she can recognize everyone. It's the thinking, not the seeing, that mostly counts.' . . .
"Osborne, who wears green-tinted glasses, mastered Roberts Rules of Order in Braille -- a job involving 500 double-sided pages in three volumes. . . .
"Legally blind since 1937 and totally blind since 1957, Osborne started studying parliamentary procedure in 1955 under A. L. Struthers, a Tacoma registered parliamentarian, Struthers conducted a class for 11 blind persons. . .
"Osborne has been state chairman of legislation for the blind since 1957. And he credits much of the success he's had as lobbyist to his knowledge of parliamentary procedure. 'It helps you understand what the legislature is doing . . . and when to amend a bill you don't like if you can't stop it from getting out on the floor.'
"He credited the 1961 [state] legislature, by the way, with enacting all the legislation the blind requested. Osborne made 52 trips to Olympia while the last legislature was in session."
Glaucoma Detection Program. A concerted statewide educational program to enable early detection of glaucoma has been underway in New Jersey Medical Society and the State Commission for the Blind. Clinics making available free public eye examinations during the last week of September are presented annually in conjunction with National Sight Conservation Month under the State Commission's Glaucoma Detection Program -- reportedly the first to be established in the United States. During past years between 4,000 and 5,000 persons annually have taken advantage of the eye health screening tests, according to a report in AGING, a publication of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The report states that approximately 300 persons are referred each year, following eye examinations, to the New Jersey Commission's Eye Health Service, which has a staff of public health nurses and a traveling eye examination unit among its year-round services.
New Data on Cataract and Glaucoma, "Cataract and Glaucoma — Hope through Research" ( Public Health Service Publication No. 793) is an illustrated pamphlet which describes the differences between cataract and glaucoma, presents factual data and research material about each, and specifies "where you can find help." The publication has been prepared by the National Institute of Health's subordinate National Institute of Neurological diseases and Blindness, and is obtainable free in single copies from the Office of Information at NINDH, NIH, Bethesda 14. Maryland. Copies are also available at $.15 apiece from the Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25, D.C.
Leaders in Work for Blind Meet. The National Association of Instructors of the Blind was host recently to a meeting of leaders in work for the blind to deal with problems arising from the unmet educational needs of blind children. Present were representatives of the National Federation of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, American Association of Workers for the Blind, National Rehabilitation Association, American Printing House for the Blind, and Council for Exceptional Children. The representatives voted as a group to recommend to their respective organizations support for general federal assistance for training teachers of physically impaired children and assistance to the states in improving educational offerings for handicapped children. The group also voted to request the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to make a study of alternatives to replace the present per-capita method of distributing educational materials to the blind.
In Their Own Image. The following thoughtful item is reprinted from the November, 1961, issue of THE PALMETTO AURORAN, Voice of South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind, Inc.:
"Included in Webster's definition of 'image' are the following: A conception, idea, symbol, representation. There are all types of images. We hear much about the image of America abroad. While the American image is of vital concern to all of us, we are similarly concerned with the image of blindness. Those of us who are blind know firsthand the misconceptions held by so many of Mr. and Mrs. U.S.A. We know the embarrassment of being literally lifted onto a bus rather than being merely assisted. We know the irritation of our escort being asked whether or not we will have sugar and cream in our coffee, as if we didn't know how we like our own coffee. We know firsthand the unrealistic misconception that blind people are gifted in mysterious ways - whereas in fact the blind are only a cross-section of the population, varying as do the sighted with respect to capabilities. We know first-hand the absolute frustration brought about by the feeling of so many employers that blind people should have custodial care but must not be expected to compete for employment with the sighted. A classic example of a local misconception here in Columbia is the frequent reference to the association of the blind as the home for the blind, despite the efforts of its leaders to clarify this many times in the past. ...
"When we stop and analyze the true image of blindness we cannot help feeling that the blind themselves are not blameless. Many of us cater to solicitude. Some of us do not quickly enough reject the misconception that we are gifted in mysterious ways such as having photographic memories, rather than explaining that we are average individuals without physical sight. Too many blind persons do not take individual initiative in seeking employment by making direct contact themselves with prospective employers, We all know that it is unfortunate and unfair that the sighted public too often judges all the blind by the conduct, attitude and appearance of perhaps one blind individual. We, of course, refer to this as generalizing rather than individualizing, but more important we believe is for us to strive to display the conduct, the attitude, and the appearance that will speak well for all the blind. . . .
Braille Music Books Revised. A standard Braille music guide and three aids to its study are now available from the American Printing House for the Blind in revised editions (1960). The books are: The Revised International Manual of Braille Music, compiled by Edward W. Jenkins of Perkins Institution, and Lessons in Braille Music, compiled by H. V. Spanner. Prices for the braille editions are $12.00, $1.25 and $5.00 respectively. Inkprint editions are presently available only for the Primer and Music Chart, at $3.00 and $2.00 respectively. Requests should be addressed to the Printing House at 1839 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky.
World-Wide Rehab. A little-known aspect of the manifold services made available under the Federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is the recently developed international research and demonstration program. Projects carried on under this program are financed by "counterpart" funds — that is, currencies of other countries received by the U.S. through the sale of surplus agricultural commodities. The funds provided by the nations purchasing these commodities cannot be spent outside their borders. Among the new rehabilitation facilities made possible by this joint international effort is the Mexican Institute for Rehabilitation opened 18 months ago in Mexico City. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, last year the first two-year training program with prosthetics graduated its first class from the Institute of Rehabilitation of the Sao Paulo University. And in Beirut, Lebanon, the American University has reportedly begun an amputee rehabilitation program designed as the first of several such programs slated for countries in the Middle East.
New Braille Writer Offered. The Royal National Institute for the Blind, in London, announces the development of a new braille writer which is expected to be available for purchase next summer. The machine is said to be of all-metal construction, designed so that the braille dots appear on the upper surface of the paper, enabling the braille to be read as soon as written. There are six keys and a space bar, the latter being placed centrally between keys numbered, from the space bar outward, 1-2-3 on the left and 4-5-6 on the right. The keys and the paper remain stationary when writing and the paper is kept flat, according to the RNIB. The machine, whioh is called the Pyke Brailler, reportedly provides for both interlining and interpointing, the change-over from one system to the other being effected by means of a lever.
The paper is fed from line to line by a system of rollers, thus obviating the need for paper clamps. A safety device is provided to prevent the paper being fed through unless it is correctly aligned, and it also enables the paper to be accurately re-inserted for correcting purposes, the British agency states.
Nevada Blind Sponsor Litterbag Program. The Nevada Highway Patrol, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the State Sheriffs Association are cooperating with the organized blind of Nevada in a unique program of litterbag sales to motorists on the state's highways. Combining safety and esthetic values, the business project was initiated by the Nevada Federation of the Blind last July and has since placed a reported 5,000 litterbags in autos throughout the state, according to Ray Baldwin, chairman of the Federation's campaign. In recognition of official cooperation received, the Nevada blind group recently presented sculptured profile plaques to two state officials of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The bags are sold at hotels, motels, service stations and other business catering to motorists.
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