The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves
Monitor Headquarters 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
Published monthly in braille and distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind, President:Russell Kletzing, 4604 Briarwood Drive, Sacramento, California, 95821
Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
Acting Editor: Jacobus tenBroek
Assistant Editor: Floyd W. Matson
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708
News items and changes of address should be sent to the Editor.
A CASE STUDY OF COMSTAC "PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES"
By Evelyn Weckerly
MEMBERS OF NATIONAL SHELTERED SHOP COUNCIL APPOINTED
FRENCH BLIND CONFIRM I FB MEMBERSHIP
"CROSS OF BLINDNESS" STILL STANDS
By Floyd Matson
MASSACHUSETTS SENATE REJECTS PENALTIES FOR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST BLIND TEACHERS
NEW FRONT IN INSURANCE DISCRIMINATION BATTLE
BLIND MAN FINDS NEWARK FRIENDLY
By Carolyn Zachary
By Manuel Urena
STANDPOINT - THE RED TAPE OF WELFARE
NFB-COMSTAC DIFFERENCES AIRED
PHOTOGRAPHING THE CORNEA
BENNY PARRISH APPEAL DEFEATED
NORTH DAKOTA CONVENTION
By Lorge E. Gotto
By John Jarvis
DISABLED ACCUSE GOODWILL WORKSHOP
By Tessie Jones
TWO SUE FOR CURBS ON RELIEF PROBERS
By Betty James
AN EXPERIMENT IN MOBILITY
EYE SAFETY LAW EXTENDED
FIRST MEETING OF ARCHITECTURAL BARRIERS COMMISSION
EDUCATION OF BLIND CHILDREN IN IOWA
SNACK BAR BILL LOSES
THE NEW BLIND
LET'S AGITATE FOR A FIXED GRANT
By Mike Sofka
EXPERIENCES OF A BLIND TEACHER IN THE FIELD OF ADULT EDUCATION
By Dr. Herbert Knorr
RESOLUTION ON REHABILITATION OF THE DISABLED
DEAF-BLIND -- WHAT HOPE FOR THEM?
Letter from a Reader
GUARANTEED INCOME MAINTENANCE
By Helen O. Nichol
ITALIAN BLIND LEADER DIES
HEW AIDS TEACHING HANDICAPPED
NIAGARA AIDE THREATENS JAIL FOR CLIENTS WHO REFUSE TO ACCEPT EMPLOYMENT
By Ralph Blumenthal
ROYAL LONDON SOCIETY
ANOTHER FORM OF BANK CHECKS FOR BLIND
WORLD WIDE LITERARY CONTEST FOR BLIND
A striking -- and shocking -- example of the "COMSTAC style" in the administration of services to the blind at the local level may be seen in a recent confrontation of the organized blind of Seattle, Washington, with a newly formed community agency professing to reflect COMSTAC policies. The incident, involving the White Cane Association of King County and the Community Services for the Blind (CSB) represents an ominous preview of future events when and if COMSTAC standards and
methods become activated across the nation.
The episode began with a letter on March 31 from Charles E. Brown, newly designated executive director of the Seattle CSB, to Tom Gronning, president of the White Cane Association, presenting a set of demands upon the blind organization as conditions for continued use of meeting facilities recently placed under the CSB's control.
Specifically, Brown's letter declared: ". . . it is essential that we request that you consult with us before you engage in any fund raising program, or any organized political activity." He stipulated that since his agency bears "considerable responsibility for any individuals or groups that utilize these facilities and services, we are required to ask you to furnish us with a copy of your constitution and bylaws.
"We would also like to have from you, in writing, a list of your elected officers, with the designation of that person who is our direct liaison, and whenever this would change we would like to be informed."
He asserted that his agency "could not condone" any fund-raising or organized political activities by the blind people "which would in any way be contradictory to our principals [ sic] and practices, or which would be, for one reason or another, embarrassing."
The agency director made plain that "we intend wholeheartedly not only to endorse but to encourage in all principals [ sic] and our practice the standards established by the Commission on Standards and Accreditation of Services for the Blind." Brown, holder of a Master's degree in social work from Wayne State University, was for eight years a western regional consultant (with headquarters in New York) for the American Foundation for the Blind, the organization which was primarily influential in the creation of COMSTAC.
The tone and content of Brown's correspondence were sharply rebuked by Gronning in an answering letter March 31, which rejected the state demands as "paternalism of the most exaggerated and obnoxious kind." He staunchly defended the political and constitutional rights of blind persons as citizens.
The incident casts light on the meaning of "professionalism" and "objectivity" as these terms are frequently used with reference to the COMSTAC style. While Brown's professional credentials are patently impressive, the extent of his objectivity toward blind persons and organizations may be judged from the final paragraphs of his letter.
The exchange of letters is presented in full below.
Community Services for the Blind 203 Seneca Street Seattle, Washington 9 6101
March 21, 1966
Mr. Thomas Gronning, President, White Cane Association of King County 5126 - 20th South Seattle, Washington
Dear Mr. Gronning:
This is to again express my appreciation for your coming to this office to talk to Mr. Hale and myself on Monday, March 28. We are both appreciative of this, and hope that it is the beginning of many such discussions, to our mutual benefit.
As you are already aware, one year ago the Community Services for the Blind came into existence, at the request of the United Good Neighbor Fund, and as the amalgamation of several smaller and preexisting programs. Specifically, the United Good Neighbor report stated:
"The purpose of the combined organization should be to aid the social welfare of the blind of Seattle and King County in all of its aspects, including information and referral service, communication, volunteer aid, preschool guidance, recreation and informal education, and social case work".
The elected Board of Trustees and the staff of this organization are committed to meet these functions, and these we shall provide to the best of our ability at all times.
In response to your specific question of the other day, we intend wholeheartedly not only to endorse but to encourage in all principals and our practice the standards established by the Commission on Standards and Accreditation of Services for the Blind. This is so because we believe that this is the only objective methodology by which we can assure our constituency of equitable service. We would assure you, at the same time, that we intend to serve any and all visually handicapped persons, to the best of our ability and in every possible way.
Your particular organization has been a member of our family, physically, for a number of years, and we wish to encourage this. We wish to help you in any way possible, and will continue to do so. However, this does not mean that we endorse any one group of blind persons more than another, and we would reiterate that our constituency is all blind persons of all age groups, and we would need to remind you that your organization only represents a segment of the blind population.
Since we bear considerable responsibility for any individuals or groups that utilize these facilities and services, we are required to ask you to furnish us with a copy of your constitution and bylaws. We would also like to have from you, in writing, a list of your elected officers, with the designation of that person who is our direct liaison, and whenever this would change we would like to be informed. Further, it is essential that we request that you consult with us before you engage in any fund raising program, or any organized political activity. This is solely because we need to be aware of these matters, and also could not condone any such activities which would in any way be contradictory to our principals and practices, or which would be, for one reason or another embarrassing. We believe that this establishment of principals and practice will be helpful to you, as well as to us.
In the interests and welfare of blind persons, it behooves us to work closely together and cooperatively for our common goals. I feel sure that we can continue to work together harmoniously, for our common good. We are looking forward to a long and happy association, and I hope you will let me know of any ways in which we can be of service to your group, as well as to others and all blind persons.
Thank you for your cooperation, your interest and your help.
Very sincerely yours,
Charles E. Brown, Executive Director
King County White Cane Association
May 9, 1966
Charles E. Brown, Executive Director
Community Services for the Blind
208 Seneca Street Seattle, Washington
Dear Mr. Brown:
Thank you for your letter of March 31. As agreed, at the time I was asked to come to your office, the letter was read to the members of the State Board of Trustees at their meeting in Yakima, Washington, April 2. It was made a part of the report on Public Relations and the conditions of the local Chapter affiliated with the Washington State Association of the Blind. It has also been discussed at length by the members of the Executive Board of the King County White Cane Association of the Blind and presented to the regular monthly meeting of the Association for action, April 23.
The membership was heartened by the warm wishes set forth in your letter for continued friendly cooperation on behalf of the blind. They were amazed at the many additional services contemplated by you in your newly acquired post as Executive Director of the Community Services for the Blind. As citizens and taxpayers they were beginning to wonder if our progressive state and municipality have abandoned community services for its citizens.
As you are a newcomer to our City and State, it is reasonable to assume that you have not been adequately informed as to the early history and the present status of our organization. It began some fifty years ago when small groups founded independent societies of the blind. In several of the larger cities in our state, groups of men formed co-op workshops to solve their financial problems. But, the undertaking was predestined to fail because of insufficient capital and lack of modern equipment. Most regrettable was the fact that they lacked an organization for marketing the product. Nevertheless, this was the spark that prevailed when a better financed workshop was established in a modern building and incorporated under the laws of the State. With the generous help of sighted friends it has been successful in its operations through the years.
By the early thirties the blind were becoming frustrated and they realized that in order to be heard when speaking for themselves. they had to organize and maintain their own organization. And this they did. In 1933 they formed the "Washington Protective Association of the Blind. This same year they marched on the State Legislature and obtained passage of the pension bill. This was a Godsend to the old and the unemployable blind that heretofore had to depend on alms from
During the 33 years of its existence it has fostered and supported proposals that ultimately would make for a better and fuller life for the blind.
At the beginning they had no permanent place to meet, but the downtown churches and halls were friendly and gladly granted them facilities for their meetings. With the help of the Light House and their sighted friends the Seattle Social Center for the Blind was established, and this then became the meeting place of the Association of the Blind.
Through the years our organization has been meeting at this Center, now occupied by the Chapter for the Blind. There has been a marked change for the use of the Center, as set forth in your letter of March 31, It seems to us that these requirements are unfriendly, unwarranted and unconstitutional. While reading the standards under which you are operating we find and feel the Community Center is for organizations for the blind and of the blind, and this would certainly include our organization as well as its members.
The requirements to file a copy of our constitution and bylaws with your office is something unusual. Furthermore, our organization is governed by the laws of the State Association of the Blind and the policies of the N.F.B. If there is any doubt in your mind as to the character of our organization and its official standing, you may obtain a copy of our Articles of Incorporation and subsequent amendments from the Secretary of State. By filing copies of our bylaws with the Internal Revenue Department we have qualified for a non-profit, tax exempt charitable status.
We are stunned by the requirements set forth in your letter and by the attitudes on which they are based. "Since we bear considerable responsibility for any individuals or groups that utilize these facilities and services", the mere utilization of your facilities by holding a meeting in them, as we see it, does not confer on you any rights or responsibilities with respect to the blind that you do not otherwise have. It is paternalism of a most exaggerated and obnoxious kind to make the claim you do. This becomes even worse when you reveal in the following sentence precisely what you have in mind by "responsibilities": clearing with you before we "engage in any fund raising programs, or any organized political activity." In effect you are saying to us if we meet in your premises we must surrender to you our political freedom and our independence as citizens. This we cannot do and we will not do. Whatever may be the demands of paternalistic social agencies, we shall maintain and exercise our God-given and our constitutional rights to engage in whatever political activity we please so long as it be within the laws of the State and Nation. We shall equally maintain and exercise our right to engage in public fund raising campaigns. You talk about what you insist upon. This is what we insist upon. We insist upon it, moreover, whether you "condone" our actions and activities or not, whether our actions and activities are "contradictory" to your "principals and practices", whether they are "embarrassing" to you for one reason or for ten.
In view of the above, the King County White Cane Association voted to ask you to reconsider and re-evaluate these objectionable requirements. This would be the only way to maintain our friendly relationship and cooperation.
We would appreciate your answer in the immediate future.
KING COUNTY WHITE CANE ASSOCIATION
LaDyne Sage, Secretary
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By Evelyn Weckerly
The spring convention of the Michigan Council of the Blind was held in Battle Creek, May 14-15. Although the attendance was not large, it was enthusiastic.
The emphasis of the program itself was on legislation. A legislative committee meeting was held Saturday morning.
The first formal session began at 1:30. In his address of welcome, the mayor of Battle Creek mentioned that there had been a proposal to place the city's blind property owners on state equalized evaluation instead of assessed evaluation, thus doubling their taxes. This measure had been tabled, but no decision had been made. John Nagle delivered the keynote address, which dealt with areas of inquiry for possible state legislative action. Because of Michigan's stringent aid to the blind laws, only ten percent of the blind population is receiving aid, as against the national average of 25 percent. During the year ending June 30, 1965, 114 blind were rehabilitated, 2.6 percent of the total number of disabled people rehabilitated. Ohio had 236 blind rehabilitated, 8 percent.
Dr. Edward A. Fitting, supervisor of Michigan Division of Services for the Blind said that the rehabilitation figures for fiscal 1965 were achieved on a budget set before he took his present position; that the budget for 1966 should be almost triple that of 1965; that after July fourth, his staff would be almost triple that of two years ago. When the question of doing away with "economic need" was raised, he seemed to feel that, because it affected only ten percent of blind clients, it was not especially important. Although he personally indicated his approval, he expressed concern for having the same standards as general rehabilitation. He did seem to think that the "needs" test for rehabilitation would be eliminated.
At the banquet State Representative Harry De Maso spoke briefly and offered his assistance to the organization and to individuals within it. A charter was presented to a second chapter in Detroit, designated as the East Side Detroit Chapter. The major address, given by John Nagle, reminded the organization of its purposes and the ways in which those who are against the organization would attack it.
Sunday's session began with a brief devotional service and a breakfast. Afterward John presented a report on Federal legislation which ended with a resolution, condemning the General Services Administration for its ruling against the Iowa Commission for the Blind's application for snackbars in the new federal building in Des Moines. Considerable time was spent on the problems of organization of a white cane drive.
Two other resolutions were adopted. One urges the Division of Services for the Blind to drop "economic need" in rehabilitation services. The other affirms the Council's support of the newly organized Amalgamated Legislative Committee of the Blind and pledges its financial support.
An amendment was passed placing the organization on an annual convention basis. Mary Louise Gooder, the president, was named delegate to the NFB convention; Evelyn Weckerly was named first alternate; and Dorothy Eagle, second alternate. Pontiac was selected as the fall convention site, and Dorothy Eagle, president of the Pontiac chapter, was named program chairman.
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(An HEW Release)
The appointment of a National Policy and Performance Council to aid in improving the nation's workshops and rehabilitation facilities for the physically and mentally handicapped was announced today by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, John W. Gardner.
The Council will set standards and make recommendations which will guide the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration in channelling a variety of new forms of Federal grants and other support to workshops and rehabilitation facilities. Many such facilities lack the resources to furnish the quality and variety of services required.
Appointments to the Council were made by Secretary Gardner under Public Law 89-333 which authorized the Council in one of the 1965 Amendments to the Vocational Rehabilitation Act.
The Council will consult with and make its recommendations to the Commissioner of Vocational Rehabilitation, Miss Mary E. Switzer.
The Council will also make recommendations on workshop improvements relating to promoting greater use, staffing, services, physical facilities, and equipment.
Sheltered workshops, which are among several types of facilities used in rehabilitation work, provide disabled persons with work evaluation, training in job habits, occupational skills, and remunerative employment for severely handicapped persons who cannot be readily absorbed in the competitive labor force.
Chairman of the National Policy and Performance Council will be John W. Christensen of Evanston, Illinois, National Merchandising Manager of Montgomery Ward & Company. Mr. Christensen is Chairman of the Greater Chicago Committee on Rehabilitation of the Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago.
Members of the National Policy and Performance Council Are: Lawrence W. Binger. St. Paul, Minnesota, Personnel Director, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company and Chairman of the Minnesota Governor's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped. George L. Brown, Denver, Colorado, State Senator and Journalist. Victor Bussie, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, President, Louisiana, AFL-CIO, former member of the Governor's Parole Rehabilitation Committee and the Southwest Manpower Committee, U.S. Department of Labor. Milton Cohen, East Meadow, Long Island, New York, Executive Director, Federation for the Handicapped, Inc, Robert C. Goodpasture, North Caldwell, New Jersey, Managing Director, National Industries for the Blind, John C. Harmen, Jr., Annandale, Virginia, Director, Special Services and Legal Counsel, Goodwill Industries of America, Inc. Andrew Marrin, Sacramento, California, Chief Deputy Director, California State Department of Rehabilitation. Nathan Nolan, Warm Springs , Georgia, Administrator, Georgia Rehabilitation Center. Trevor G. Smith, Lincoln, Nebraska, Insurance Executive; Vice-chairman, National Junior Chamber of Commerce Project on Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Lawrence T. Smedley, Rockville , Maryland, Assistant Director, AFL-CIO, Department of Social Security. Mrs. Jerre Williams, Austin, Texas, a prominent civic leader
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A recent communication from Andrew Nicolle, Secretary General of the Amitie des Aveugles de France to Professor tenBroek as President of the IFB, confirmed the tentative affiliation of the French blind made at the charter meetings of the IFB in New York. The action was taken at a convention of Amitie des Aveugles de France held in Limoges, May 7-9. In his letter M. Nicolle writes:
Mr. dear Jacobus:
I am happy to inform you that the General Assembly of Friends of the Blind of France which met in Limoges on May 8th, has decided unanimously to unite our federation with the International Federation of the Blind.
I hope that this will open a fruitful and positive era between our two organizations for the greatest good for the blind of our two countries, and the world in general.
Hoping to have the pleasure of hearing from you, and with my kindest regards to Mrs. tenBroek, believe me dear Jacobus,
At the Limoges meeting, attended by 22 affiliate and four associated groups, the French blind dealt with such familiar subjects as "Towards a new compensation law," "The situation in the workshops,""The obligation of employing handicapped workers." The action of the French blind with respect to the IFB followed a talk by President Francois Gerber on "The International Cooperation of Blind Groups."
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By Floyd Matson
A national convention speech delivered by Dr. Jacobus tenBroek nine years ago -- "The Cross of Blindness"-- continues to be cited as a model of argument and public address in college textbooks on the subject. Originally delivered at the banquet of the National Federation's New Orleans convention in 1957, the speech was subsequently published in VITAL SPEECHES (September 15, 1957), and again reprinted in a textbook anthology of contemporary essays edited by Professor Mark Schorer.
More recently "The Cross of Blindness" has been quoted and extensively praised by the authors of an authoritative text on public speaking -- along with the speeches of such statesmen as Churchill and Roosevelt -- for the "logical and emotional force" of its presentation. The book is The Speaker and His Audience, by Professors Martin P. Andersen, Wesley Lewis and James Murray, published by Harper and Row, New York City (1964).
The pertinent paragraphs of the text follow:
"The judicious use of repetition of words, phrases or sentences, and the restatement of ideas is as useful in gaining emphasis as it is in aiding coherence. Look back at the Churchill and Roosevelt quotations on pages 280 and 281 for evidence of this. The following excerpt comes from a speech given at the 1957 convention of the National Federation of the Blind in New Orleans by its president. Jacobus tenBroek, Professor of Speech at the University of California. Following the excerpt quoted the speaker continues in the same vein, giving thirteen examples of discrimination against an individual 'on the ground that he was blind.' The mass of evidence presented, the climactic development in each instance cited, the use of parallel clauses, and periodic sentences give the entire speech both logical and emotional force:
"'A blind man was rejected as a donor by the blood bank in his city -- not on the ground that his blood was not red -- not on the ground that his blood was watery, defective in corpuscles or diseased; not on the ground that he would be physically harmed by the loss of the blood -- but on the ground that he was blind.
"'A blind man (in this case a successful lawyer with an established reputation in his community) was denied the rental of a safety deposit box by his bank -- not on the ground that he was a well-known bank robber, not on the ground that he had nothing to put in it; not on the ground that he couldn't pay the rental price -- but on the ground that he was blind.
"'A blind high school student who was a duly qualified candidate for student body president was removed from the list of candidates by authority of the principal and faculty of the school -- not on the ground that he was an outside infiltrator from some other school; not on the ground that he was on probation; not on the ground that he was not loyal to the principles of the United States Constitution -- but on the ground that he was blind.'"
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(From Listen, Vol. XVII, No. 6, April, 1966)
A bill which would impose penalties on Massachusetts state college or university officials who discriminate against blind persons in making appointments to their faculties was defeated in the Senate this month after earlier approval by the House. The proposed legislation, calling for a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment of not more than a year, had been filed in the House by Representative Gregory B. Kachadoorian of Arlington who is blind. The Senate rejected the House-passed bill by a six to two standing vote following a statement of opinion by one member of the legislative body that the proposed penalties were "too severe".
A chief proponent and sponsor of the measure is a legally blind attorney and former college professor, H. Noyes Macomber of Uxbridge, who a year ago failed in an attempt through the courts to win reappointment to the faculty of Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester. Macomber, who claims that he was dismissed from the staff of the state-supported college because of his visual handicap, filed suit last April against the president and other officials of the college on grounds of
discriminatory action. He had been an instructor in psychology and business Islvj at Quinsigamond for two years at the time of the dismissal.
In a letter published in the Worcester Gazette this month, Macomber, who testified before a legislative committee on behalf of the Khachadoorian measure, explains that the bill was designed "to provide teeth" for a law enacted in 1965 concerning discrimination against blind persons seeking teaching positions in universities and
colleges of the Commonwealth.
The law. Chapter 132 of the Acts of 1965, provides that "The appointing authority of the University of Massachusetts or of any college or other institution of higher learning of the Commonwealth shall not refuse to elect and contract with a candidate for a teaching position in said university or in any such college or institution because of the blindness of such candidate."
In his opinion, the Uxbridge attorney says, the fact that the law was passed proves that the Governor and the Legislature recognized that discrimination exists. However, he believes the recently proposed measure. House Bill Z898, is necessary in order to strengthen the existing law.
Also testifying for the bill to impose penalties for discrimination was Anthony V. Cirella of Watertown, supervisor of special services at the catholic Guild for All the Blind and organist and choir director at St. Cecelia's church in Boston since 1952. Cirella, who holds a master's degree from the New England Conservatory of Music where he also won his bachelor's degree, told the legislative committee that he had applied for teaching positions at state colleges in Boston, Lowell, and Salem but was told that he was "unqualified for teaching music". An accomplished organist, director and composer, he has had many years of experience in private teaching of piano, organ, voice harmony and Gregorian chant.
In a letter to Listen, Macomber indicated that he intends to continue his support of the discrimination measure and hopes to bring about a reconsideration of House Bill 2898 in the Senate.
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A new front in the struggle of the National Federation of the Blind to eliminate discriminatory practices in the issuance of insurance has been opened in Iowa.
Acting in his combined capacities as First Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind and Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, Kenneth Jernigan has requested Iowa's Commissioner of Insurance to hold that insurance companies discriminating against the blind are in violation of the state's anti-discrimination insurance statute.
The new action, an outgrowth of the recent exchange of letters between Manuel Urena, orientation director for the Iowa Commission (See BRAILLE MONITOR, April 1966), and an insurance company executive in Chicago, is linked more broadly with the over-all struggle of the organized blind against all forms of prejudice and discrimination in the full range of economic and social opportunity.
The present request follows an informal interview between Jernigan and Iowa Insurance Commissioner William E. Timmons.
While it is hoped that this action may be consummated through amicable negotiation, the National Federation is prepared if necessary to carry the struggle for equal treatment in insurance coverage to the courts.
State of Iowa Commission for the Blind Des Moines, Iowa 50309
June 10, 1966
Mr. William E. Timmons
Commissioner of Insurance
State of Iowa State Office Building Local
Dear Mr. Timmons:
Pursuant to our conversation in your office this letter is written to summarize the position of the National Federation of the Blind and of our agency concerning what we regard as discrimination against the blind on the part of some companies in the issuance of insurance coverage. In its essential terms the word "discrimination" means unreasonable and detrimental classification. It implies, of course, prejudice, denial of opportunity, unequal treatment and exclusion from the main channels of economic and social life. But these are results, not causes--results of unreasonable and detrimental classification.
Our contention is that blind people do not die younger than others, do not have more injuries, and do not have a higher accident rate. We base this contention upon our experience with and knowledge of thousands of blind persons. We believe, therefore, that there is no reasonable basis for classifying blind persons as separate from others in the issuance of insurance coverage of any type at standard rates. Based on our experience, we believe that when insurance companies make a separate classification of the blind, they do so because of traditional beliefs and misconceptions instead of evidence and statistics.
As you know, we have it in writing from the vice-president of one large company that this is the case. He says: "We think that as a group blind persons can be more subject to disabilities arising from injuries and further have some restriction at least as to the area of activities for gainful employment. . . you go too far in suggesting
that our position constitutes discrimination . . . we will frankly conceed that we do not have statistics for blind persons, either good or bad. . . now if there were statistics that supported the point that the incidence of disability or accident was no higher among blind persons and we refused to recognize these statistics, we would indeed be guilty of discrimination. . . certainly in the absence of statistics complete enough to be meaningful, this company's management has the right to exercise its judgment in the adoption of underwriting rules."
We contend that this position is unsound--in fact, that it is both illegal and unconstitutional. The central thesis of our argument is that unless concrete evidence is brought forth, blindness should in no way interfere with insurability. As to who bears the burden of proof, it is our contention that the insurance companies have that responsibility since many of them insist upon establishing a relationship between blindness, accidents, and the frequency of disabilities. Deeply rooted in the American heritage is the notion that the individual is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. An analogous doctrine should apply to denial of insurance coverage.
If, for instance, a company should suddenly decide that it would not issue insurance to Iowans, or that it would charge them higher rates than the people of surrounding states because it believed that they might be more accident prone than non-Iowans -- and if it frankly admitted that it had no evidence upon which to base its belief, how soon would it find itself in court for unreasonable and detrimental classification!
Another instance of the sort of problem which we face can be found in the comments of a Blue Cross medical officer here in Des Moines when he wished to charge extra premiums to a blind person and was called to task for discrimination. He said, "blindness is a physical defect. . . as you well know, the causative factors in blindness are many -- trauma, cataracts, glaucoma, optic atrophy, syphilis, and a host of other conditions may result in this condition."
What is one to say to such a statement. Indeed, some blind people are syphilitic. So are some farmers. But one does not, therefore, refuse to sell insurance to farmers at standard rates. Instead, one refuses to sell to syphilitics -- farmers and non-farmers alike. Syphilitics are an identifiable class, and the trait of syphilis has some relationship to the establishment of differing insurance rate classifications -- namely, probability of life expectancy. But there is no evidence that blindness has any such relationship. Therefore, the classification would seem to be unreasonable and detrimental, thus discriminatory.
As an indication of the whimsical and arbitrary nature of insurance practices respecting the blind, some companies charge a blind person extra rates for double indemnity coverage, some write it at standard rates; and some will not write it at all. In view of these facts we are requesting you, as Insurance Commissioner, to take action under the insurance anti-discrimination provision of the Code of Iowa and to require that companies doing business in our state not classify blind persons as separate from others in the issuance of insurance policies without evidence to substantiate the classification. We are also asking that you take this matter up with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and that we be allowed to appear to give testimony before the appropriate committee of that organization.
As I indicated when I came to your office, we feel that this matter would be much better settled by negotiation than in the courts. However, we feel that it must have attention and that a just settlement must be reached, regardless of what the forum must be.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your courtesy and consideration when we were in your office, and especially to thank you for the interest which you showed in bringing this matter to a satisfactory conclusion.
Very truly yours,
Kenneth Jernigan, Director Iowa Commission for the Blind
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(From The New Beacon, Vol. L, No. 588, April, 1966)
April marked the centenary of the birth in the United States of a remarkable woman. She was born on April 14, the daughter of poverty-stricken refugees from the Irish famine who lived in Massachusetts. The first ten years of her childhood were spent in a poor and squalid home, made more wretched by the beatings of an alcoholic father. Her next four years she spent in a poorhouse with her younger, crippled, brother. Here there was no proper provision for children, and she lived in a ward "filled with old women, grotesque, misshapen, diseased and dying", playing with her brother in an adjacent mortuary. She was blind from trachoma until the age of sixteen when two operations partially restored her sight. Meantime she had been admitted to the Perkins Institute for the Blind. The Director of Perkins, Michael Anagnos, in a report of 1887, said of her: "She was obligated to begin her education at the lowest and most elementary point; but she showed from the very start that she had in herself the force and capacity which insure success. . .She has finally reached the goal for which she strove so bravely. . .Miss Sullivan's talents are of the highest order."
The achievement of Anne Sullivan (She married John Macy in 1905 but was subsequently deserted by him) is now being celebrated in a centennial commemoration jointly sponsored by the Perkins School for the Blind and by the New York Industrial Home for the Blind, the aim of which is to tell what her life's work means today to deaf -blind people the world over. Thanks to William Gibson's The Miracle Worker , in both stage and film versions, there are many today who know the story
of how Anne Sullivan, at the age of twenty-one, the product of a childhood of degrading poverty and fear, only recently out of school and with a little sight restored, broke through the barrier of deafness and blindness to the seven-year-old Helen Keller. If she had done no more she would still be remembered. But our whole attitude to those with the double handicap has been changed by her sixty years of service to Helen Keller.
Thanks to her pioneering efforts, techniques of communication have been developed which enable those who are deaf-blind to reach out to their environment: deaf-blind children can now be helped, many can be educated and some can achieve speech; those who become deaf-blind in adult life can be taught to live as useful citizens. Above all, as our own Deaf-Blind Helpers' Leagues has shown, the public can be educated to play their part in making it easier for those with the double handicap to be accepted as part of a community.
But the most fitting person to pay tribute to this outstanding teacher is, of course, Helen Keller herself. She said, in 1962, 26 years after the death of Anne Sullivan: "Once, while in India, I saw a tree, the banyan, which resembles my life. Facing drought and other inclemencies of the weather, it yet finds ways to send out little shoots from its extremities, and they drop into the ground, take root and put on branches, leaves, flowers and fruit like the parent tree. My Teacher's individuality
was like the banyan. Her work for my development seemed to have no root or seed in human experience. Yet, with faith and courage, she created me as a little shoot which she trusted would fall into good soil and shape itself under her watchful eye as a normal human being. This thought thrills me with a fresh sense of the spiritual resources which she exemplified and which have the power to reorganise life in unexpected forms.
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By Carolyn Zachary
(From the Newark-Star-Ledger, May 1966)
Newark is a "friendly town" to Robert S. (Bob) Smith of Springfield, a totally blind former American Airlines executive who returned to work five weeks ago.
Smith, 54, who lost the last remnants of his sight last July, has found the friendliness of "all the people" remarkable. "Just the other day," he recalled, "a bus driver actually stopped his bus, got out and offered to help me cross the street. I couldn't believe it."
Besides bus drivers, Smith said that policemen, pedestrians, the superintendent of his office building at 200 Washington St., elevator operators and countless others have been more than helpful to him and his handsome seeing eye dog, Keene.
Smith, who has been with American Airlines off and on since 1938, at one time was metropolitan manager for the company, with charge of all sales and operations in the New Jersey-New York district. He gave up that post in 1962 after he began to lose his vision, and was manager of American's outer area(territory outside New York City) until July.
Smith has worked out a unique arrangement with his wife, Marjorie, for his new job handling convention bookings. He takes home cards from the American Airlines convention office in New York and she reads the names and addresses of convention delegates into a dictaphone at night.
The following day Smith telephones the airline reservations office for flight schedules to the cities hosting conventions, tapes the schedules and memorizes them. Then, using the dictaphone list, he calls the convention attendees and offers to book them. When he gets an acceptance he writes down the necessary information in Braille and then notifies New York.
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By Manuel Urena
On Friday, June 3, Neil Butler, president of the IAB, called to order the 1966 convention. The sessions were lively and meaningful in content. Friday morning the convention heard from the retiring and newly appointed superintendents of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School at Vinton -- Don L. Walker and Harry Hanson. Roger Sherman of the State Department of Social Welfare described recent changes in Iowa's Aid to the Blind program. The question and answer period brought
out rather interesting results; Iowa thus far is one of those states which has elected to retain the categorical approach to Public Assistance. Careful cross examination of the speaker revealed that the State Department, through administrative measures, is increasingly consolidating the categories and it appears that at least in fact, if not in name. Title XVI will take over. Prior to this time the blind of this state were told that the department would resist the enticing Federal temptations to lump
aid recipients into a general hodge-podge.
On Friday afternoon Kenneth Jernigan chaired a comprehensive report of the activities of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. He outlined new achievements in rehabilitation, including: placement of Iowa's first blind electrical engineer, a graduate of the Orientation Center; the State's first computer programmer; several secretarial placements in government and private industry; a switchboard operator at a PBX board in a private business firm; a blind tool and die maker; and gains in the vending stand program, including locations and operator earnings. Among other installations, blind men are now operating cafeterias in our State House and other State Office buildings.
The Commission's library service is expanding rapidly; material is being transcribed into braille at the rate of 150,000 pages annually. Florence Grannis, the librarian, outlined a new program designed to encourage elementary and pre-school age children to become familiar with the library. With completion of current construction Iowa will have the largest library for the blind in the United States.
Manuel Urena reported to the convention that the Commission Building will be entirely air-conditioned in the foreseeable future, that new furniture has been purchased for the students' rooms and that a graduate of the Orientation Center had taken charge of the programs for the blind in Nevada. In addition, Director Jernigan announced that he had gone to South Carolina to testify in favor of a Commission-type program for the blind of that state and that in December a representative of the
legislature there had visited the Center in Des Moines. The remainder of Friday afternoon was taken up with Federation affairs and to prove that Iowa is indeed a Federation-minded state, it was announced that this year Iowa will be represented in Louisville by more than seventy-five persons.
Saturday morning a panel discussion featured four Iowans employed in different occupations. The convention next heard Ray Halverson, president of the University Association of the Blind, review the activities of that organization, and James Gashel presented a report entitled "A Survey of Iowa's Programs for the Education of Blind Children", (published elsewhere in this issue of the MONITOR). The convention warmly accepted and endorsed this report and decided that a committee should be appointed to see to the implementation of the reports findings and recommendations. The Saturday morning session was capped with the White Cane Week report by Jan Omvig, chairman. She told the convention that this year was the best by far and that the final results exceeded two thousand dollars--a gain in earnings over 300 percent.
Elections were held Saturday afternoon with the following results: President, Neil Butler; First Vice-President, William Klontz; Second Vice-President, Mary Roth; Secretary, Mabel Nading; Treasurer, H.E. "Bud" Stutters; Marshall, Ray Halverson; White Cane Chairman, Jan Omvig; Finance Chairman, John Taylor. The president later reported the following appointments to the Executive Board: Creig Slayton and Manuel Urena. Five delegates and one alternate were chosen to represent Iowa at the 1966 Federation convention. The last item of business was a talk by U.S. Congressman John Schnnidhauser.
The closing convention session on Sunday morning was for the most part devoted to resolutions. Among the several adopted was a resolution to continue underwriting the cost of legal counsel in our efforts to gain equitable treatment from insurance companies.
The highlight of the convention occurred Saturday night when the featured speaker, Kenneth Jernigan, addressed a banquet attended by two hundred people. His speech covered recent discriminatory acts against the blind including insurance problems, and plane and train travel, along with a young blind woman's difficulty in securing clearance for practice teaching. The Artig Award, analogous to the Newel Perry Award on the national level, was presented to Iowa's Governor Harold E. Hughes. The Governor responded with a moving impromptu speech in which he made it clear that he fully understands the implications of Mr. Jernigan' s address and he is in full sympathy with our cause.
Throughout the convention, drawings for prizes were held which heightened interest and increased participation. The 1966 convention will go down as one of the most vigorous and active meetings in the history of the Iowa Association of the Blind.
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(From WBBM-TV, broadcast June 2, 1966)
Public aid is a costly but necessary business in Cook County. It also has been described as mountainous. The mountains are the stacks upon stacks of paper that pile up in the files of every one of the quarter of a million people who are on relief because, for one reason or another, they can't care for themselves.
Lowering the cost, now running at about fifteen million dollars a month in Cook County, is a slow process. But it is being done. The relief rolls are decreasing, even if gradually, as the Welfare Department pursues a highly enlightened policy of training reliefers for jobs. But reducing the size of the mountains of paper seems an insurmountable job. We think that can be done, too, and we would like to see the effort started.
Customers of the Cook County Welfare Department actually get their relief checks from the State at Springfield. To bring this about requires that well over a ton of paper flows from Chicago to Springfield in the form of reports on individual relief recipients.
The reports are the product of a small army of welfare workers who have to report even the slightest change in the status of a public aid recipient.
New York City's welfare director recently came up with a rather startling notion to cut down the paper mountains that plague his department. He suggests putting an end to the practice of investigating every single request for public aid money to see if the applicant needs the money as badly as he claimed.
Instead, he would pay out the money and depend upon a system of spot checks to try to prevent cheating. That's the system the Internal Revenue Service uses to discourage you from cheating on your income tax. We think the notion deserves some serious study.
Right now, caseworkers in the welfare department spend so much time on paper work and unsnarling red tape that they have little time for such more productive chores as trying to arrange for illiterate reliefers to learn to read and write, so they can begin to support themselves.
There undoubtedly would be some cheating if the welfare department's present system of investigating every claim for money were relaxed. There is cheating already. Last year well over fourteen thousand examples were brought to light in which relief clients were trying to get money they were not entitled to.
To those who think giving away tax money to people on relief is a bad idea in any circumstance, the suggestion of giving it away without thorough investigation will be something of a shocker.
But we suggest the idea be given a trial run. The money saved in administrative costs and investigations might v/ell balance out any loss from abuse of the procedure.
In any case, it undoubtedly would free welfare workers to concentrate more on the task of getting people off the relief rolls, rather than spend their time doing nothing but keeping mountainous records of them.
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[Editor's note: A significant exchange of letters occurred early this year between spokesmen for COMSTAC -- the Commission on Standards and Accreditation of Services for the Blind -- and the National Federation of the Blind. The correspondence, involving COMSTAC Chairman Arthur L. Brandon and NFB President Emeritus Jacobus tenBroek, reveals the wide gap between the attitudes and approach of the agency-appointed commission and those of the organized blind. The
exchange of letters is reproduced here in its entirety, without editing or deletions.]
Commission on Standards and Accreditation of Services for the Blind
15 West 16th Street, New York, N.Y.
Lewisburg, Pa. 17837
January 16, 1966
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek
National Federation of the Blind
2652 Shasta Road Berkeley, California 94708
Dear Dr. tenBroek:
Because of absence from Lewisburg I did not have an opportunity until yesterday to read the December issue of THE BRAILLE MONITOR in which you write about the Commission on Standards and Accreditation of Services for the Blind. Thank you for the opportunity you have given for me to read the article and for your letter of December 31, 1965, also relayed to me by Mr. Handel. I regret the delay in writing to you.
Your opinions and comments about the work of the Commission and its committees, the national conference which you attended, or any other phase of the Commission's activity will always be welcome. Indeed, from the outset we have sought widespread opinion and experience, though, as you know, these are so vast and so varied that it is not possible to have all persons share with us. But all will have an opportunity to profit from the studies and recommendations of the Commission if they wish. Your own articles could be an influence to that end. We know that you, like the Commission, your own Federation, and the organizations
you mention in the December article have a common goal, the improvement of services for the blind.
Perhaps you will wish to provide space in the MONITOR for a reply to the articles in some specific way at the conclusion of the series. Or, you might regard it as more objective to submit each article in advance, and include comments from the Commission's point of view immediately following.
In any event we want you to know that we appreciate your willingness to write about the Commission's work, even if you dissent in many ways from the judgments and recommendations of the Commission. Present judgments of the Commission have been reached only after long and thorough study and naturally with some differences. Such differences have never caused us to depart from the main goals, nor to dull our discussion of them, and the ways to reach them.
Arthur L. Brandon, Chairman
National Federation of the Blind
2652 Shasta Road Berkeley, California
January 20, 1966
Mr. Arthur L. Brandon
R.D. 1 College Park
Lewisburg, Pa. 17836
Dear Mr. Brandon:
Your letter of January 16 has just arrived and I am writing you immediately.
The January issue of the BRAILLE MONITOR containing articles on COMSTAC is now published and is in the mails on the way to you. The February issue containing three additional articles on COMSTAC is this week being sent to the printer. The March issue, which will carry further stories on COMSTAC, will go to press about February 20th.
I am herewith enclosing advance copies of the February issue articles. In a few days I shall try to sort out some of the March issue materials and send you the probable COMSTAC stories.
We shall be happy to carry in the March issue replies to or commentaries upon the February stories if you wish to prepare them or have them prepared. At the same time we would be glad, indeed, to publish your commentaries upon the March stories along with the March stories. As far as it can be worked out I shall send you advance copies of stories to appear in other issues and provide you with an opportunity to make a reply in the same issue.
Whether you wish to send us material on this basis or not, I shall be most happy to provide space at the end of the series -- should that end come --in which you may address yourself to the problems discussed or to the articles issued, or to the future plans and prospects of COMSTAC.
I hope you will not regard it as inappropriate or ungracious of me to comment on a couple of arguments made directly or indirectly in your most polite and tolerant letter. The "opinion and experience" you have sought may have been geographically "widespread" but otherwise has been within a narrow range. Indeed, except for a slight bow to the organized blind themselves which has been in the nature of tokenism, the opinion and experience has been almost entirely that of professionals or non-professionals engaged in the general field of charitable work, but particularly that dealing with the blind. There has been a noticeable absence of any deliberate effort to dig out the "opinion and experience" of those people who might have a "widely" different approach, attitude, and background even to the point of
questioning the fundamental bases of the COMSTAC enterprise as to direction, goal, and personnel.
That differences have never caused you "to depart from [your] main goals" should only be treated as a virtue if the differences are of the sort which you should properly disregard. In this case the differences are fundamental. Many of us believe that the standards as currently proposed will be cataclysmic. In that case, the leader who truly wishes to improve services for the blind will not only be caused to depart from the present method of reaching his goals, but will reverse course and labor in another direction.
May I finally say with respect that it would indeed be most ironic if after it is apparently too late to make any difference, we should at long last engage in a significant dialogue on central issues in the pages of the BRAILLE MONITOR. Ironic or not as to the timing, such a dialogue nevertheless might very well be of the highest importance.
February 9, 1966
Dear Dr. tenBroek:
Thank you for your letter of January 20, and for the copies of articles scheduled to appear in the BRAILLE MONITOR in regard to the Commission on Standards and Accreditation of Services for the Blind.
Naturally I am surprised that you find so much to criticize adversely and so little to comment about favorably in view of the judgments reached and expressed by a host of other persons. Nevertheless, you have a right and a responsibility for expressing your opinions. I know that we cannot all agree on many matters, especially on proper standards, but I know we are in agreement on the main purpose: improvement of services for blind persons.
I appreciate your offer to provide space for me or one of my COMSTAC colleagues to reply to the MONITOR articles. With your permission I shall delay a decision. Since other publications are planning articles which at this stage appear to be very favorable to the work of the Commission and its committees it might be just as well not to take up further space in the MONITOR. Repetition or duplication would avail little.
Please permit me one additional comment. Last fall I invited you to present in writing your own point of view or comments in order that these might be before the Commission. This would have been an opportunity for you to have helped the Commission's committees reach conclusions more sympathetic to your own perhaps than is now the case through a series of articles that deal most of the time on negative factors, after the committees' work is done. We expect some negative
reactions; there is and has been in the Commission and the committees. It will be our hope and expectation that your own negative comments will lead to further study and improvements in standards. If these and other articles in the MONITOR and other publications lead to further discussion much can be gained.
Arthur L. Brandon
February 14, 1966
Dear Mr. Brandon:
I am, of course, perfectly agreeable to a delay in your decision whether to answer our BRAILLE MONITOR articles in the BRAILLE MONITOR. I would like to express again, however, my hope that you will do so. Your comment that articles favorable to COMSTAC will appear in other periodicals, of course, doesn't meet this issue . It is easy to congregate with those who agree with us; it's far more important, however, to meet with those who disagree -- to understand their arguments and their point of view if not to answer them.
Your letter, I'm afraid, conveys the impression that you do not fully appreciate the cleavage between the blind and the professionals, so-called, who have drawn up the COMSTAC standards. This is not a mere trivial difference about the formulation or desirability of this standard or that standard. Our position is far more fundamental. Indeed, for a parallel you should look to the Negroes and their Civil Rights Revolution. They will no longer be satisfied to have the whites exclude them and prepare standards of conduct for them. So with us. Our right to participate in the preparation of plans for our own lives and our own futures -- or if you will, in the formulation of standards for our institutions and services -- cannot any longer be casually spurned as if it were an argument about the formulation of a standard
or the punctuation of a sentence. That right is not in any sense complied with by a form request to any of us to submit our views, which the professionals then may or may not pay attention to in their work on our lives.
Should we set aside for a moment the methods by which these standards have been prepared, our criticism is still of a very fundamental nature -- namely that the standards are misconceived and misdirected; that over-all they will not improve our institutions and services but on the contrary will make them worse; that they are not geared to the over-all objective of the social integration and independence of the blind but towards their custodialism and non-participation.
Were I in your position I would pause more than twice to consider whether I should like my name associated with this development carrying such a portent of human disaster. I appeal to you again to pause and consider whether at this eleventh hour something drastic cannot be done to reshape these standards and recast the whole conception.
February 18, 1966
Dear Dr. tenBroek:
Thank you for your letter of February 14.
I am pleased that you are agreeable to a delay in the decision whether to have an article submitted by me to the BRAILLE MONITOR by way of a reply to the present series on the preliminary reports of the Commission on Standards and Accreditation of Services for the Blind.
Literally hundreds of blind persons were consulted, some are on the Commission, others on the committees; and the staff includes blind persons. Many blind persons not professionals, as you call them, have helped in many ways. And their counsel has been valuable indeed.
This still allows for differences of opinion. If the Commission tried to resolve all these there would be no report, and improved services for the blind could be further delayed.
Nevertheless, I shall make your letters available to members of the Commission at the next meeting.
Arthur L. Brandon
February 24, 1966
Dear Mr. Brandon:
Herewith enclosed please find copies of five articles which will appear in the March issue of the BRAILLE MONITOR. At any time you wish to submit a commentary for publication in the MONITOR we will be happy to provide the space.
It is obvious from your letter of February 18 that we do not yet have a meeting of the minds even as to the areas of our difference and the character of the controversy about the COMSTAC standards.
When you say that "Literally hundreds of blind persons were consulted" you can only be using the word "consulted" in a very loose sense. Certainly the blind persons on the Commission, in some agency staffs, and actually represented on the committees played more than a passive role or had an opportunity to do so. Your figure of "hundreds" could only be taken literally if you encompass some of the large meetings at which the standards were somehow discussed. Presumably these would include the Denver Convention of the AAWB. I attended that convention and would regard the term "consulted" as utterly inapplicable to anything that went on there. Drafts of the standards had not been made available in advance; they were not made available at the time; those discussing them continually professed inability to say what they were or to provide justifications for them. My estimate would be that from 90% to 95% of the blind persons who attended those sessions volubly manifested opposition to what was being proposed -- presented in a vague and insubstantial form -- and it is perfectly clear that their feelings have not been reflected in the COMSTAC standards.
Basically the active blind people who support the standards are those in assorted programs and agencies for the blind and those who aspire to be in such programs. Moreover, the vast majority employed in such programs or aspiring to be in them are opposed to the standards though many of them do not feel free openly to express that opposition.
Even more important than all of this, however, is the fact that the organized blind in their organized form were systematically and deliberately excluded from participation in this work at stages and in ways which would have made it possible for them to influence the character of the product. That this has been done will hardly be challenged. That it was deliberately done I can testify from my own knowledge since I was repeatedly told by the staff of the Commission that only professionals were to be consulted.
When you say again in your letter of February 18 that the work of the Commission could not be held up to secure agreement because if that had been done "there would be no report and improved services for the blind could be further delayed," this assumes the very point at issue. Will the COMSTAC standards result in "improved services for the blind"? We are convinced that they will not and that, indeed, they contain the most ominous portent for the future of the blind people
of this country. Nothing would surely be done if one had to wait for complete agreement, but when disagreement prevails, one should at least seek the right course and not the wrong one.
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(From N.Y. Times, April 30, 1966)
Bausch & Lomb, Inc., Rochester, received a patent this week for a photokeratoscope . This is explained as an instrument for photographing the contour of the human cornea so that contact lenses may be fitted.
A series of reflecting rings is placed in front of the eye and illuminated. The reflections appearing on the cornea are photographed.
In the equipment described in Patent 3,248,162, granted to Henry A. Knoll, the reflecting rings are on the inner surface of a cylindrical cage in front of the camera. The light source is also in the cage.
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The controversial case of the blind social worker, Benny Parrish versus the Civil Service Commission of the County of Alameda, California -- instigated more than three years ago when Parrish was fired for refusing to take part in pre-dawn surprise raids upon welfare recipients' homes -- drew another negative judgment May 31 from the California District Court of Appeal.
The three-man court ruled unanimously that the dismissal of the social worker was legally valid and did not violate the U.S. Constitution. Citing the state welfare and institutions code as its guide in the case, the court said in an opinion written by Judge Wakefield Taylor: "Certainly the public finds should not be siphoned off by unauthorized adult males residing in the home regardless of the pleasures this may afford the mothers."
The court said that Parrish was not required to participate in any unconstitutional activity when asked to take part in the raids, because "the order was made in the exercise of the county's duty to determine the continuing eligibility of recipients."
Parrish, who contends the surprise early morning visits were "degrading and presumed the guilt of recipients and violated their rights of privacy," was reported by the OAKLAND TRIBUNE as saying he would appeal the adverse decision to "the highest court in the land if necessary."
The court acknowledged that the case raised a serious constitutional question with respect to the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable home searches and seizures -- but sought to meet this objection by maintaining that the welfare recipients whose homes were inspected in the raids freely and voluntarily consented. The court however did not make clear how these several hundred welfare recipients -- most of them young mothers impoverished, unschooled, and dependent
upon public assistance for their livelihood and that of their children -- could be said to have freely and voluntarily consented in the face of public officials stationed at their front and rear doors.
Nor did the court, in the course of claiming that the unannounced mass raids were a proper method of determining the eligibility of welfare clients, explain why that status could only be determined by a process of investigation involving such gross indignity and harrassment of citizens in their own homes.
The appeals court rejected Parrish's request for a writ of mandamus forcing his reinstatement. Parrish had maintained the raids were not required under his job classification and were inconsistent with his training.
The attorney for Parrish, Albert M. Bendich of Berkeley, was reported as announcing he will file a petition immediately with the state Supreme Court to continue his client's fight for reinstatement to his county job.
Bendich added: "The ruling is an unfortunate one and wrong on the law. In my view the court seems to have ignored the fact that this bed check raid was a dragnet operation in violation of every principle of constitutional dignity, privacy, presumption of innocence and freedom from guilt by association.
"The court completely overlooked the fact that innocent persons, persons known to be innocent and to have no knowledge at all of any violation of the welfare laws, were rousted in this mass raid for no other reasons than they were poor.. The poor together with the rich are entitled to the same constitutional protection and equal treatment under the law."
Another legal argument advanced on Parrish's behalf was derived from the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Griswold v. State of Connecticut, that the Constitution protects the privacy of married couples in their bedrooms. This was summarily dismissed by the appeals court in one sentence: ". . . we cannot agree, in the absence of specific facts relating to married recipients, that the situation here presents a problem involving the penumbral right of privacy and repose upheld in Griswold v. Connecticut."
Parrish was reported to be currently working in the Modesto, California, area on a private grant in connection with the war on poverty.
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By Lorge E. Gotto
An increase in financial aid to blind persons to provide them with income at least equal to the poverty level was advocated at the meeting of the North Dakota Federation of the Blind in Fargo, June 10-12.
The speaker was Perry Sundquist, member of the Executive Committee, NFB, and Chief of the Division for the Blind, California Department of Social Welfare. Aid to the blind averages about $75 a month across the country. The poverty level is considered about $2,000 a year. There are 78 recipients in the state out of a total state blind population of about 900.
The state group adopted unanimously a resolution on behalf of the legislative program of the NFB, urging Congressional adoption of S.561.
Speakers at the convention included A.P. Cole, assistant manager of the U.S. Social Security Office in Fargo, and Merle Kidder of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in Bismarck.
The following officers were elected: L.E. Gotto, president; Dr. R. J. Bjornseth, vice president; Al L. Strong, second vice president. Hold-over officers are Dr. E. Charles Hanson, secretary, and Francis Sears, treasurer.
Clarence Pollach of West Fargo was elected delegate to the 1966 convention of the NFB and Dr. E. Charles Hanson was elected delegate to the NFB's 1967 convention.
Next year the Federated Blind of North Dakota will hold its convention in the fall on October 14 and 15.
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Sir Clutha Nantes MacKenzie
By John Jarvis, Secretary-General of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind
"With the death of Sir Clutha Mackenzie in Auckland, New Zealand, on March 29, at the age of seventy-one, the world has lost one of this century's most distinguished blind men. Son of a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir Thomas Mackenzie, Sir Clutha took his first name from his father's constituency. During the First World War he served in the New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade, and lost his sight in 1915 while in action against Turkish artillery. Thirty-five years later he was to find himself in Turkey again, this time as an adviser on the development of that country's services for the blind.
"After training at St. Dunstan's, Sir Clutha ran the Journal of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and his Tales of a Trooper appeared in 1920. In the same year he was elected to the New Zealand parliament, in which he sat for two years. Then began a period of some forty years' service to his fellow blind. From 1923 to 1938 he directed the New Zealand Institute for the Blind, a national organization which, as the New Zealand Foundation for the Blind, is now second to none in countries of relatively small population, both for its progressive policies and outlook, and for the great measure of public support it enjoys.
"The Second World War provided Sir Clutha with his entry into a remarkable career of international service. He was in India from 1942, directing the St. Dunstan's branch there and conducting a survey of work for blind civilians which culminated in his Blindness in India, a comprehensive report which provided the blueprint for much subsequent development. In 1947 he was co-author with Dr. Flowers, of the Baptist Missionary Society, of a similar report on blindness in China, and also
laid the foundation for work in Malaya on which his son-in-law, Major Ronald Bridges, built.
"While in Asia, Sir Clutha had every reason to deplore the multiplicity of braille codes, and with characteristic drive he tackled them much more effectively than any of his predecessors. UNESCO was asked to investigate the position, and Sir Clutha, who was the obvious man for the key job, worked at UNESCO headquarters in Paris from 1949 for three years.
"I had the honour of presiding, first at meetings of an expert committee, and then at a wider conference, both of which fully endorsed his findings. All countries were urged to develop and maintain their braille systems in as close a relationship with Louis Braille's original code as the widely varying circumstances in each nation would allow, and the great majority of them have since done so. Sir Clutha was the first to realise that, in this continuing process, they would need the assistance of a permanent advisory group of the most experienced international consultants, and before he left UNESCO he had persuaded that body to set up a World Braille Council under its auspices. This was appointed in 1951, and three years later it was transferred to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, of which it is now the Braille Committee. Sir Clutha was its first chairman, a post he occupied for thirteen years, for the last ten of which he was automatically (but none the less deservedly) a member of the World Council's executive. In 1954 UNESCO published his World braille usage, the most complete work of reference on braille ever to have been attempted, and of which a second revised edition would no doubt be in active preparation at present if only someone of equal competence, and with sufficient time to spare, could be found to undertake a task which requires such a mastery of intricate detail. Just as the first edition was coming off the press, Sir Clutha presided in Paris at an international conference on braille music notation, and now only minor adjustments need to be made to ensure uniformity of practice in this specialised field equal to that already achieved in the sphere of literary braille.
"On leaving UNESCO in 1951, Sir Clutha resumed his travels, and Burma, Ceylon, Pakistan, Indonesia, and other countries have every reason to be grateful for his wise advice in the development of their work for the blind. All of them have some eighty per cent of their blind people living in rural areas, and Sir Clutha devoted much time to the elaboration of methods of land cultivation which enabled an increasing number to earn a living from the land. It was in Uganda, however, where he settled in 1953 for some years, that he made his greatest impact in this work, and the rural training centre at Salama is a living memorial to his stay there, none the less remarkable despite the parallel progress which has been made in Nigeria and other Commonwealth countries.
"His work was rewarded by the conferment of a knighthood in 1935 and by election to honorary membership of the World Council in 1964. It can never be fully acknowledged.
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Widespread accusations of corruption, intimidation and inefficiency surrounding the operations of a Goodwill Industries sheltered workshop in Ashtabula, Ohio, have triggered an inquiry into the management and finances of the well-known charitable agency.
The storm broke in late May with the publication by the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER of alleged incidents of abuse and indignities suffered by disabled workers at the hands of shop officials. The May 20 front-page news story was followed by a succession of letters and reports supporting and extending the charges in both the Cleveland newspaper and the Ashtabula STAR-BEACON.
"Charges that handicapped workers were being stripped of their dignity and self-respect in a 'sweatshop-type operation' at Bethel Goodwill Industries of Ashtabula, Inc., were made yesterday," said the PLAIN DEALER in its original account'. "George W. Ferguson, president of the Ashtabula Physically Handicapped Club, told the PLAIN DEALER that opportunity workers in Goodwill's workshop here were being orally abused and threatened with loss of their jobs in attempts to speed up production.
"Ferguson also is a member of the Ashtabula County Community Action Program (CAP) Committee. His club is seeking reforms at Goodwill. His complaints of abuse and low pay for the workers were supported by numerous present and former workers and Goodwill store customers. They are forming a committee for a better Goodwill Industries," the paper reported.
Ferguson, himself confined to a wheel chair, is a member of the Democratic Party's County Central Committee in addition to his various other associations. In correspondence with the BRAILLE MONITOR, he has declared that "like many other handicapped citizens I am not looking for pity or a free handout. We want equal opportunity with fair and just wages, and know we have the right to expect to be treated with dignity and respect at all times regardless of where we are employed."
In a follow-up story on May 21, the PLAIN DEALER quoted a former operations manager of Ashtabula's Goodwill shop as asserting "that mismanagement there led to storage of publicly donated goods for up to five years before they were offered for sale. As a result, much of the used clothing and other articles deteriorated to near worthlessness," according to Ralph C. Wilcox, who contended that the delay in processing and other shortcomings cut into the wages of the sheltered shop's handicapped workers.
"Wilcox, who has a master's degree in business administration, said he was fired in 1962 after pointing out. . . certain practices he said reduced efficiency and sales in the face of rising collections," the PLAIN DEALER reported.
Among the letters published subsequently by the newspapers was one from a wheelchair-bound widow who had worked on and off for the local Goodwill shop for 10 years. Declaring the sheltered industry was reluctant to pay her for mending work accomplished at home, she wrote: "I don't think the Ashtabula Goodwill is concerned or interested in the handicapped. . . .It's been benefiting too many top men first, not much left for the workers to live on. . . .It's time for this Goodwill
to be checked for its morals and treatment of its handicapped employees."
Howard R. Dunlavy, executive director of the Ashtabula workshop, was reported as acknowledging "that some workers had been overly reprimanded and shouted at by what he called overzealous supervisors. 'It is unfortunate that these occurrences had to happen, and especially in the store in front of customers.' he said.
The PLAIN DEALER pointed out that 39 of the 45 workers on the Goodwill payroll in Ashtabula are amputees and victims of polio and other disabling ailments. It was not indicated whether any are blind persons. The remaining six workers are reportedly not disabled.
The sheltered shop employees -- who recondition clothing, furniture and other donated items for sale in Goodwill stores -- were said to be paid "as little as 30 cents an hour for labor that grossed the nonprofit corporation for the benefit of the handicapped $135,855 last year." The workers got 47 percent of the $153,099 total in wages, the newspaper said: "The balance went for expenses, including salaries for administrators and office help. None is handicapped."
Although a major purpose of the Goodwill enterprise is assertedly to provide vocational rehabilitation training for the disabled, Ferguson was quoted as maintaing that "the handicapped who go there with the idea they will be prepared for industry are quickly disillusioned. But they should receive respect there and an honest wage for a day's work."
One source of widespread complaint on the part of workers and customers alike appeared to be the personality and methods of the shop's operations and personnel manager, Robert Gillespie, a 13-year veteran of the Army who admitted he has "a pretty bad temper." He was quoted by one irate customer as defending a supervisor's verbal abuse of a disabled employee on the basis that "these people had to be treated in this manner to keep them in line."
By the end of May a large-scale investigation of the Goodwill shop's practices was being planned by an Ashtabula citizens' committee as well as by a team from national Goodwill headquarters.
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By Tessie Jones
The newly elected president of the Utah Association for the Blind is Merlin Peterson of Ogden. The Utah convention was held in Salt Lake City on May 21, at the Murray B. Allen Center for the Blind. Mrs. William W. (Gladys) Nichol was re-elected treasurer.
Speakers at the gathering included Donald W. Perry, Assistant Administrator, Division of Rehabilitation and State Supervisor, Services for the Visually Handicapped; Orlando Rivers, Coordinator, Division of Rehabilitation; and Darrel Tea of the Man Power Re-Training Program.
The program following the banquet featured a musical narrative of life in the Beehive House, one of the historical landmarks of Salt Lake City by three members of the family of Mormon President Joseph F. Smith.
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By Betty James
(From The Evening Star, Washington D.C., June 3, 1966)
Two mothers on public assistance today asked the U.S. District Court to declare that the District Welfare Department's present methods of investigation violate their constitutional rights.
The women asked the court on behalf of all families on welfare to spell out their rights, and to issue a permanent injunction against investigative searches unless the search is carried out with a valid search warrant, issued on probable cause or the person gives consent and has been specifically advised by the investigator of his or her right to refuse admission.
The suit was filed by the legal arm of the local war on poverty, the Neighborhood Legal Services Project, which is part of the United Planning Organization. The project supplies the lawyers, Hugh G. Duffy and Francis A. Cunning, without cost to the mothers, Patricia A. Smith of 46 Pierce St., NW and Dora M. Crowder of 50O St., NW.
The suit calls for a permanent injunction against terminating, suspending or in any way diminishing an assistance grant because mothers refuse to admit investigators to their homes or otherwise "exercise their rights" under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
The suit believed to be the first ever brought in the nation by welfare recipients against a welfare department in an attempt to establish their rights, and the first court attack by recipients on investigative tactics.
The suit also recalls for relief to redress deprivation of the rights, privileges and immunities secured by the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 9th Amendments.
The plaintiffs ask for "a common relief for the entire class," the hundreds of mothers of needy children who receive aid to families with dependent children. They contend that in connection with the program's administration, the mothers are "threatened with and subjected to, invasion of their rights."
The suit names as defendents:
The Board of Commissioners of the District; the welfare director; the chief of the Public Assistance Division; the head of the Office of Investigations and Collections; and two investigators, Joseph Klugewicz, and Dana Froe.
The suit contends the right to privacy, the right to counsel, the right not to be compelled to give evidence against oneself, the right to be free from unreasonable searches, the right to freedom of association and the right to be free from oppressive, arbitrary and capricious government action all are violated by the investigative
program in the District.
It alleges that on numerous occasions between 1961 and March 14, 1966, Klugewicz and Froe and unknown investigators, "pursuant to practices and procedures established by the defendents and acting without authority of law, without the consent of the plaintiffs, and in the absence of a plaintiff's waiver of any rights secured by the Constitution," did the following:
Entered the plaintiff's premises, conducted unreasonable searches there, interrogated plaintiffs there about participation in criminal activity (possible welfare fraud), conducted interrogation of plaintiffs' guests there, interrogated plaintiffs about their sexual activity, placed their ears against plaintiffs' doors and eavesdropped upon plaintiffs, maintained harassing surveillance of plaintiffs and their premises, and otherwise engaged "in opressive, arbitrary and capricious conduct which denied plaintiffs due process of law."
The suit contends that plaintiffs have never consented to the acts of the defendants, but the defendants have demanded that plaintiffs allow deprivation of their rights "as a condition precedent to continuing receipt of benefits under AFDC." If plaintiffs resist, the suit contends, and assert their rights, "defendants threaten to, and will, terminate plaintiffs' benefits under AFDC."
The plaintiffs submit out of fear, the suit contends.
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(From The New Beacon, Vol. L. No. 588, April, 1966)
Sir. -- "A backward tilt in the stance, rather like a pregnant woman", indeed! J. D. Dawlings asks (February) "How silly can you get?" I would suggest that he has, perhaps, supplied his own answer.
It is evident that he has no experience of competent exponents of the long cane technique, or he would not make such a misleading, deterring, and false comparison. Their prime characteristics are good posture, relaxed bearing and air of confidence --a picture very different from that of the usual blind pedestrian tapping his way along a wall.
To the blind user, the long cane gives certainty that there is indeed ground where he wishes to place his feet, and conveys a great deal of information about the terrain he is traversing. He moves continually into a scanned area, and has a buffer against obstacles. The sense of safety and protection which this gives is worth far more than the satisfaction of J.D. Dawlings' academic speculations about the source of movement and ballet applied to athletics.
Having been trained in the use of the long cane in the USA, and having had experience of various aids to mobility, I can say that the long cane is the best system yet devised for promoting independent mobility. It has proved of tremendous value over the past fifteen years to a large number of blind people of varying ages and states of health. The system also incorporates physical orientation training, a vital aspect to which correspondents do not seem to have referred.
Skilled use of the long cane requires proper training and assiduous practice. D. A. Watson's valid point (January) about the risk of injuring others underlines this requirement.
Birmingham, 31 W. Thornton
Sir.--So many views have been expressed on mobility and the long cane that I hope I may be allowed to air mine. In my opinion, the long cane is only good for firewood and I certainly would not have one for a gift. They can be the cause of accidents. Last June, a totally blind friend of mine who owned a long cane set off from home to work to catch the bus at his street corner. He had got some distance when, using the long cane technique, he thrust his cane out, nearly poking out
the eye of a girl washing a doorstep and injuring her cheek. At the street corner, again, he thrust his cane out and this time it was snapped in half by the wheel of a passing car. He will not have such a cane again,
My stick is just the ordinary size but a little thicker, made for service and not for show. I maintain that any blind person with a sound pair of legs who can speak coherently enough to be understood can get around alone anywhere. It is just a matter of confidence, memory and guts, and I do not feel that blind people would err if they followed my way of getting about alone.
A lot of people hold the stick sloping down the stomach, which is all wrong, and when they bump into someone or something there's usually a scene, entirely the fault of the blind person. Such scenes can be avoided by walking down the centre of the pavement, keeping the balance, holding the cane about half a yard directly in front and gently swaying it from side to side so that it will contact any obstruction, and never lifting it any more than a few inches from the ground. That's my technique, and I can say I have never had the slightest trouble.
Hull B. Sutton
Mr. Sutton seems to be using the long cane technique. His friend clearly was not, though he possibly owes his life to the long cane.
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(From Listen. Vol. XVII, No. 6, April, 1966)
Eye Safety devices must be worn by pupils and teachers in shop and laboratory classes in all schools -- public, private, parochial and college -- in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, according to a new bill signed into law this month by Governor Volpe. The legislation in effect extends the provisions of a 1964 law under which the safety regulations applied to public schools only. Both laws require visitors to the shops and labs also to wear the protective devices.
The bill. House No. 321, was filed by Representative Gregory B. Khachadoorian of Arlington and was sponsored by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Blindness. It specifies that "industrial quality eye protection devices, approved by the department of public safety", must be worn by those in classrooms where such materials as caustic chemicals, hot motlen metals, etc. are used and in which any "dangerous process is taught, exposure to which might have a tendency to cause damage to the eyes".
According to Mrs. John D. Nagle , executive director of the Massachusetts Society, enactment of the law places the Bay State among leaders in the nation in the area of eye safety legislation.
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(An HEW Release)
The new 15-member National Commission on Architectural Barriers appointed by John W. Gardner, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, has begun its task of finding ways to make buildings accessible to disabled persons.
The Commission, authorized by the Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1965, is exploring the extent to which barriers impede access to buildings and what efforts are being made to eliminate them. On the basis of its study, the Commission will recommend to Secretary Gardner further action necessary to remove these barriers by such means as gentle-sloping ramps, ground-level entrances, hand rails, and other devices to help handicapped people enter and use the facilities
The Commission held its first meeting in Washington, D.C., June 10. One of the principal speakers was Wilbur J. Cohen, Under Secretary, Department of HEW. He said the establishment of the Commission reflects recognition that rehabilitation of greatly increased numbers of disabled individuals each year can be accomplished only if buildings are made accessible to at least three groups of handicapped citizens. These are students, working population, and older people who otherwise might be homebound.
The VRA, he said, has supported demonstration projects to develop and promote accessibility specifications under the sponsorship of the American Standards Association and the instigation of Leon Chatelain, Jr. , past president of the American Institute of Architects and chairman of the National Commission on Architectural Barriers; the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped; and the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults.
Miss Switzer also spoke at the first meeting of the Commission. She said that between now and 1970 the Federal Government alone will invest billions of dollars in construction and renovation of buildings designed to accommodate the disabled; that state and local groups are investing additional billions in rebuilding city and town centers, as well as improving schools, hospitals, churches, and shopping centers for the same purpose. Miss Switzer also said that new Federal legislation is being considered to authorize construction of thousands of new community structures accessible to the handicapped, and that 25 states already have passed laws prohibiting architectural barriers.
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The University Association of the Blind is a group of blind students from colleges and universities throughout Iowa. Its members are studying on both the graduate and undergraduate levels, specializing in areas ranging from public speaking to political science, from foreign languages to elementary education. The education backgrounds of these students are as varied as their current studies; while some of them received all of their elementary and secondary education in a public school, others spent the entire period at Iowa's residential school for the blind, and still others experienced both the residential and public schools.
The goal of the University Association of the Blind is to improve the public image of blindness and to increase the opportunities for blind people to become productive members of society. Upon entering college each of the members has been assisted by the positive elements in his social and cultural background and the enlightened methodology and the constructive aspects of the elementary and secondary education which he has received. Each of the members has also been confronted with his own severe limitations in the realms of social adjustment and educational background -- not because of inherited antisocial characteristics or innate, intellectual inability, but because of the previous subjection to an undesirable social and educational environment.
Generally speaking, a lack of preparation for the thoroughfares of the competitive world has compelled these students to make a radical adjustment after high school graduation. Because of their interest in alleviating the necessity for future graduates to make such an adjustment, whether they be entering college or entering a vocation, the University Association has conducted a thorough investigation of the resource programs for blind children in public schools and the program at Iowa's residential school for the blind. The Association feels that the results of the survey warrant immediate attention on the part of all educators of blind children, the blind population of the State, and the public at large .
The planning and execution of this study required the better part of a year. Extensive reading and research were done concerning programs in other states and within Iowa, survey teams visited the resource programs and the residential school. Teachers and administrators were interviewed and classroom observations were made. Resources and materials were examined and conferences were held with students and graduates. The resulting data and conclusions, while not definitive, should point the way to present problems and future improvement.
An increasing number of Iowa's blind children are being educated today in the public schools of their home communities. This is especially true in the urban areas of the State, It is a hopeful and encouraging development which offers much promise for the future. However, in a general survey of the education of blind children in
public schools in Iowa, it has been found that these programs are currently less than adequate in providing the necessary resources for the blind student. Although the administrators of these programs feel that they are meeting their objectives by providing instruction in basic reading and writing, it is manifestly clear that this limited approach needs to be broadened to encompass special needs of the blind such as Braille and mobility. In order for the student to acquire a broader, richer and more meaningful outlook on life, it is necessary that those charged with the responsibility of developing these programs widen their concept of services through the employment of relevant techniques.
With respect to the method of reading, the survey shows that virtually all the resource programs prefer the use of large print material to Braille. The consequences of this emphasis on the use of large print have serious mechanical and philosophical implications. In spite of the fact that children are provided with elaborate equipment
to facilitate reading, they are for the most part unable to read with the same proficiency as those with normal vision. In the long run, this practice will jeopardize their opportunities for vocational success. The philosophical ramifications of this inability to perform in reading are profound: because the child is unable to compete with his peers, he tends to accept unquestioningly his inferiority. This feeling of inferiority will automatically be extended to embrace all facets of life, thus initiating a process of creating the image of a second-class citizen. In addition to the negative impact on the blind student, his consistently poor performance in the classroom cannot help but adversely affect the attitudes of the sighted children toward blindness. This performance can only result in the establishment and re-enforcement of the traditional stereotypes of dependency and incompetence.
In the few cases where Braille is used, the survey indicates a strong preference for the Braillewriter as opposed to the slate and stylus. Rather than de-emphasizing the use of the Brailler, it would seem advisable to encourage the development of skill in both techniques, since the exclusive use of the writer carries with it significant disadvantages, e.g., non-portability, classroom distraction, cost, etc. The use of the Braillewriter bears subtle connotations and problems of integration. Repeatedly, a special location must be provided, separating the blind student from the rest of the class. This separation fosters the idea that blind people are so different that innumerable special arrangements must be made for them. Difficulties of this nature could easily be avoided; with the use of the slate and stylus the student could
occupy a place in the regular desk formation and still complete his work with the rest of the class.
As a rule, blind children in the public schools are provided with the basic textbooks. However, a comprehensive education demands accessibility to material far beyond the minimal requirements. The primary task of a responsible resource program is to explore fully the available sources for these materials and, wherever feasible, to take advantage of them. Anything less than a complete effort to secure all necessary materials is a signficiant shortcoming and inadequacy of the resource program. The study reveals that there is room for considerable improvement in the provision of supplementary materials and services in virtually every resource program in the State.
Mobility training, for all practical purposes, is nonexistent in the resource programs. The students are left to meander casually on their way in a most inadequate manner. This deficiency is not only a danger to the student but an absurdity in this era when the importance of independent travel is universally recognized. The traditional belief that blind people must depend upon sighted guides has been totally repudiated by persons knowledgeable in the field. Modern travel techniques enable blind people -- young and old -- to move about freely and independently. Included in every resource program should be an intensive course in mobility training. In the immediate future, every opportunity to remedy this situation must be fully exploited by those responsible for administering resource programs.
Coordinating activities of the resource teacher with those of the classroom instructor is essential if the blind students' educational needs are to be realized. One of the programs surveyed has achieved a high degree of organization in this regard, and the benefits of this accomplishment are readily discernible in the performance of the students. Unfortunately, this practice is not prevalent in other resource programs throughout the State, resulting in considerable confusion and reducing the overall effectiveness of the program. The principal function of the resource teacher is to secure the necessary services and to provide for the special needs of the students. The primary obligations of the classroom teacher are identical toward blind and sighted students alike. In order to achieve maximum success in the resource program it is imperative that in the near future proper attention be given to a careful delineation of the responsibilities of each teacher.
In terms of providing education to the blind the resource program is a relatively new phenomenon. One of the principal reasons given for the creation of the program is to facilitate the integration of the blind into the general public. Because of the importance attributed to this objective, any meaningful analysis should attempt to determine to what extent the program is fulfilling its end.
For the most part, at this juncture only token integration has been achieved. With few exceptions the rate of integration could be accelerated if imaginative leadership were provided by the resource teachers. The degree to which blind students are socially integrated in the public schools is dependent upon the predilections and attitudes of the resource teachers concerning blindness. The unique position with respect to the individual student enables them to exert a profound influence upon the maturity and social adaptation of their pupils. The fact that blind students in the public schools remain noticeably isolated from other children indicates that resource instructors have failed to exploit fully all opportunities to alter the prevailing stereotyped misconceptions about blindness, or perhaps that they themselves lend
credence to these outworn ideas. In some instances blind students are customarily not permitted to go from class to class during the regular intervals because of congested hallways. Also, there are cases where the students' resource class conflicts with the regular recess period. Undoubtedly these practices are predicated without malevolence; there is every reason to believe that these practices were initiated for the protection and safety of the blind student in the public school. However, overprotection and unwarranted concern for the safety of the blind are the devices by which blind persons have always been made to endure the rigors of social segregation.
In this age of rising expectations and ever-increasing opportunity, the necessity of genuine social integration cannot be overemphasized. The degree to which the blind student is integrated in the school will determine whether or not he will feel socially adequate after graduation. The extent to which this integration is achieved will aid in eliminating the traditional misconceptions concerning blindness which have long manacled the efforts of blind persons to achieve equality and opportunity. Historically, the acceptance of these misconceptions is due, in large measure, to social segregation and isolation of the blind. Due to this limited social interaction, sighted children cannot become familiar with blind students and thus become accustomed only to the age-old stereotypes regarding blindness. Both society and the blind will benefit if steps are taken to promote full-fledged social integration of the blind into the public schools of Iowa.
Iowa's residential school for the blind is located at Vinton and ordinarily has an enrollment of somewhat more than 150 students. It has a large well-arranged campus and an adequate, functional physical plant. In fact, recent construction and remodelling have done much to modernize its facilities.
The residential school for blind children must have as two of its primary goals the general education of its students and their orientation to blindness. Meeting these objectives is essential if the residential school is to be effective. Failure' to do so will inevitably result in drastic curtailment of the students' future possibilities for success. In light of these facts, the Association, with active participation of former students, has closely examined the program to ascertain the extent to which it is achieving its purposes.
Generally speaking the purpose of education on the elementary and secondary levels is to provide students with a background of knowledge in specific subject areas. It is assumed that high school graduates will have taken courses in science, mathematics, social science, English, foreign languages. If blind men and women are to
compete successfully for opportunities in the labor market and to assume an active role in society, it is imperative that their education be equivalent, if not superior, to that of the sighted. Historically, blind people have found it more difficult to obtain productive employment because of the image of blindness in the minds of prospective employers. Perhaps the main contributing factor in producing that image--which inhibits the blind from entering the mainstream of society--is the substandard educational opportunities which they have had. In order for this image to be eradicated and for blind people to achieve success equal to that of the sighted, it is necessary that they be encouraged to strive for excellence throughout the educational process.
Science is an area of education to which today's educators are attaching ever-increasing importance; thus, high school students are expected to understand many modern scientific concepts. The survey indicates that this phase of the curriculum is somewhat inadequate. In many of the science courses the textbooks are out of date, and there appears to be a need for additional laboratory equipment. These shortcomings present a serious problem. The study reveals that this regrettable situation is not the result of budgetary obstacles, but rather is attributable to substandard expectations on the part of those in charge.
Hand in hand with science goes mathematics. The school must be applauded for its use of modern math. However, the edifice is only half complete. There are not enough advanced courses offered to provide the student with the well-rounded mathematical background which the present day high school graduate should possess, if he is to succeed in many of the skilled trades -- or even cope with the ordinary complexities of everyday life, not to mention the requirements of college or university. Specifically, the school does offer trigonometry, analytical geometry, or anything beyond second year algebra. The absence of advanced mathematics courses may reflect the attitudes of the school with regard to the innate capacities of blind people in the realm of mathematics. If such is the case, this position is completely unjustifiable in light of the fact that blind people today are engaged in occupations requiring knowledge in advanced mathematics -- chemistry, physics, computer programming, engineering and related fields.
Similar deficiencies are manifest in English, including literature and composition. Students are not properly encouraged to . develop good reading habits and, therefore, graduates are faced with the arduous task of overcoming this educational gap. With respect to developing the students' ability to write, there is also considerable room for improvement. Evidence for this conclusion may be gleaned from the fact that graduates possessing a high degree of skill in composition are at a premium. Many graduates express concern about the present situation in this sphere; they urge that immediate steps be taken to eliminate this problem.
Although it is said that at least some foreign language will be introduced beginning in the Fall of 1966, to date foreign language instruction is nonexistent at the school. The importance of such study is universally recognized by literally every prominent educator. In many public schools children begin studying foreign languages as early as the fourth grade. Moreover, in this day and age when international travel is occuring with greater frequency, familiarity with languages other than our own is a necessity. Colleges and universities, too, are increasing the requirements in language. For all these reasons, this deplorable condition must be immediately rectified.
The imperfections outlined above can be found to a greater or lesser degree in most phases of education at the school. The inescapable conclusion is that students at the residential school are not required to meet educational standards comparable to those of most public schools. The inadequacies in school policy create significant problems for the graduate, any claim to the contrary notwithstanding. Upon entering competitive society he becomes aware of the deception of his former assumed academic superiority, and he finds it necessary to make up for the shortcomings in his educational training.
Thus far this discussion has dealth with one of the two primary goals of the residential school -- providing the blind student with an adequate education. The second goal must now be considered -- proper orientation of the student to blindness. These two goals are of equal importance -- for if the blind person lacks confidence in his ability to find competitive employment and social acceptance, an adequate education will not bring with it commensurate rewards.
Proper orientation to blindness necessitates the correlation of alternative techniques such as Braille and cane travel with the development of the philosophy that the real problem of blindness is not the physical disability but the handicap -- a handicap imposed by society through its holding of many age-old misbeliefs and misconceptions about the blind. The mastering of these techniques and the understanding of this philosophy enables the blind person to assume a responsible role
in society. The adequacy of this orientation is obviously dependent upon the philosophy toward blindness held by those responsible for the orientation process.
For the most part, the atmosphere throughout the school is not conducive to the creation of progressive attitudes toward blindness. In many subtle ways traditional attitudes concerning the blind are re-enforced. Residential schools, because of their dormitory facilities, have a unique opportunity to develop habits of self-sufficiency in their students. Unfortunately, the present environment falls far short of this worthwhile objective. Instead of instructing the student in alternative techniques, they encourage him to depend upon those with "usable sight" to resolve his problems of daily living. In addition, there is a strong preference to choose individuals with partial sight for the performance of small tasks and activities. The classroom situation is substantially the same. The predominating emphasis is the utilization of large print as opposed to Braille. Superficially, this emphasis need not and should not have negative implications. However, meaningful Braille instruction is given only after all other methods have been tried and have failed -- in other words, as a kind of desperation procedure. This practice is false on two counts: first, it forces the sight-saver to compete at a disadvantage with a fully-sighted individual since, in all likelihood, he will not be able to read with the same rapidity; second, and even more important, this aversion to Braille cannot but result in lending false prestige to the ability to read large print. In the long run, this policy will redound to the disadvantage of all the graduates of the school.
The philosophical foundations of the school's mobility program implicitly embrace the precept of the inferiority of the blind. For the most part students with any degree of residual vision are not encouraged to develop travel skills. It must necessarily follow, therefore, that the student equates his ability to perform competently with his ability to see. Again there is application of the doctrine that alternative techniques are only to be taught in the last extremity. In order to bring about the desired change the mobility program should be expanded to include all those who are legally blind. This comprehensive program should embody not only instruction in the long cane travel technique, but also an approach calculated to eliminate the stigma traditionally attached to a blind person's using a cane.
This examination of the school's program clearly indicates that there is room for substantial improvement in these two specific areas -- academic education and orientation to blindness. The former requires broadening the curriculum and enhancing the content. The latter necessitates a reassessment of the true nature of blindness by those in charge combined with an approach that fosters in the student a belief in the competence and equality of the blind.
The history of mankind is the story of triumph of reason over superstition, of knowledge over belief, of fact over prejudice; and the progress of mankind is but the result of that triumph. In every area of human endeavor advancement has come only with the crumbling of the barriers of ignorance. It has been so with science, with
religion, with industrial technology, and with human relations; and it is still so today. The struggle for enlightenment and justice has been and is the great issue of the age.
Of the many superstitions and misconceptions which have barred the way to progress, perhaps none has been more firmly entrenched or has more stubbornly resisted the light of reason than traditional concepts about blindness. According to ancient and honorable custom, the blind have been considered a group apart, a helpless and
hopeless lot. They have been relegated to positions of social isolation, subjected to legal discriminations, and denied that most fundamental right of all free men, the right to work for their daily bread and to earn their self-respect. In the best Christian tradition they have been entitled to the protection of society but not to participation in it. They have been expected to submit cheerfully, even gratefully, to the patronizing custody of a system which, while giving them charity out of kindness, has robbed them of the opportunity to exercise their individual talents and capacities. They have been thought of not as unemployed but as unemployable.
These are the time honored notions, the traditional concepts, but even the most respectable of fallacies cannot withstand truth forever. The barriers have at last begun to crumble and the blind to emerge from their long subjugation. In the democratic tradition they have organized themselves for united action and now instead of charity they have begun to demand equality -- the right to work and to live as free citizens in a free society -- the right to succeed or fail according to their individual abilities. In the spirit of. cooperation, endeavoring to separate truth from fiction, the University Association has undertaken the task of reviewing educational opportunities for Iowa's blind youth. The University Association, believing that a sound education and an enlightened attitude toward blindness are indispensable ingredients for
achieving full potential and becoming first class citizens, sees the survey findings as demanding immediate action. Major responsibility for securing the vital reforms is the task of every forward-looking citizen.
It is proper and fitting that leadership in bringing about these changes come from the organized blind of the State. Historically, the Iowa Association of the Blind has played a prominent role in the creation of better opportunities for the blind. Ten short years ago the organized blind of Iowa provided the stimulus which lead to the development of a dynamic rehabilitation agency -- a nationally and internationally recognized program. The survey indicates that the climate is proper for a similar effort in the sphere of education. Through diligence, hard work, and enlightened leadership, there is every reason to believe that efforts will meet with equal success in this enterprize.
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(From Newark Evening News, May 3, 1966)
Trenton - The Assembly yesterday defeated a bill to allow the state colleges to operate snack bars and vending machines after opponents charge it would deprive blind people of employment opportunities.
Assemblyman Frederick H, Hauser, D-Hudson, argued that college students already operate the snack bars and that his bill simply would provide that the profits go into the state treasury. The money then would be distributed to the individual colleges to promote student activities, he added.
Hauser said the bill was requested by the State Department of Education. He declared that no blind people would be deprived of employment because they are not now operating the stands and machines
Assemblyman Charles E. Farrington, D-Mercer, said state law provides that blind people be given the opportunity to run snack bars in public buildings and facilities.
Farrington said he was not opposed to "fun money" for college students. But he argued that consideration for the blind should get priority. The bill received 19 votes, 12 away from the necessary majority of 31. Twenty-two assemblymen voted against it.
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By Edward Kaulfuss
(From The New Beacon, Vol. L, No. 588. April, 1966)
A social club for the blind in the early thirties was a rare phenomenon, and a social club run by the blind for the blind was even more unusual. Yet it was in such a club that I first began to come to grips with the problems of blindness both for myself and others. I became aware that the generic word "blind'' had many connotations.
Blindness did not appear so to speak singly -- there was always something else. The skilled worker trying to eke out a miserable living by making baskets or mending chairs; the blind housewife desperately trying to cope with cooking, with children, and an unemployed husband; the spinster trying to keep in with her family by incessant knitting; a blind man and his wife running a corner sweet shop -- every sort and kind of agonising struggle to keep head above water and put on a show of respectability. Then there were the others -- the blind who could not shift for themselves. They were in the majority, as they are today. The middle-aged, the elderly, the sick and the frightened. Mostly they stayed in their own homes. We found that they could scarcely be persuaded to go out once or twice a year, let alone join a
social club. Blindness had paralysed their initiative. There v/ere also the stiff and awkward ones who seemed always walking into danger, in every way ham-handed as they very probably would have been even with sight. We called these unfortunate people "the blind blind".
The social scene has changed somewhat in the past thirty years. The welfare state has proved itself to be considerate and generous. There are more social clubs and handicraft classes; there are clever ideas such as plastic dot braille, long sticks. Talking Books, and radar torches -- but in spite of all these advantages I suspect there
still remains a large heterogeneous group of blind ungettatables , the blind blind. Probably the majority of them went blind after doing a lifetime of useful work. Mounting years and blindness have come upon them as a double tragedy. It is easy for some of us who have been blessed with ability and have managed to make something of our lives to feel somewhat impatient with the blind blind, perhaps even a little superior. "What I can do they ought to be able to do if they really tried.", we think. Of course, this feeling of superiority is entirely misplaced. Family understanding counts a lot in all cases. "For goodness' sake sit down Grandad, you make me feel nervous" is the sort of discouragement that some elderly blind men get when they try to move around. They are well looked after -- fed and clothed, washed and kept warm, but are treated as permanent invalids and become just that. When one day the home visitor arrives and suggests some light activity, some homecraft, the daughter or daughter-in-law sees the possibility of her home being messed up and promptly queers the pitch. "Oh, he can't do that. He'll never manage it. Who's going to clear up after him? Who's going to sort the stuff out when he gets in a tangle? I've got enough on already. . ." and so on. Home visitors all over the country do what they can, but with an uncooperative family background they cannot do much. If they make themselves unpopular by preaching to the relatives they might find themselves refused entry to the house at all.
So much for the perennial problem but I have observed lately with some misgiving another form of blind blindness. It afflicts a much smaller group, in fact a very small part of the blind community, but nevertheless an articulate and influential group. It comprises mainly intelligent young men and women who have been though blind schools and professional training establishments, or perhaps university, and who get reasonable jobs as solicitors, physiotherapists, teachers and secretaries. As a rule they do not mix with the rest of the blind community. They tend to hive off, live what they call a normal life, whatever that may mean. This is not evil or disgraceful in itself, when they begin to pontificate about blindness they show themselves insensitive to the problems of their less well-endowed brethren. Intelligent and capable, they have coped with their own problems, helped of course by a long and expensive training. Mostly these people have been blind since childhood and have been boarders at schools for the blind. Perhaps this is the trouble -- they have been well and truly brain-washed. They have been taught that the one overriding virtue is stoicism, the stiff upper lip. They learn at a very early age to accept with fortitude the bangs and bruises, the disappointments, and frustrations arising from blindness. They laugh off accidents and find the difficulties they and their friends get into uproariously funny. They accept as axiomatic that sighted people are a bit stupid, and are incapable of understanding their condition. This attitude may be all right for the close camaraderie of the classroom, it may be a deliberately fostered defence mechanism, but the danger is that in adult life it leads them to despise anyone who "can't take it". They have been with their own kind so long that they have little conception of or sympathy with the stresses and strains that beset the other ninety-five per cent of blind people. "This is the race you are down for. Make the best of it" -- all very well as a a philosophy for their own group, their way of maintaining their self- esteem, but unfortunately it can develop into a worthier-than-thou attitude. "I can do it. You're just not trying." They avoid discussing blindness as though it were a filthy subject. They discount its disadvantages, often affect to despise sight. "What you never had you never miss and what you've not got you can't lose" may be Spartan, but it is bleak and negative comfort and is not in any case true of the majority of blind people who, having been able to see, are only too well aware of what they are missing.
It so happens that these intelligent and well-endowed people are those the institutes and associations and councils hear about. They are the successes who look well in the annual report. They turn up in newspapers, on TV and on radio as having achieved something or other. But, as I hope I have made clear, though they may be the cream, they are not truly representative of the blind community. Yet since they are most in the public eye, they have a marvellous opportunity of explaining to the
sighted world the needs and problems of the other ninety-five per cent, who don't rate a guide dog or a sonar torch and probably cannot even read braille. But it seems to me that they have opted out of this social duty, and that is why I think of them as the new blind blind -- like those blind cabbage gardeners talk about which throw up plenty of lush growth but never grow a heart.
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228 Jefferson St.
Newark, New Jersey 07105
May 14, 1966
We the organized blind have played the part of legislative lobyists for the agencies who have in most situations been operating at minimum efficiency rather than at medium or maximum potential available under the statutes. We need to plug up the holes so that blind clients are better benefited. With the intertwining statutes already on the books and more such legislation pending, large staffs with fancy titles and salaries are or will be needed just to interpret this mess and less in the form of tangible benefits will be actually available to blind clients. I believe that we are reaching the point of no return and will have to start thinking about the abolition of this useless bureacracy in favor of the flat grant idea and thus giving the blind person a pension with which he can pay for his own unmet needs. Maybe if we start agitating in that direction, the soft job holders might be frightened into making more of an effort in being more useful to blind clients.
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By Dr. Herbert Knorr, Koblenz, Germany
It is quite a surprsie to people who ask me about my profession to find out that I am a teacher. They suppose that I would be a teacher at a school for the blind. But this is not the case. In our country one seldom finds a blind teacher employed by a school for the blind. To be more specific: I have studied philology, received my doctor's degree and have been working for several years in the field of adult education.
Perhaps it seems surprising that I was able to get this far, but the reason for astonishment is a different one from what most people would suppose. It is unusual, but once in a while one succeeds in breaking through the jungle of prejudice and occasional bad experiences with officials and with the public in general. Freedom from prejudice in college deans and directors of schools is just as important as administering of examinations. The willingness to take a certain amount of risk on the part of these people should be duly appreciated.
The blind professional is a triumph of this century! In former years only a few succeeded in breaking through into the academic field, and then only if they were economically independent. It is well known that originally there were only two types of work possible for blind people, that means: either manual labor like caning and repairing of chairs as well as making brooms and brushes, or the more distinguished occupation of the organist. This restriction of professional possibilities meant a severe limitation of chances for economic success as well as frustration when the blind were forced into alien fields, especially when their talents pointed in quite different directions.
The great number of war blind after World War I and II presented totally new problems to the responsible members of society. Now, one was confronted with a group of people from the most diversified cultural and intellectual backgrounds. As a result of this situation, the Marburg Blindenstudienanstalt (Marburg College for the Blind) and the Blindenhochschulbuecherei (College Library for the Blind) came into being in 1916. It now was possible for every capable blind person to take
a degree and to go on to graduate work at a University.
Experience has shown that the study of law opens up quite favorable possibilities, therefore we find numerous blind professionals in the field of law. But it is of extreme importance for the handicapped person to not only work to support himself, but to find personal satisfaction in his work which should compensate for many factors which by necessity are lacking in his life. This is the reason why formerly and also today there are more and more blind students who decide against the study of law. The number of blind theologians is on the increase while the group of blind philologists probably will remain comparatively small. The study of philology is rather difficult since it requires even more reading than in other fields of study. However, we have nowadays a great many aids and devices at hand, so that these difficulties are not insurmountable anymore. It seems to me that a certain ingenuity which we have to exert in mastering these difficulties can only be beneficial for
our later work, since for us the process of learning and proving ourselves does not stop with the examinations.
Today we have more blind philologists than teachers. This does not mean that more blind people are especially suited for this profession. Unfortunately, Germany has not yet a law which favors and protects the employment of blind teachers. Possibilities for this kind of work are limited and positions are open only at private schools and recently in the field of adult education. In some countries, especially in Italy, the State is less prejudiced against the blind teacher. Nevertheless, they have restrictions on subjects allowed to be taught.
It would mean great progress, if in our country the area of Adult Education would be opened up for the blind philologist as a specially suitable field of occupation. For one thing: here the nerve wracking difficulties of discipline are eliminated which otherwise can never be mastered satisfactorily.
On account of my previous experiences I now would like to describe my method of working. At the same time it seems necessary to explain why I prefer teaching adults to any other form of teaching.
No teacher can do without reading. First of all, he has to prepare his subject material for his classes. Through the reading of subject periodicals, he has to keep abreast of the times. The students' papers have to be corrected. In addition to this, the blind teacher has to transcribe at times his material for his classes -- even whole books -- into braille. Only then will he be successful as a teacher.
In some cases, for instance employment by the "Bund" (the government), the employer hires an assistant. But more often, we ourselves have to find the solution to these problems. Frequently, this means a financial sacrifice. However, nowadays the preparation of the teaching subject can be done partly through braille or talking books. Contrary to popular belief, I do my teaching without sighted help. Adult Education classes and groups usually are small in number. It is easy to get the adult student to participate freely in discussion during class. Informal discussion of a subject is more and more replacing the old pattern of the student raising his hand and then being allowed to speak up. The work at the blackboard I leave to reliable students. The alert criticism of the class takes care of any mistake which might be overlooked, Written tests are done under the supervision of a sighted assistant. My explanation "to trust is allright, to supervise is better" usually is readily accepted.
One could mention a lot more about the technical part of preparing for classes, but this would be only of interest for the ones involved in this type of profession. The solution of the technical problems for the blind teacher is in most cases dependent on school and working conditions. It seems more important to me to point out some aspects of the ethical situation. The teaching profession is especially attractive to the blind persons, since for once it gives him a chance to give of himself. We are
allowed to be completely independent in our work; we even have to be independently creative, furthermore the human contact with our students is inevitable. The sighted teacher has the advantage to establish contact with his students through the eye; we, however, have to compensate for this impossibility with greater personal interest in our students. In order to remember the voices of my students, it is important for me to establish a personal relationship outside the classroom and to come to know their personalities better. Since my students have to assist me at times, they early lose the concept of the aloof and unapproachable teacher. All this makes for success in teaching. I would like to go even further: on account of my own situation, I have full understanding for the difficulties of my students, since at times I also have a hard time to cope with an ordinary day at school.
It would be a gross misconception to assume that the blind teacher is better equipped for his work than the sighted one. The only fact I would like to point out, is that the limitations caused by our handicap can be overcome and compensated for. I would like to repeat emphatically what I mentioned at the outset: the blind philologist might have been successful in his exams, he might be very capable in handling the technical difficulties of his situation, but to be successful depends on whether he encounters people who have discarded and overcome in themselves all possible doubts as to his capability.
I am grateful to say that I frequently come in contact with such people. I am hoping that there will be more and more of this kind, so that finally all my blind friends will be able to work infields which correspond to their talents and abilities.
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(Passed by the Social Commission of the United Nations at its sixteenth Session in May 1965 - Sponsored by Austria, Iraq, Malasia, Uganda and the United States of America)
The Social Commission, Recommends that the Economic and Social Council adopt the following resolution:
The Economic and Social Council,
Recalling Economic and Social Council Resolution 309 E (XI) and the resolution adopted by the Social Commission at its eighth session on the rehabilitation of the handicapped.
Noting the progress that has been made in the field of rehabilitation as a result of the activities of the United Nations, the specialized agencies and non-governmental organisations interested in the social, medical and vocational rehabilitation of the disabled.
Noting further, the continuing importance of Recommendation 99 concerning Vocational Rehabilitation of the Disabled adopted by the International Labour Organisation held in 1955.
Welcoming the resolution adopted by the thirteenth session of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in 1964 requesting the Director General to give increased attention to the education of handicapped persons.
1. Calls upon Member States to accord rehabilitation services, especially the training of personnel, an appropriate place in their social programmes and draw attention to the usefulness, particularly in developing countries, of taking full account of possiblities for the establishment and extension of basic services for the disabled as part of their social welfare programmes;
2. Requests the United Nations, the specialised agencies and interested non-governmental organizations to expand their activities, within their priorities and available resources, in the field of rehabilitation in order to contribute to social and economic progress through improved quality, and effectiveness of services to the disabled.
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Letter from a Reader
My dear Doctor:
I have been scanning the pages of the BRAILLE MONITOR, for two years, hoping to find some information concerning the operation of the Anne Sullivan Macy Center for the Deaf-Blind, located in Jamaca [sic], L.I., N.Y. Not a word has appeared in any of our braille magazines relative to what this center is accomplishing. IHB obtained an unspecified amount of government money over two years ago, but there seems to be a cloak of mystery enveloping the whole operation.
An item appeared in an obscure Canadian professional braille magazine some months ago which was a reprint taken from Rehab Bulletin, written by Mr. Louis Bettica, coordinator of the A.S.M. program. I doubt if any other deaf-blind person read it here in the States. So, although the citation of Mr. Robert Smithdas , assistant director of IHB, was emblazoned all over the pages of every braille magazine I have read, and an account of his achievements was carried by many big city and even small town newspapers, I am not speaking disparagingly of Mr. Smithdas' accomplishments. I mention him merely to draw attention to the fact that, while IHB takes full advantage of this publicity for its own glorification, we have seen no press releases describing operations at that center. In the obscure article mentioned above, Mr. Bettica makes some startling claims, viz: deaf-blind people are being "talked" to who have never conversed with anyone before; deaf-blind people are walking the busy streets of Jamaca unattended; changing from bus to subway; 90 deaf-blind people have been taken from 15 states and the District of Columbia, etc.
Such claims are highly questionable. It took Anne Sullivan two years or more to get through to Helen Keller's mind and many more years to educate her, overcome her tantrums, acquaint her with objects and their meaning. What happens to those people after they have completed this "training" Bettica describes? According to his own statement in the article, they will: "be returned to their own communities, equipped to lead a better life."
Too often, trainees are dumped right back into their old environment with no follow-up, among the very same people who have ignored them for years. The sighted people around the deaf-blind person need fully as much tutoring as the deaf-blind person himself. The tendency is to confine him to a corner. Why? Simply because sighted people and most hearing-blind will dodge the ordeal of using any method of artificial communication. There are undoubtedly psychological factors involved that I do not understand. Three out of five sighted or hearing-blind will flatly refuse to use any method to communicate with a deaf-blind person, although there are three such methods that can be used by anyone who can spell words, without previous tutelage; the Tellatouch machine; writing of block letters in the palm of the hand; and the lettered glove. Another tendency is to tell a deaf -blind person: "you can't do it." Set up a road block every time he makes any attempt to help himself. Had I listened to the "Anvil Chorus" I never would have accomplished anything .
What is the prospect for a deaf-blind person to even approach that "normal life" envisioned by Mr. Bettica? He fails to even hint at any employment or recreation for people so cloistered. Neither does he mention sparking the interests of sighted people who reside in the same locality where the deaf-blind are domiciled. No realistic and direct benefits will accrue to deaf-blind people until efforts are made to organize something like a domestic Peace Corps. We constantly read about some single individual or small group and dedicated volunteers who accomplish near-miracles for other categories of handicapped and under-privileged, but, with the exception of an occasional grandiose gesture for publicity purposes, and which brings absolutely no tangible benefits to the adult deaf-blind population, this minority group of severely handicapped adults are practically ignored. Many are being consumed by a dry rot because of their isolation, idleness, and loneliness.
Three "projects" have been undertaken in the past few years, exclusive of the ASM program, that will bring little or no benefits to the deaf-blind adults; the majority of them are age 65 to over 80. First, the Tactaphone. How many hearing-blind or sighted can be induced to learn the wireless code? How many entirely deaf-blind people could master it well enough to read it by touch? Who pays for the instrument, plus a monthly telephone bill, all on the minimum of $75 a month Blind Aid?
Many receive far less than the minimum when they reside with relatives who must provide the balance for their maintenance. Because of the cost and the learning involved, this gadget is only for those deaf-blind able to master the wireless code, and with an income sufficient to augment their Blind Aid. Under the most favorable conditions, only a handful of the deaf-blind stand to derive any benefit from this instrument. Is it worth the expenditure necessary for the privilege of "talking" to one or two who have the patience and ability to learn and use an artificial method of communication? If sighted people and many hearing-blind shy away from using a method of communication that requires no previous learning, what will be the attitude when they are asked to devote their time to learning the wireless code? Another unanswered question is, when a deaf-blind person removes the receiver from the cradle, how can he tell he isn't interrupting the conversation of other people? There are usually 3 or more subscribers on a line. Unless the deaf-blind person has a private line at a much higher monthly cost, he will undoubtedly encounter difficulties, complaints of others on his line who may be interrupted. Finally, this instrument doesn't inform a deaf-blind person when one of his friends who may have learned the
code is calling. He must depend on people who hear to tell him. Such people are not around in nursing homes, homes for the blind, or where a deaf-blind person lives alone as many do. While it is commendable that scientists of the Bell Telephone Co. have tried to bring some benefits to the deaf-blind, unless such difficulties as mentioned above can be overcome, the Tactaphone is only for the elite.
The second "project" undertaken about two years ago was the making of a color film. The "actors" were a handful of the accomplished deaf-blind who demonstrated methods of communication. Of what avail is any method, if one cannot induce others to use it? Some personnel from the agencies participated, but the question that may be asked is, what benefit to the average deaf-blind person resulted from this "project"?
The last "project" to be widely publicized, was the appearance of virtually the same people at the Anne Sullivan Macy anniversary commemoration exercises in Washington D.C. The public who consistently see this same group of accomplished deaf-blind, are given the erroneous impression that all deaf-blind are being magnificently served by organizations. Such a show engenders bigger and better donations to: "help the good work along," while the entire adult deaf-blind population
continue to be as isolated as a convict in a double-security cell at Leavenworth.
Exactly who are these 90 deaf-blind Mr. Bettica said have been taken to ASM Center? Are they the totally deaf-blind? How many are in the category of the visually handicapped deaf, or the hard-of-hearing blind? Those two latter categories should not be classified as deaf- blind. If one has acceptable sight or hearing that enables him to engage in lucrative employment, such as telephone selling, or the one who can read inkprint and travel alone, is far less handicapped than those with total double handicap, many of which have other disabling handicaps as well.
We would like the names and addresses of those 90 "deaf-blind" Mr. Bettica mentions. There are about 150 to 200 deaf-blind listed in the four issues of the magazine for the deaf-blind. Good Cheer. To the best of our knowledge, none of them have been taken to that center or even approached.
The claim that deaf-blind people are traveling about unaided seems ridiculous. Even the handful of highly educated deaf-blind, including Helen Keller, cannot do it. All must have their human guides, and no deaf-blind person will be accepted for training by any guide dog school in the United States. How do these miracle men do what the cream of the crop cannot do? Hearing-blind with a dog, must get information from pedestrians. How does a totally deaf-blind person even know there are people around? Again the question arises, are those people really totally deaf-blind?
At one time, four magazines for the deaf-blind were in circulation: one published by an agency for the blind, the other three supported in part by contributions from that same agency. Who would dare utter a word of criticism in any of them? The deaf-blind have no media to acquaint the public with the needs of the rank and file of our adult deaf-blind. The public do not know they exist, and if this same procedure now being followed is continued, they will still remain in the shadows, their needs unmet.
It has been suggested, but with no confirmation, that the majority of those 90 deaf-blind whom Bettica said were from 15 states and the District of Columbia, may have been people already employed at the IHB shop in Brooklyn. If this is true, it would be interesting to know if, after being "rehabilitated" they were simply returned to their same old jobs. If that were done, where would be the rehabilitation angle?
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A Discussion of Negative Income Tax Plans
Helen O. Nicol
(From Welfare in Review, April 1966, Vol. 4-No. 4)
Theories to alleviate poverty based on a guaranteed minimum income have a long history, but never before have they aroused as much interest as they do today in discussions among economists, public administrators, and social workers. Two approaches currently advanced have been singled out for further intensive exploration as a tool in the war on poverty by the Council of Economic Advisors.' One approach recommended by the Council consists of greatly expanding the scope of public assistance programs in order to "make public assistance coverage more comprehensive and assure all recipients more adequate benefit levels."
Another approach--and the subject of this article--is based on the concept of a maintenance income through the mechanism of the Federal individual income tax
system. Discussion centers on the negative income tax theories of the four most prominent advocates of this approach--Robert J. Lampman, Edward E.Schwartz,
Robert Theobald, and Milton Friedman. They have read these summaries and have agreed to publication.
In its simplest form, the negative in- come tax mechanism involves government cash payments to families and individuals whose incomes fall below the Federal personal income-taxpaying level. The payments to the poor are calculated on the basis of the unused exemptions and deductions to which these nontaxpayers would be entitled if they were actually paying income taxes. In another form, also integrated into the income tax system, the payments are calculated on the basis of the
amount by which a family's or an individual's income falls below an officially determined standard of minimum subsistence.
Either method is equivalent to using the tax system in reverse. The implications of this negative income tax approach are many and far-reaching for both the social and the public finance structure of the Nation. For the poor the effect of such a plan would be a minimum income floor for all, including those families and individuals not now receiving social security or public assistance payments. For the economy, the effect would be a greater redistribution of income--from those contributing to Federal revenues through income and corporation taxes, to those not financially able to contribute--with attendant changes in spending, saving, and investing propensities. For the fiscal and legislative structure, the effect might be to reduce Federal-State grants now given for public assistance programs, while largely shifting that part of the cost of relief payments now borne by State and local governments to the Federal Government. Alternatively, the effect could be to free financial resources of State welfare agencies for expanded social services.
The several income maintenance tax approach theories are based on different philosophical premises. Their proponents differ on the standards to be applied, on the
exact methods to be used, and on the degree to which the proposed schemas should replace other social insurance provided the poor. Lampman2 and Friedman3 are best known for their "negative income tax" plans, Schwartz for his "family security benefit" plan, and Theobald5 for his "basic economic security" plan.
Each of the proponents of the negative income tax approach to income maintenance believes that in certain respects his plan would be an improvement over the
present machinery for aiding the poor. Whatever the particular plan it would at best close the poverty gap by moving the poor above the poverty line; at the least,
it would put a minimum income floor under all the poor, irrespective of their geographic location or jurisdiction. Under all circumstances, they believe it would improve equity in the present tax structure; it would simplify the means test and thus conform more closely to modern concepts of social justice. The proponents also believe that their plans would be relatively simple and efficient to administer, as the negative income tax mechanism would be a part of the income tax mechanism of the Federal Government.
The advocates of this income maintenance approach also believe that it would be economical to operate, as it should reduce costs of current social insurance
and public assistance programs. In its most extreme form, cost reduction would result from abolishing all other social programs directed at special groups, such as OASDI payments, farm price supports, and public housing.
Various objections are being raised to a Federally guaranteed income approach to poverty, and many questions remain unanswered. Some critics point to its possible adverse effects on incentives to the poor to work and on their will to become self-reliant. Others express concern about the political implications of the centralization and control of all social welfare functions in the Federal Government, with attendant increase in Federal power. Still others object to the potentially high cost to
the taxpayer. Of greatest concern to some thoughtful observers are the consequences that such proposals would have for present systems of providing social services, according to need, on a selective basis.
DIMENSIONS OF THE PROBLEM
The Poverty-Income Gap
An estimated 34.1 million people lived in poverty in 1964, according to the Social Security Administration poverty income standard.^ Their total money income was
about $20 billion, of which $12 billion were earnings and property income, about $4 billion social insurance (mainly OASDI) payments, and $4.8 billion Federal, State, and local public assistance payments. The $12 billion difference between the approximately $20 billion they received as income and the estimated $32 billion they should have received in order to rise above poverty is the poverty-income gap. To narrow this gap--and eventually to close it entirely--represents the monetary
problem of the war on poverty. It is on this problem that negative income tax and other guaranteed income maintenance plans focus attention.
Poor Families and the Tax System
Almost by definition, the poor do not pay income taxes because their incomes are usually below taxable levels, But as long as they are unable to pay income taxes, they are also unable to take full advantage of the built-in aid to families in our tax system which permits personal deductions and exemptions for children. The poor,
however, bear a relatively heavy burden of consumption taxes (sales, food, excises, etc.), which are flat rate taxes, as well as property taxes. These taxes take a heavier bite out of a small income than a large income. The working poor may also pay payroll taxes. Our tax system as presently constituted, therefore, discriminates
against the poor because it is considerably regressive at low-income levels.
This will be seen from the following example : The personal exemption plus the minimum standard deduction in the personal Federal income tax for a child (amounting to $700) is equivalent to a subsidy per child ranging from $98 to $490, depending on the taxpayer's income bracket."^ This is, however, of little help to the poor family whose income is below income tax levels. Moreover, the larger the family, the higher the relative burden of consumption taxes it must assume and the greater its relative loss of child subsidies under income taxes. As Lampman points out, a family of four with an annual income of $3,000 is, from the standpoint of the present Federal income tax structure, in the same position as the family of eight with $3,000 income: Neither pays an income tax, but the burden of consumption taxes rests more heavily on the large family.
An important part of the income of the poor (about 40 percent) is from transfer payments. Of the $40 billion spent on public transfer payments in fiscal year 1965, an
estimated $20 billion went to people "who were or would otherwise have been below the poverty income line. These payments helped to raise some three million households out of poverty, but about 12 million units still received insufficient income to meet the minimal living levels now used to define poverty. People who remained poor received about $10 billion of all public transfer payments."
Economists assume that transfer payments encourage the redistribution of income by shifting income from higher to lower income groups, from taxpayers to nontaxpayers, from younger to older workers, and from productive members of the economy to nonproductive. If unused exemptions and deductions were paid out
in the form of a negative tax allowance, this would be equivalent to a positive transfer from the taxpayer to the nontaxpayer, while increasing the latter' s transfer income. Such increased transfer payments should help to counteract the regressivity of the tax system as a whole and thereby improve its equity aspects."
INCOME MAINTENANCE PROPOSALS
Of the several income-maintenance plans currently under discussion, Lampman's is the most comprehensive and explicit. All of his proposals represent tax reform plans. Their relative desirability, according to Lampman, depends on the importance of three not necessarily inconsistent objectives: (1) improving tax equity, (2) narrowing the poverty-income gap, and (3) replacing public assistance as a method of providing income to the poor.
His plans are of two basic types. The first type is mainly designed to improve the equity of the tax system while also increasing the income of the poor. This type
involves the negative-rate income tax method and requires only a moderate change in the tax law. The second type is mainly designed to raise the income of the poor by narrowing the poverty gap, while at the same time improving tax equity. This type involves the poverty-income standard method and will require considerable tax
One plan of the first type and three plans of the second type are presented here. They are fundamentally static models which assume no changes in the earnings
of the poor and no changes in the poverty-income gap over time.
This is Lampman' s simplest and also his lowest-cost model. Families and individuals below the Federal personal income tax paying level would be allowed
to claim 14 percent of their unused exemptions and deductions. The rationale for the 14 percent is that it represents the lowest rate in the present Federal income tax law. The plan would cost about $2 billion a year and would narrow the income gap by about one-sixth. The net cost would be somewhat smaller because of expected
savings on public assistance expenditures, as persons now receiving assistance would be given subsidies in the form of tax allowances.
A drawback to this plan, according to Lampman, is that it would include everybody not currently paying Federal income taxes, and payments might be made to
some people who are not poor in terms of total income (or assets) but only in terms of taxable income. This results from the method used: The tax base is calculated
by subtracting adjusted gross income (taxable income before exemptions and personal deductions) from the total of exemptions and deductions. New constraints
would therefore have to be applied to assure that tax allowances would be paid only to persons who are poor by reference to the official poverty-income standard.
Type II: 50-Percent Plan
This model represents one of several alternative formulations, but is the one which Lampman considers the best compromise. It is not related to exemptions and deductions under tax law but to established minimum needs in relation to income. It involves tax allowances based on a negative tax rate of a flat 50 percent,
which is applied to the family's poverty-income gap. The base of the tax would be calculated by subtracting a family's total income--but excluding public assistance
income--from the poverty-line income for a family of a given size, composition, and urban or rural residence. A family of four, and with no income, would be guaranteed an income of $1,565 annually and an individual with no income an annual income of $729. In other words, the tax allowances would put a minimum- subsistence floor under the poor. Those who earned income would have a higher post-allowance income. For example, a family of four with a $2,000 income would receive a $500 allowance for a total income of $2,500. According to this plan, about 60 percent of the tax allowances would go to families with children, and 40 percent to one and two-person families (including 25 percent to aged persons).
Lampman estimates the cost of this 50-percent model at about $8 billion annually (including public assistance) but, since he believes that public assistance expenditures could be reduced by $3 billion, net costs would be about $5 billion. This would narrow the poverty gap of almost $12 billion by about two-fifths.
Type II: 100-Percent Plan
The question may be asked: Why raise the income of the poor by only 50 percent of the poverty-income gap? Lampman shows that a 100-percent model would,
by definition, close the poverty gap, but its cost would probably be prohibitive. He estimates the cost of such a plan at $24 billion at a minimum--or double the
present income poverty gap--and possibly as high as $30 billion. The actual cost of the 100-percent plan would depend on the number of people whose incentive to work would be reduced, because such a high income-maintenance level would, for millions of persons, be equal to or in excess of their earnings. On the other hand, the tax burden of the 100-percent plan on the taxpayers would be of such magnitude that their incentive to work, save, and invest might be undermined--quite aside from the problem of political feasibility. Any plans, therefore, designed to close the poverty gap completely through a tax-transfer system must be rejected.
Lampman explored several variations of his preferred 50-percent model. These would result in different distributions of benefits among income classes and indifferent costs to the government. Depending on the degree of reliance on public assistance, proportionate costs among Federal, State, and local governments would also vary. Lampman also developed constraints that would assure that tax allowances were paid only to people who were poor in reference to the poverty-income standard.
All of the Lampman Type II plans would partially replace public assistance, with the exception of one variation which, according to him, depends on public assistance to supplement the tax allowances.
Type II: Flat-Rate Plan
According to this model, a flat tax allowance of $750 would be paid to a family up to $1,500 of their original earned income. After their income had reached $1,500, the tax allowance would fall 50 cents for every dollar earned. The allowance would fall to zero when income reached $3,000. This plan would be particularly suitable for the typical families that already had some income, generally the working poor or OASDI recipients. The total cost of this plan would be less than that of the 50-percent plan, and the benefits would go primarily to families in which the head had some income from employment or social insurance. Interestingly, Lampman thinks that this plan might be a desirable alternative to a higher minimum wage. He also feels that it would "harmonize" with public assistance programs by concentrating more of the tax allowances on those poor families who do not now receive public assistance payments. On the other hand, for this flat-rate model, public assistance payments to the poorest of the poor would remain imperative.
Concerning the methodology for his models, Lampman shows that it is not strictly necessary to use the poverty-income standard as the base for calculations of the tax allowances of Type II plans. Similar to Type I, above, the total of exemptions and deductions could be used, since it happens that for a four-person family these are about equal to the poverty-income line in dollar terms and are still reasonably close for family sizes of two to six persons. For single persons and large families, however, adjustments would have to be made.
Administration and Operation
An important characteristic of these plans is that they are intended to be principally self-administered. In Lampman's schema, the applicant for a tax allowance would fill out a tax form indicating income and family size. He would be given a table of tax allowances, and he would mark down the amount due him for a family of his
income and size combination. He would then receive a check in the mail from the Internal Revenue Service, similar to the way tax refunds are handled. The problem
of timing, in some cases, as taxpayers changed from negative to positive rates during the course of the year, would need to receive special attention. Lampman
feels this could be handled in a similar manner to the administration of OASDI and veterans' pensions. Undoubtedly, numerous subregional offices of the Internal
Revenue Service would have to be established to handle the large numbers of applications for tax allowances.
Another important aspect of the administration and operation of tax allowance claims would be the determination of eligibility. Definitions would have to be developed for those eligible to file for a tax allowance, for those who could be claimed as dependents, and for the type of income that would have to be reported. Lampman gives detailed guidelines for these crucial definitions.
In a simple Type II case, negative rates taxation would work as follows: Lampman assumes a family consisting of a mother and three children. The mother's only income is $1,000 from wages. The tax law grants her the equivalent of $3,000 of personal exemptions and minimum standard deductions (personal exemptions of
$600 per person and minimum standard deductions of $300 for the mother and $100 for each child). Consequently she has an income deficit of $2,000 ($3,000 of exemptions and deductions minus $1,000 of earnings). If the negative income tax rate is 50 percent, then her tax allowance would be $1,000 and her total income $2,000 ($1,000 tax allowance and $1,000 earnings). If her earnings increased to $2,000, her total income would rise to $2,500.
Work Incentive Features
Lampman gives special attention to the complex problem of maintaining incentives for people who receive tax allowances to seek employment or to continue
in employment. A practical plan must allow the working poor to keep a portion of their earnings above the income level at which they receive tax allowances, and yet tax allowances would have to be reduced progressively as wage-income rises to the level at which wage earners, by tax definition, will be self-supporting. Lampman's schedules of negative-tax rates and allowances, therefore, incorporate such an incremental income-taxing feature which permits the working poor to retain earned additions to income up to the particular poverty line for a family of their size, beyond which existing positive income tax rates would continue to apply.
OTHER INCOME-MAINTENACE PLANS
Schwartz's approach to income-maintenance is not based on tax equity or the fiscal approach but on his social work philosophy. He feels that the only "proper
treatment of poverty" is to have the Federal government guarantee to every family and person sufficient income to maintain a healthful and decent standard of living.
This would be their constitutional and civil right.
The most satisfactory way to implement such a guarantee is through a modification and expansion of the Federal income tax mechanism. In this respect, his plan is similar to Lampman's: Any family or individual whose expected income falls below a government-determined standard of minimum income would receive a "family security benefit" (his name for a negative-rate tax allowance) for the amount of the difference. On the other hand, if the expected income exceeded the standard, he would pay a positive income tax as under present tax law procedures. After a year's operation of this plan, adjustments would be made for the difference between estimated and actual income, similar to the method used for individual income tax returns.
The minimum guaranteed income standard would be determined initially by a Presidential commission, which would also decide on a schedule of allowances for
families of given size and age composition. In addition, the commission would make adjustments in the schedule for regional and urban-rural residence. Provision would be made in the legislation for periodic adjustment of minimum guaranteed income payments to make them conform to changes in the cost of living.
As do other proponents of guaranteed income maintenance plans, Schwartz considers the public reaction to making payments to families who are poor according to current income standards but not necessarily according to the assets they hold. Schwartz would favor the establishment of minimum income rates to be expected
from capital investments. Persons claiming a "family security benefit" would be required to report at least these minimums as (imputed) income, whether received or
To the question, "Can the Nation afford such a program?," Schwartz gives rough estimates based on different levels of income maintenance standards and also
points to the possible measure of expressing the total cost as a certain percentage of Gross National Product--? percent, he feels, would be tolerable. When United
States welfare expenditures as a percent of national income are compared, in relative terms to those of other industrialized and developed nations, he finds that the United States is doing less for its poor by this measure than the other countries, 11
Schwartz estimates that the gross cost of his proposal, assuming benefits to a four-person, nonfarm family on the basis of the 1963 poverty line of the Council of
Economic Advisers ($3,000 in 1962 prices), would be approximately $11 billion. This represents his lowest cost model. For models of higher minimum subsistence
standards, costs would rise proportionately. At the level of the Social Security Administration "low-cost budget" ($3,955 in 1962 prices), Schwartz estimates gross costs to be roughly $23 billion. At the "modest but adequate" city workers' family budget of the Bureau of Labor Statistics ($5,000 in 1959 prices), Schwartz estimates gross costs to run as high as $38 billion. (Net costs would depend on whether any existing social welfare programs could be terminated.)
Schwartz has less conviction than Lampman about the necessity of incorporating a work-incentive feature into his models. He feels that for reasons of economy and administrative simplicity such a restraint should preferably be dispensed with, "unless and until experience indicates the need for it." However, a work-incentive feature may be necessary, he believes, to meet the test of public debate. He would permit families to keep a portion of their earnings on a graduated scale so that up to a given income bracket, they would be financially better off with earnings than without. Once they had reached this income bracket through earnings alone, they would remain exempt of a positive income tax until a still higher bracket--$4,500 in his illustration--was attained. Positive taxes would then be paid on amounts of $4,500 and over. Schwartz believes that this type of work-incentive feature would entail substantial additional costs because it would narrow the tax base and thus reduce revenues.
Theobald's approach to a guaranteed income maintenance plan is historic-societal and starts from the hypothesis that our present socioeconomic problems are the result of our success in attaining the stage of full industrial development. He argues that a guaranteed income is essential in the age of cybernetics, when automated productive processes and electronic computers combine to displace men. New techniques of income distribution will therefore have to be developed to insure to each person his absolute and constitutional right to sufficient resources to permit him a life of dignity as a full member of society.
This approach requires the establishment of an economic floor ("basic economic security") under each individual as an extension of the present social security system. The only limitation is U.S. citizenship or residence in the United States--the recipient of basic economic security should have resided in the United States for five consecutive years. Theobald stresses the necessity of an absolute guarantee and therefore proposes the passage of a constitutional amendment.
His mechanism for "basic economic security" is conceived as follows: The original aim of the exemption in the Federal income tax system was to insure that taxes were not paid on that portion of income required to provide a reasonable standard of living. This aim should be restored and tax exemptions should be raised immediately "to a level which would guarantee an untaxed income adequate for minimum subsistence." This, of course, would only protect those income groups that are paying Federal income taxes. To extend the protection to income groups below taxpaying levels, Theobald recommends that those whose incomes from earnings or from capital do not attain this level would then receive Federal government payments sufficient to raise their incomes to this level.
He suggests that this basic economic floor might be tentatively set at the start of operation of $1,000 for each adult and $600 for each child. Even though these levels of subsistence might seem low, Theobald estimates that about 20 million persons would immediately be covered. An even higher level of exemptions should not prove too much of a financial burden, as the magnitude of some higher level in terms of the productive capacity of the United States or its effect on the budget would not be too great.12
Too large a number of beneficiaries at the outset, however, would make the operation of this plan less efficient than it otherwise would be. In addition to determining the level of subsistence, adjustments would have to be made in the pattern of exemptions, by size and composition of family.
The operation of this plan, Theobald believes, would be very simple compared to the "present mosaic of measures--Social Security, unemployment compensation, welfare, 'stamp plans,' subsidies to housing." He thinks his plan would progressively replace all of these measures.
Theobald, as do other proponents, recommends a work-incentive feature to secure equity and to encourage acceptance. He would add a flat 10 percent of outside
income (from earnings or capital assets) as a premium to the entitled payments. The allowance for a four-person family (husband, wife, two children), based on the
family's exemptions of $1,000 for each adult and $600 for each child, would add up to $3,200. ^^ If the family had no outside income, this amount would be all they were entitled to. If, however, they had a private income of $2,000, their total income would be $3,400, computed as follows:
Private income $2,000
Government payments 1,200
Total entitlement 3,200
Plus 10% of $2,000 = 200
Total income $3,400
Theobald has recently proposed that an annual increase of 5 percent in exemption levels be included in the legislation so that the level of guaranteed income would rise as rapidly as possible toward a decent level of living.
Friedman starts from the premise that private charity is preferable to public charity and that voluntary action is preferable to compulsory action. But as long as
large, impersonal communities increasingly dominate our society, Friedman will accept governmental action to alleviate poverty.
His second premise is that any program to help the poor should operate through the market mechanism but should not distort or impede its functioning. The third premise is that the government's role in the economy should be minimal. For these reasons, Friedman wants a technique which will help the poor without the need to resort to such governmental subventions as general old-age benefit and farm price support programs, minimum wage and "pro-union" legislation, tariffs, licensing provisions of crafts or professions, and the like.
These objectives would be accomplished through a "negative tax" based on the present tax system, similar to Lampman's proposal Type I. A person whose income fell below the Federal income tax-paying level would receive a subsidy, representing a percentage of his combined exemptions and deductions. The rates of the subsidy would be graduated similarly to tax rates above the exemptions. By this method, he feels, a floor would be established below which no person's income could fall--in his example, $300 per year (in 1961 prices)--the specific floor depending on "what the community could afford."
The problems of administration, Friedman thinks, would be minor, since negative-tax subsidies would be administered through the present income tax system. Furthermore, if his proposal were substituted for the present "collection of welfare measures," the total administrative burden would be reduced, "let alone the degree of [present] governmental intervention involved."
Friedman thinks that the gross costs of his negative-tax income plan could be reduced by approximately the total cost of current Federal, State, and local social and welfare expenditures, including old age and other Social Security benefit payments, aid to families with dependent children, general assistance, farm price support programs, and public housing. He excludes the cost of veterans benefits, public health and hospital programs, and such indirect social costs as follow from minimum wage laws, tariffs, and licensing provisions.
Friedman concludes that a negative income-tax plan designed to supplement the incomes of the economy's 20 percent poorest consumer units in order to raise them to the lowest income level of the other poor would cost less than half of our current social expenditures.
With respect to the work incentive feature of his plan, Friedman writes: "Like any other measures to alleviate poverty, it reduces the incentives of those helped to help themselves, but it does not eliminate the initiative entirely as a system of supplementing income up to some fixed minimum would." He is concerned about the political feasibility of his proposal, as it depends on the willingness of taxpayers to impose higher taxes on themselves to pay subsidies to others. An unenlightened electorate might pervert this system to one in which the majority imposes taxes for its own benefit on an unwilling, wealthier minority.
The principle of the negative income tax has been explained. How different proponents have dealt with it, what they hope it will accomplish, and what they estimate
the costs of specific proposals to be have also been shown.
Clearly, negative income tax theories are still tentative and, as an approach to poverty, have yet to be tested. Many lacunae need to be closed and much research needs to be done before the proposals summarized here might be shaped into practical policies for governmental action. Nevertheless, while awaiting a sharper definition and more specific formulation, the negative income tax approach indicates the general mood and direction of experimental thought toward the objective of alleviating poverty in the midst of our prosperous economy.
There is as yet no consensus on a precise negative income tax mechanism nor on the administrative details. In particular, the formulas for built-in work incentives and asset-holding restraints are still being debated, as is also the exact proportion of the poverty income gap, by family size and composition, that would set the standard for assistance. There is also no agreement on the direct tax burden That would be involved nor on the extent to which government transfer payments could safely be used, without serious repercussions for our social structure.
In a broader sense, the proposed approach to poverty also involves the philosophical issues of its impact on propensities to work, save, and invest of all the people, on the growth and stability of the economy, and on the extent and nature of income redistribution.
The total eradication of poverty and deprivation in our midst is, of course, one of the ultimate goals of our society. But there may be several paths leading to it. As suggested by the Council of Economic Advisers, the negative income tax approach may be one, and broadening the scope of public assistance programs by widening coverage and raising benefit levels may be another. A third might be to combine these two approaches and shape them into a single, comprehensive tool to help the poor. As discussion and analysis continue, criteria for evaluating the feasibility of the negative income tax mechanism will undoubtedly be developed and the consequences of alternative plans spelled out in greater detail.
Historically, we have reached national goals by moving through successive stages of developmental growth and through the test of public debate until plans became publicly acceptable. It is through this continuing process--planning, evaluating, rejecting, selecting, accepting--inherent in our democratic growth patterns, that we can hope to conquer poverty.
As President Johnson said in his 1966 State of the Union message: "We will continue to meet the needs of our people by continuing to develop the Great Society. "
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(From the Union Italiana Dei Ciechi [Italian Union of the Blind])
Professor Paolo Bentivoglio, sightless since early childhood was Counselor of the Commune and of the Department of Modene, and member of the Welfare Department of Assistance, from the fall of 1920 to the summer of 1921. He also was secretary of the Hiring Hall of Modene. As a member of the Resistance he was decorated. He was director of the Institute F. Cavazza and there brought together men hunted for their political opinions. From the Fall of 1944 to April of 1945
he managed to give refuge to a Polish officer who had defected from the German army, and to two Italian doctors. In 1950, he was decorated with the silver medal for having saved a group of blind women from Castelbolognese (Ravenne) in July, 1945.
He was cited as follows:
"Though deprived of sight, and with war raging in this region, he did not hesitate to undertake a dangerous trip to help a group of blind women who had taken refuge in a spot under artillery fire. Coming to a very dangerous place where he could not continue by car, he did not abandon his cause and continued on foot. Guided by a woman, he was able to join the group of women and lead them to safety. ..."
As director of the Institute F. Cavazza of Bologna, he succeeded in getting young blind admitted to the same schools as the sighted. He wished "his children" to grow up with the sighted of their own age, and to be considered as "men among men". He broke the seclusion of those living in boarding schools, and permitted the sighted to study in his blind institute. He exerted pressure on the young blind to participate in all the aspects of the cultural and political life.
In 1920 he belonged to a group which founded the Italian Union of the Blind and was a member of the executive committee of this organization in 1936, and National President in 1945. He was also a member of the Administrative Council for the National Rehabilitation Society.
He intervened with those in authority many times, and conducted untiring propaganda to alert public opinion and to obtain the consent of employers for the blind to work as the sighted, with highly satisfactory results. It is consequently thanks to his activities, his persuavsive efforts and to his profound sense of responsibility and justice that today, thousands of sightless may work .. . as teachers not only in schools for the blind, but also in public schools; as masseurs, and physiotherapists
in hospitals, clinics and at Hot Springs; as telephone operators in public and private enterprises, and as specialized workmen in different branches of industry. He fought persistently for the blind Italians and obtained help that was their due. He demanded the adoption of numerous measures now in effect, for example the laws of August 1954, and February 19 64, by which civilian blind without means were given a pension. These laws enriched our government in favor of the civilian handicapped. Professor Bentivoglio was particularly interested in the instruction of blind youth. This instruction today is performed by a special scholastic organization considered the best in Europe.
As a result of his intense activity in this field and for the 30 years as director of the Institute Cavazza of Bologne , the Minister of Public Instruction in 1961 presented him with the medal reserved for those in the field of Instruction, Culture and Arts.
In 1954 he was elected vice-president of the World Council for the "Welfare of the Blind. He was re-elected in 1959-1964.
He was a member of the Italian National Committee attached to UNESCO and Honorary Vice-President of the World Conference of Blind Educators. (I.C.E.B.Y.)
Still vigorous and leading his mission always forward, he died in Rome on December 22, 1965, as a result of a sudden illness.
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(An HEW Release)
Establishment of eight instructional materials centers to help improve the teaching of handicapped children and youth was announced today by the U. S. Office of Education.
More than $1 million has been allocated by the Office for the centers. They will collect instructional materials and aides such as braille books, test kits, and tapes and recording devices, evaluate their effectiveness, and make them available to local schools.
The centers also will engage in research and development aimed at devising improved teaching materials for the handicapped. Institutes and workshops will be held at the centers to familiarize teachers with the use of special educational materials.
Handicapped children and youth to be served by the centers will include the mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, crippled, speech-impaired, deaf, and visually handicapped.
Two instructional materials centers were established previously by the Office at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Southern California. The locations and the amounts allocated for the eight new ones are as follows:
University of Texas, Austin $138,248
Colorado State College, Greeley 91,249
University of Oregon, Eugene 186,814
State of Illinois, Springfield 159,650
American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, Kentucky 80,662
University of South Florida, Tampa 160,512
University of Kentucky, Lexington 110,494
Michigan State University, East Lansing 178,495
Funds for the centers are made available under the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act of 1963, (Public Law 88-164), as amended by P.L. 89-10.
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By Ralph Blumenthal
(From New York Times, May 30, 1966)
Niagara Falls, N. Y. -- A man who refused to take a job to which he was referred by his welfare case worker is serving a 30-day jail sentence here as a result of a drive on welfare violations.
Mose Pickett, 32-year-old father of three, refused to take a job as a landscape gardner because, he said, he was waiting for a road paving job paying twice as much to open up. He was convicted on May 10 under a provision of the state welfare law prohibiting any "willful act designed to interfere with the proper administration" of the law.
Although an appeal was planned by his court-assigned lawyer, Earl W. Brydges, Jr. , son of the Republican majority leader in the State Senate, Mr. Pickett went directly to the county jail because bail could not be raised.
The outcome of the appeal could have wide repercussions in the state although it may do little for Mr. Pickett except clear his name. It is believed to be the first time a constitutional issue has been raised in such a case.
In the only previous case observers could recall, a conviction in St. Lawrence County, was reversed when the Appellate Division found that the refusal to take jobs shoveling snow did not constitute willful refusal.
Mr. Brydges plans to ask for reversal of the county court's ruling on the grounds that it violates the constitutional ban on involuntary servitude, among other things. On the other side, Norman J. Schreiber, executive director of the Niagara County Welfare Department who personally supervised the prosecution of Mr. Pickett, hopes to show welfare "chiselers" that they "can sit in jail just as soon as they can sit at home."
Mr. Schreiber, a plain-talking sad-eyed man known as Dutch, refused to drop the charges against Mr. Pickett even after Mr. Pickett finally took the gardening job. He took it three days after his family's welfare check was reduced by the amount of the job's salary.
During the trial it was pointed out that the job paid $60 a week -- $5 more than Mr. Pickett was receiving from the county for not working.
Mr. Schreiber, who has been executive director since 1945, conceded he was taking a "hard line," but said that it was necessary to provide motivation to work.
In an interview last week in his office overlooking the Niagara River, he said that he had recently found waiting for him outside a "nigger with a sore hand" who wanted to apply for welfare.
"I said, 'get out of here, get out.'" Mr. Schreiber reported.
The jailing of Mr. Picket and a similar case now pending has been a "morale builder," he said. Seventy welfare recipients were placed in jobs so far in May compared to 18 for the same period last month, he reported.
Niagara County has 3,271 welfare cases in which 8,884 individuals receive about $8 million a year. However, about 45 per cent of the money goes for medical costs. The county's population is about 250,000.
"We are getting what we never got before -- cooperation from the public," Mr. Schreiber said. "We certainly got the public behind us. They're sick and tired of paying for this. The professional social worker wouldn't agree with me, but the layman's behind me."
The next step in the drive, he said, will be a review of the aid- to-dependent children cases in households without fathers. A check will be made to see that all "able-bodied" mothers on welfare take jobs while their children are in day-care centers run by the county.
What if a mother refused to leave her children to take a job, Mr. Schreiber was asked. "I certainly would prosecute," he replied.
"I don't want to throw anybody in jail," Mr. Schreiber repeated several times, adding at one point: "It's not easy to convict somebody. I have hell of a time getting convictions. You get damn sick of going down to the courtroom. They appoint a lawyer [ for the defendant] and advise him of his rights. Certainly the rights of the individual are being respected. You can sure say that."
The aspect of Niagara County's welfare program that Mi: Schreiber is probably proudest of are the education and work-training classes. There are about 150 welfare recipients now studying for high school equivalency diplomas as well as for certificates in typing and key-punch and switchboard operations.
Sixty per cent of the participants in the study program started with less than a fifth-grade education.
Mr. Schreiber foresees a decrease soon in welfare cases. He believes that his get-tough campaign has given a push to those who would be "chiselers" and he points to a recent upturn in Niagara's economy.
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(From The New Beacon, Vol. L, No. 588, April, 1966)
A notable feature of the Royal London Society for the Blind's l27th annual report, for 19 64-65, is the progress being made by the new light engineering department. This department has expanded so rapidly that it necessitated during the year the closure of the chair-caning department to provide additional space. Nearly half the Society's total sales ft 84,617) were attributable to it, and orders, says the report, are still increasing. During the year stage II of the project was completed, and with the installation of additional lathes, millers and grinders, the opportunity was taken to set up modem storage facilities for raw materials and finished goods. An inspection section was also established with all the necessary testing equipment.
Some confirmation of the standard achieved was shown by the fact that, during the year, the department was, after a thorough inspection, given a certificate by the Ministry of Aviation Inspection Division to manufacture for the aircraft industry. "Those in the enginerring industry will know that it must be unique for an AID certificate to be issued to a workshop with blind operators, and is indeed testimony to the high quality of their products", suggests the report. It continues:
". . .Undoubtedly, the new project has already brought advantages to the blind themselves, but in the long run its success or otherwise will be determined by economics, i.e., whether, in fact, by comparison with the traditional handcrafts, it has succeeded in lowering the cost of sheltered employment."
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A specially designed bank check, which will allow a totally blind person to manage his own checking account without sighted help, is now available for the use of blind persons.
The new "blind checks" were discussed by Leo McCauley, Community Service Consultant of the City Bank and Trust Company, Alexandria, Virginia, at the meeting of the D. C. affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, held June 10 in the Nation's Capital.
A bit larger than the usual check, the new check has raised lines -- widely spaced -- indicating where needed information may be typed, and where the blind person should write his signature.
"If a blind person cannot sign his name," McCauley said, "the bank will arrange to have a stamp made with his signature, and the blind checkmaker will imprint this stamp on a check when he makes it out -- so his name will appear on the check."
Two parallel raised-line oblong boxes on the face of each check give thumbprint protection to the blind checkmaker.
"When a blind person obtains a checkbook at the bank," he said, "he will, in the presence of a bank official, place his right thumbprint in one of the two raised line boxes which appear on each check and are marked (in print) 'right thumbprint'. As the blind person makes out a check, he places his right thumbprint in the other raised line oblong box.
"When the check comes into the bank, the thumbprints will be compared before a check will be charged to the blind person's bank account.
"The idea really isn't new at all," said the banker. "Those of you who have bought traveler's checks know that when you get your checks at the bank, you must sign each check with your usual signature; then, when you want money, you sign it again in the presence of the person cashing it, so that he can compare the signatures and verify that they were both made by the same person."
At the right-hand end of the "blind check" and running from top to bottom are the raised print numbers, with raised dollar signs: "$100", "$25", "$10", and "$5".
Explained McCauley: "When you finish making out a check, you draw a pencilled circle around the nearest raised number which is the next larger amount than the amount of your check. For example, if you make out a check for $8.75, you would circle the "$10" amount, showing the general limit intended by you when you typed the figure on the check."
"This prevents anyone from increasing the amount of your check -- such as, by adding a 'zero' after '$8', making it into a check for '$80.75'."
Another unique feature of the "custom-made-for-the-blind" checkbook is that, although the checks do not have the usual stubs used for financial record keeping, there is a plain sheet of paper -- substantial enough for braille -- following each check, so that the blind checkmaker may record pertinent information in braille about each check he writes and have available for his personal inspection only his current checking account balance.
The "blind check" idea was adapted by the Omaha National Bank,' Nebraska, which has copyright control over it, and will allow any other bank the use of the special checks for the benefit of its blind patrons, on two conditions -- that no charge be made to the blind patron for the raised line checks, and that no service charge be made by the bank on the blind person's checking account."
(Editor's Note: Any blind person interested in making use of the "blind checks',' should ask the bank where he does business to get in touch with the Omaha National Bank, Omaha, Nebraska, for specific information.)
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THE 1966 EDWIN DICKINSON WORLD WIDE ANNUAL AMATEUR LITERARY COMPETITION Conducted by QUEENSLAND MUSICAL LITERARY & SELF-AID SOCIETY FOR THE BLIND
247 Vulture St., Sth. Brisbane, Q'ld., Australia
Entries are invited from blind and semi-sighted people of amateur status throughout the world, in the following sections:
Group-------------- Section-------------- 1st Prize-----------------------------
Adult----------------Short Story ----------$10.00 ------------------------------$4.00
''----------------(Maximum 1000 words ---10.00 -------------------------------4.00
------------(Maximum 1500 words)
------------ " Original Poem
10 & Over ----Composition (Any subject)- 2.00 --------------------------------- 1.00
Under 10 -------------------------------- 2.00 ----------------------------------- 1.00
Children -------Poem (Any subject)------ 2.00 ----------------------------------- 1.00
General Conditions of the Competition
1. Section and category must be clearly marked on entry. No entry form is required.
2. Entries must be typed (for preference) in double spacing and on one side of the paper only, or brailled.
3. "Children" means blind or semi-sighted children in primary grades.
4. Entrants must use a nom de plume and give full name and address in sealed accompanying envelope.
5. Material becomes the property of the Society and will only be returned if specially requested. Q.M.L. reserves the full rights to all entries received.
6. Adjudicator's awards are final.
7. Second prizes will not be awarded unless five entries are received in each section.
8. Competitors are requested to use new pen names each year. The Adjudicators have become familiar with some of the nom de plumes chosen and it makes a fair choice difficult. If this condition is not observed, entries will be disqualified.
Overseas Braille Magazines are invited to publish the winning entries, copies of which will be sent on request. This way it is felt that interest will be stimulated among readers and writers encouraged to submit material. Closing date is 3lst October . 1966, and we hope that once again our blind and semi-sighted competitors will send in their entries. Queensland is indeed proud to sponsor this competition to help develop creative thinking and writing within the Blind Community.
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From The Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 18, 1966 - Des Moines - A question has arisen as to whether a blind person should be permitted to teach in Iowa's elementary and secondary public schools.
The question was raised indirectly as the result of a request by a blind student at the University of Iowa wanting permission to do student teaching.
In order to be certified by the state to teach in the elementary and secondary schools a person must put in so many hours as a student teacher.
Kenneth Jernigan, director of the state commission for the blind, appeared before a group of educators at Iowa City last week to plead the girl's case.
Jernigan asked the educators to apply the same criteria to blind people as others in admitting them as student teachers. "If she can't do the work, then flunk her, but don't place an artificial obstruction in her path," Jernigan told the group.
From Director's Newsletter, Vol. II, No. 7, April, 1966, Despite the legend that has grown in California, that this state makes such liberal money grants in welfare that it has drawn the aged, disabled and needy from all over the nation in search of over-generous welfare checks, the facts are these:
A decade ago, 1956-57, the percentage of people receiving public welfare assistance in California was 4.04 percent of the total population of the state. At that time the total welfare caseload was 535,357 persons.
In 19 64-65, the percentage of people receiving welfare had only grown to 5.3 percent of the state's total population, even though the total caseload had by then reached 956,362 persons.
Less than 5 percent of the persons in the current welfare caseload, which now exceeds one million recipients, are receiving public assistance for which there is no previous residential requirement. This 5 percent consists of some 12,000 Aid to the Blind recipients and about 33,000 persons who have been receiving Medical Assistance to the Aged.
The state's residence requirements are these:
Old Age Assistance -- one year of residence in the state, immediately preceding application for aid, and five years residence in the past nine years.
Aid to Families with Dependent Children -- one year of residence immediately preceding application for aid, except for children born in this state.
Aid to the Needy Disabled -- one year of residence immediately preceding application for aid, and three years in the past nine years. An applicant may also be eligible if he became disabled while a resident of California.
General Relief -- three years residence in the state. General Relief is financed entirely by the county , and one year's residence in a county is a determinant of a county's responsibility where residents move from one county to another. If no residence has been established emergency assistance on a temporary basis is available in most counties.
From The New York Times, June 12, 1966 -- Telephone Pioneers of America have developed a softball which emits a constant noise to be used in games by blind children.
From the Oakland Tribune, June 6, 1966 -- Berkeley -- Ernest Suber, 27, will stand trial in Alameda Country Superior Court on four charges connected with the brutal beating of a young blind woman in her apartment May 8.
Suber has pleaded innocent to charges of burglary, assault with intent to commit rape, assault with intent to commit murder, and assault with a deadly weapon.
He was arrested after a fierce struggle with Officer Richard Gorman, who responded to the woman's screams shortly after 1 a.m. on May 8.
The woman testified in municipal court that she was choked into unconsciousness and does not recall the brutal beating that followed.
Dr. Charles Buell, well-known gym teacher and athletics coach at the California School for the Blind in Berkeley, has accepted a position as a resource teacher for sight-saving students at the Lee School in Long Beach, California. Dr. Buell's book Physical Education for Blind Children is being published this month by Charles C. Thomas. He has written five other books and 30 articles on the subject. His Blind School wrestling team once went 31 meets without defeat against sighted opposition.
Mr. Arthur L. Brandon, Chairman of COMSTAC for the past three years, has become the President of the newly formed National Accreditation Council. Mr. Alexander F. Handel, Executive Director of COMSTAC, was appointed Executive Director of the Council. Mr. Jensen Joyes, Jr. , President of the American Foundation for the Blind, announced the Foundation's fiscal support of the new Council.
From The Palmetto Auroran, South Carolina, May, 1966 -- The middle of April Aurora State President, Donald C. Capps, was given increased responsibilities by the management of Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company. Capps, who is in his twentieth year with the company, was formerly in charge of the administration of all claims in the individual claims department, has now been placed in charge of the administration of all claims in both the individual and group claims department. His new duties include the supervision of some 15 employees, including five claims examiners. Capp's department is expected to process some 40,000 claims during 1966.
From The Eye Catcher, Syracuse, N.Y., Vol.12, April, 1966 News flashes - The Syracuse Lighthouse held meetings on two different occasions with local organizations of the blind last year. The Lighthouse has agreed to hold these meetings twice a year. We wonder what the image of the Lighthouse and the status of the blind would be in Syracuse if past administrations had taken this progressive move. This past January a blind person was elected to the Board of Directors. Louis
DeSantis is the new blind director on the Agency's Board.
From the New York Post, May 31, 19 66 -- The creation of the office of public watchdog or ombudsman -- the first in the nation -- was announced today by Nassau County, New York, Executive Nickerson
The Democratic gubernatorial aspirant said that if elected Governor he would move to have a similar position established on the statewide level.
The function of an ombudsman--an office existing for many years in Scandinavian countries -- is to guard the individual citizen against inefficiency, maladministration, arrogance and abuse on the part of the government.
The formal creation of such an office would have to be done by the local law. In Nassau, this means approval by the Republican- controlled Board of Supervisors and by the public in a referendum.
Meanwhile, Nickerson announced that former District Court Judge Samuel Greason of Garden City would be appointed Commissioner of Accounts and act as ombudsman until the law is approved.
From the Oakland Tribune, May 6, 1966 -- The eyeball may join the highball as a traffic hazard when high-speed land and sea travel is an actuality.
When trains and other vehicles hit 150-mile-an hour speeds the eyeballs may start vibrating and if they belong to the engineer or pilot the hazard will be that he can't read his instruments or signals.
Keeping the eyeballs from bouncing around in their sockets is just one of the problems that must be solved, according to Jerome Lederer, director of the Cornell-Guggenheim Aviation Safety Center.
Lederer spoke on Safety Research for High Speed Ground Transportation at a National Transportation Symposium.
"Jouncing on an uneven roadbed or on a rough seaway may call for special seat design from the standpoint of safety as well as comfort," Lederer said.
"At vibration frequencies of 4 to 5 cycles per second the eyeballs vibrate in their sockets. At higher frequencies, the vibrations can affect the nervous system," he warned, calling upon his experience in aerospace reasearch.
Earl I. Brawner is blind and deaf, holds a full-time job as an $80-a-week Braille assistant in the Library of Congress' Division for the Blind.
He writes short stories, war essays, romances -- "Easy to read stuff."
He puffs occasionally on a big cigar.
He enjoys physical exercise, particularly wrestling. He grades and corrects correspondence work done in Braille by sighted volunteers studying to become teachers of the blind.
He was recently the subject of an AP feature story.
Would you, as a blind person, like to take a trip to the moon? This opportunity is now available without previous training, regardless of your age or sex --in fact, without the slightest danger to you. You can have the experience right in your living room. "A Trip to the Moon in Project Apollo", a braille booklet of some 27 pages, has been prepared for the blind by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Get your copy free by writing to James Funkhouser, Chief, Public Affairs Office, Michoud Assembly Facility, P.O. Box 29300, New Orleans, Louisiana 70129- It contains descriptions of NASA's Saturn V space vehicle, Apollo spacecraft and lunar flight plan.
On June 1, 1966, Clyde Ross suffered a severe heart attack and was taken to the Akron City Hospital where he was placed in intensive care. News reaching us as we go to press June 20 is that Clyde was markedly improved but is still unable to sit up or to have company. He is expected to remain in the hospital for several weeks. . ..
Harry M. Sparks, Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky, recently announced a new program to create the Kentucky Industries and Rehabilitation Center for the Blind. The facility is to be constructed on the campus of the Kentucky School for the Blind and is to provide a continuum of comprehensive services for all blind citizens who can benefit from these rehabilitative services. Superintendent Sparks coupled this announcement with an appointment of Bob Whitehead, President of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind, to a position on the advisory committee to the planning group "because of your interest in services to the blind and the outstanding contribution we feel you can make."
The 1966 annual convention of the Blinded Veterans Association, celebrating the twenty-first year of that organization, will be held at the Deauville Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida, from Tuesday, August 16 through Saturday, August 20.
London, England -- Among motions to be considered by the National Federation of the Blind at its annual conference here will be a proposal that the National Library for the Blind be asked to proceed "as soon as possible" with the transcription of the unexpurgated edition of "Lady Chatterley's Lover." (from Manchester Guardian).
At the May 26 meeting of the Potomac Federation of the Blind, the Alexandria-Arlington Chapter of the NFB's Virginia affiliate, the following were elected to a one-year term of office: Jean Miller, President; A. J. Pettit , First Vice-President; James Copeland, Second Vice-President; Ruth Drummond, Recording Secretary; Alan Schlank, corresponding Secretary; Marion McDonald, Treasurer; and Mary Horton, Georgia Stubbs , and John Blake, Board Members.
S. 1610, a bill to establish a register of blind persons in the District of Columbia and to make obligatory the reporting of blind persons was considered in public hearings by a Senate subcommittee June 13, 1966.
Originated by an advisory committee to the D.C. Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, the bill was supported in the hearings by Stephen Gambaro, Chief, Division of Services to the Visually Impaired of the V.R. D.C. Department, and by John Nagle.
It is expected that the blind register with its mandatory reporting feature will help agencies find blind people, and serve as a means of informing blind people of the existence of the agencies. Although 37 states already have blind registers -- 26 statutorily and 11 voluntarily established -- only seven states give full effectiveness to the register by requiring, through legal provision, that known blind persons be reported.
S. 1610 would make an eighth jurisdiction with mandatory reporting if it successfully survives the legislative hazards ahead and receives congressional approval before adjournment date later this year.
And, surprisingly, the greatest hazard to be overcome by S.1610, reports John Nagle, is that this bill is of such relative minor significance when judged by the other issues which demand the attention of senators and representatives. "Now that the bill has passed the first step in the legislative process," declared Nagle, "I will 'take it by the hand' and try to steer it the rest of the way, by Senate subcommittee and full committee executive consideration. Senate floor consideration -- then, a repeat of the same steps on the House side."
"The difficulty is," John said, "that a minor bill such as S. 1610 gets lost and forgotten -- particularly in the closing weeks of a Congress -- unless someone interested will take the time and make the effort to push and pull, to plead and argue -- and give to a relatively minor matter an importance demanding attention and action."
The 1966 convention of the National Association for the Physically Handicapped will be held at Hotel Fort Des Moines, in Des Moines, Iowa July 25-28. An open invitation is extended to all of the physically handicapped and those interested in the affairs of the handicapped to attend.
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