CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
AUGUST 9, 1962
EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING FILMS FOR USE BY DEAF PERSONS
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, I move that the Senate proceed to the consideration of S. 2511.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The bill will be stated by title for the information of the Senate.
The LEGISLATIVE CLERK. A bill (S. 2511) to provide for the production and distribution of educational and training films for use by deaf persons, and for other purposes.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the motion of the Senator from Maine.
The motion was agreed to. [TEXT OF BILL OMITTED]
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendments.
The amendments were agreed to.
The bill was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, read the third time, and passed.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, I wish to extend my congratulations to the distinguished Senator from Maine [Mr. MUSKIE], and the distinguished Senator from Rhode Island [Mr. PELL] for the outstanding work they have done on this matter and the initiative and enthusiasm they have shown. They are to be commended.
Certainly, I am grateful for their taking the initiative in this matter.
Mr. MUSKIE. I thank the majority leader for his generous comments. I ask unanimous consent that there may be inserted at this point in the RECORD an explanation of the bill.
There being no objection, the explanation was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
The bill, S. 2511, as reported by the committee, would amend Public Law 86-905, that established a loan service of captioned films for the deaf in the Department of Health. Education, and Welfare. The bill would delete the existing ceiling of $250,000 on appropriations for the captioned films for the deaf program and authorize the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to provide for:
(a) the conduct of research in the use of educational and training films for the deaf;
(b) the production and distribution of training films for the deaf; and
(c) the training of persons in the use of films for the deaf.
These new authorities and the increased level of funds that could be made available would permit a significant expansion in the library of captioned films for the deaf. The films themselves would improve in quality and in usefulness through the newly authorized program of research in captioned films for the deaf. The training of personnel in the use of these films would further enhance their value in educating and training the deaf.
Regional distribution centers for the captioned films for the deaf could be established to provide for the most efficient distribution of the greatly increased library of films.
The new responsibilities that would be carried out through the captioned films program would include special programing for curricula in the education of the deaf. Research that would be pursued under the new authorities of the bill would relate to: (1) selection and utilization of electro mechanical devices related to filmed materials; (2) development and validation of film program and procedures; and (3) the application and integration of such devices and materials into existing and planned curricula.
The level of Federal funds that would be available under the expanded program of captioned films for the deaf would be determined on an annual basis by the Congress.
Although the present program of captioned films for the deaf is limited to $250,000 per year, the Federal Government appropriates sums considerably in excess of this amount in behalf of educational and recreational materials for those afflicted by blindness. In 1962, for example, a total of $1,800,000 was appropriated for the talking books program administered by the Library of Congress and an additional $670,000 was appropriated for the production and distribution of braille textbooks and other educational materials by the American Printing House for the Blind.
Testimony in favor of the enactments of S. 2511 was presented on August 7. 1962, by representatives of such organizations and associations as the Conference of Executives of American Schools for the Deaf, the Council for Exceptional Children, the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf, and the National Association of the Deaf.
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that a copy of my statement before the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare on the bill be printed in the RECORD at this point.
There being no objection, the statement was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
Mr. Chairman, I have had a long and continuing interest in the new and revolutionary techniques which are being introduced into educational programs. The more I have studied the potential of new methods, particularly audiovisual aids, the more I have become convinced of the tremendous possibilities of this method in teaching the deaf.
Last year in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee I indicated my belief in the favorable impact an improved captioned films program would have on the welfare of this group of handicapped persons.
I would like to state that, with an additional year of experience in the present program, I am even more convinced of the necessity for this amendment.
The need for expanded educational opportunities for the deaf increases and the time has arrived to take some positive action to assist these handicapped persons.
In considering this legislation, we should look at the Federal program for the blind. The existing inequality between that program and the captioned films for the deaf program is clearly evident.
At the present time, the captioned films for the deaf program has a limited annual budget of $250,000. This represents $1 for each deaf person in the United States.
Compared with this sum, the talking books for the blind program in 1962 served 350,000 individuals at a cost of approximately $1, 800,000, or a little over $5 for each blind person. The talking books program has an unlimited budget. In addition to Federal assistance, there are many charitable organizations, such as Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, which are concerned with the special problems of the blind.
I in no way want to imply that assistance to the blind should be curtailed. I merely wish to indicate the wide gap between the two programs.
Enactment of S. 2511 would help to narrow the present inequity in assistance given to these two groups of handicapped individuals.
Under the present captioned films program, some 650 groups of deaf persons utilize the film distribution services. This figure is less than 10 percent of the total deaf population of approximately 250,000.
Currently the program has a mere 14 educational subjects, and some of these are actually more documentary than educational. The remaining subjects are solely entertainment by nature.
Commercial firms are not interested in producing captioned films because of the limited market. They are also not interested in exploring new techniques in the use of films for this special group. The film industry is not in a position to promote teacher training in more effective use of the films.
The present act contains no provision for research or for training personnel who teach the deaf. These are critical and important areas which are forced to go neglected because of narrow budget limitations.
Unique educational problems are involved in teaching a person handicapped by deafness. This student requires better visual materials and more adequately trained teachers.
Teachers of the deaf are faced with unusual problems not always fully realized or understood by the lay public. A child who is either born deaf or rendered deaf at a very early age is inflicted with a double burden to bear throughout life. There is no normal way for such a child to learn how to communicate because sounds have no meaning for him.
By expanding the present captioned films programs, it will be possible to enrich the lives of many more thousands of deaf children and adults. In considering this amendment, we must remember that the Nation benefits as well as the handicapped individual.
In fiscal year 1961. the appropriation for this program was only $185,000. In fiscal year 1962, the Senate saw fit to increase that amount to $250,000. This is the ceiling which has been placed on Public Law 85-905.
S. 2511 would amend Public Law 85-905 and would remove the $250,000 annual appropriation limitation.
The bill would permit the Federal Government to assume responsibility for the production of captioned films for the deaf.
It would authorize research in the use of education and training films for the deaf and would provide for training of persons in the use of those films.
Mr. Chairman, I sincerely believe that the proposed expansion of the existing program is important to the welfare and intellectual development of this group of American citizens. And as we all know, when better opportunities are afforded for educational advancement, better citizenship results.
I strongly urge the committee to take immediate and favorable action in regard to S.2511.