Becoming Educated: The Fight for Free and Appropriate Education by Parents of Children with Mental Retardation during the Post–World War II Decades

Thomas Krainz


During the post—World War II years, obtaining an education for a child with mental retardation was a difficult, if not impossible, undertaking. Most public schools barred children who earned low scores on intelligence quotient (IQ) exams. Parents of children with mental retardation in Jefferson County, Colorado, organized to offer mutual support and to obtain services, especially education, for their children. These parents underwent a political transformation as they fought for access to public education. Over time, parents who initially made polite requests for token access to schools began making loud demands for a fair share of services for their children. Eventually they became politically sophisticated and aggressive in altering the educational status quo. Parents also slowly moved from an ideology that focused on their particular children to an inclusive ideology that addressed the needs of all disabled children. Keywords: mental retardation, education, children, parents, Colorado, post—World War II


mental retardation; education; children; parents; Colorado; post—World War II

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Copyright (c) 2013 Thomas Krainz

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