Abstract

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.

Introduction

In April 1960, Ann Moulton of Jefferson County, Colorado, gave birth to her first child, John. It was only when her son turned five that she began to suspect that something was wrong. Moulton was concerned that maybe John was not ready for kindergarten that fall since he had not yet begun to talk. Her pediatrician recommended testing John at the nearby Children's Hospital in Denver. Several days later, the doctor phoned Moulton to tell her that her son was mentally retarded. 1 Moulton's initial reaction was one filled with tears. She recalls thinking, "What the hell do we do now? I knew how to get a kid into the public school system. But I didn't know what to do if that child had mental retardation. I didn't know who to go to." 2 Moulton's dilemma was not uncommon. During the post—World War II decades, obtaining an education for a child like John with mental retardation was a difficult, if not impossible, undertaking. Only a few states admitted retarded children to public schools. Many educators believed that children scoring below a certain intelligence quotient (IQ) would not benefit from an education so schools should not waste classroom space and time on them. Despite these beliefs and institutional barriers, parents like Moulton did not simply give up. Instead, parents organized to offer mutual support and to obtain services, especially access to an education, for their disabled children.

Because of the presence of three particular groupings of children with mental retardation, Jefferson County, Colorado, provides an excellent setting to examine how parents managed to successfully transform their public school system during the post—World War II years. Jefferson County stretches west from the western edge of Denver into the Rocky Mountain foothills. Its population boomed during the mid-century, from fewer than 31,000 residents in 1940 to over a quarter million people thirty years later. During these years of rapid growth, the county experienced extensive suburbanization, with the population remaining almost completely white and middle class. 3 Since the early twentieth century, Jefferson County had hosted the Colorado State Home and Training School for Mental Defectives, commonly known as "Ridge" because of its location in Ridge, Colorado. By the end of 1940, Ridge housed 310 residents, mostly people with profound mental retardation who had been categorized as "dependent." 4 At the other extreme, Jefferson County R—1 School District, formed in 1950, would offer one of the best special education programs in the state for children with mental retardation classified as "educable." And as parents began to shy away from institutionalizing their children with disabilities during the postwar decades, a third group formed in Jefferson County: children with mental retardation who did not qualify for special education classes and who did not receive services at Ridge. These children, mainly labeled as "trainable," and their parents were left in limbo, without any form of assistance. The presence of these three groupings of children with mental retardation ("dependent," "trainable," and "educable") in Jefferson County creates an ideal situation to explore the process of educational transformation following World War II.

While many parents of children with mental retardation underwent a political makeover as they fought for access to public education in Jefferson County, those parents with "trainable" children experienced the most profound changes. At first, in the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s, these parents of "trainable" children tentatively and politely asked that their children be given some token admission to schools or improvement in education. Although these initial efforts did not directly challenge established educational practices, they did prove that parents' collective actions could make concrete differences in their children's lives, demonstrating that policies and practices could be successfully altered. With each success, parents learned the skills necessary to construct an array of needs-based services that would eventually provide cradle-to-grave care for their children. Over the years, parents received a political education in terms of how governments determined public policies and how they could shape those policies. Part of this political schooling entailed an ideological shift as well. Initially parents focused their considerable efforts and resources on helping "their" children, those children that shared the same level of educational services. Over time, their focus broadened to include all disabled children, regardless of disability or services provided. 5 By the late 1960s and early 1970s, parents of children with mental retardation had become sophisticated, hard-nosed political operatives who embraced an inclusive philosophy that all disabled children deserved a free public education. Parents succeeded in creating a substantial, if not radical, transformation of local educational policies. And although parents with children classified in all three categories of mental retardation contributed to these changes, it was those parents with "trainable" children that clearly spearheaded many of these efforts.

One of the biggest obstacles to creating an inclusive movement rested with the bureaucratic structure of educational services in states such as Colorado. Because each of the three groupings of children with mental retardation ("dependent," "trainable," and "educable") encountered a different set of regulations, agencies, and personnel in regards to their education (or lack of education), parents naturally directed their efforts narrowly to understanding how to maneuver within each particular set of policies and practices. This bureaucratic system in turn shaped the parental movement, subdividing the parents into separate groups. 6 As parents developed an inclusive ideology that encompassed all disabled children, collective action joining together all three groupings became more practical and common.

An examination of the actions by Jefferson County parents with mentally retarded children, especially those with "trainable" children, allows for a close analysis of the internal dynamics of a fluid and complex social movement. The sequences of events in Jefferson County were by no means unique. Susan Schwartzenberg and Larry Jones have both charted the political transformation of parents and their importance in gaining access to public education for their children in the Pacific Northwest. 7 Except for these two works, this type of complexity has not been captured well by other scholars who have focused on either broad national events or have examined more limited time periods at the local and state levels. 8 In addition, as historian Felicia Kornbluh has noted, scholars have been slow to integrate "people with disabilities or disability as an analytical category" into our understanding of the formation of twentieth-century public policy. Kornbluh's observation holds particularly true when shifting the focus away from federal policies, specifically away from pivotal federal measures like the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), to the local and state levels where policies, especially educational practices, were shaped. 9 In the case of children with mental retardation, it was at the local and state levels that access to the classroom first materialized, decades before any federal guarantees. And it was in these local and state struggles that parents underwent a political transformation.

During the postwar years, the experiences of children with mental retardation varied widely across the nation. Local factors—the presence or absence of a state institution or a university, a state's financial resources, or a prominent politician's interest in the mentally retarded—largely determined parents' experiences. Jefferson County's parents noted such differences as they moved around the nation. When Ann Moulton briefly moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1967, for example, she encountered a highly sophisticated special education program that was not available back in Jefferson County. Moulton attributed the difference to the influence of former U.S. Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had a mentally retarded granddaughter. 10 On the other hand, when Dick and Marilyn Markley relocated their family from Colorado to Vermont in 1976, they came across a poorly financed and understaffed mainstreaming program that offered their son "no future." 11 What mattered most to parents were the specific guidelines, practices, and funding levels of the local school districts in which they resided. These policies, at the time, made an immediate impact on their daily lives and on their children's futures.

"And Now the Baby Is Broken"

Accepting the fact that a newborn has mental retardation is often a challenging task for parents. The cultural norms of the period made this acceptance even more difficult in the post—World War II years. In the context of the postwar baby boom, children and suburban homes became central to the definition of successful parenting. With clearly defined gender roles, mothers were expected to give birth and to raise healthy and perfect children. 12 Conformity strongly reigned throughout the suburbs during these years and vigor and youth were highly valued. Retarded children, no doubt, tarnished this image. "The hardest thing," recalled Mrs. Jerry Duggan, a mother of a retarded daughter, "is to accept the fact that you have created an imperfect child." 13 Maurice and Lillian Archer remembered that "it was a disgrace" to have a child who could not walk or talk and who constantly "slobbered." 14

Within such a rigid cultural environment, it took a great deal of personal fortitude for many parents to accept a retarded child. And it often took some time to be convinced that the diagnosis was permanent. When Luis and Lois Rovira's daughter Pamela was born in 1953 with severe cerebral palsy and mental retardation, he refused at first to accept her condition. Luis Rovira believed that somehow modern medicine could cure or at least improve his daughter's condition. Only after an exhaustive series of examinations by medical specialists who offered no remedies did Rovira begin to come to terms with the permanence of Pamela's disability. 15 One mother apparently waited several years after her family doctor diagnosed her son as mentally retarded to seek help and counseling. She chose to wait in the hope that her "child would improve" and because "she didn't have the courage" to reach out for assistance. 16 At a time when motherhood almost completely represented a woman's identity, giving birth to a disabled child caused feelings of shame, guilt, and fear. 17 One newspaper article, for instance, described the deep emotional heartache that mothers experienced after finding out that their "baby is broken." 18

Most doctors in the 1950s and 1960s strongly recommended that parents institutionalize their mentally retarded child. Doctors encouraged institutionalization in part to prevent parents from getting overly attached to a child, who, in doctors' minds, would inevitably be placed in an institution at a later date. 19 Mrs. Duggan acknowledged, for example, that if problems developed with her daughter as she aged, they "might consider institutionalizing her." 20 And of course the postwar social norms of conformity also pressured parents to place their disabled children in institutions. One couple feared that their newly born mentally retarded child would "hurt them socially" and decided to transfer the two-day-old baby directly from the hospital to a private institution. 21 Ultimately parents had to choose for themselves what was best for their child and their families. Luis Rovira decided along with his wife to place their daughter Pamela in Ridge. "It's not easy to accept the idea of separating yourself from your child," he remarked. "It's a traumatic experience and people have to work out that experience [in] different ways. Some fall back on faith. Some families disintegrate because of the tremendous conflict. Some can never accept the diagnosis that there will not be a cure." 22

Waiting lists grew at institutions as many parents followed their doctors' advice. The post-war baby boom strained already underequipped, understaffed, and underfunded state facilities and even many private facilities. 23 The residents at Ridge certainly fared no better than those in many other institutions. In the 1940s, Ridge housed "50 to 60 children in one room, with a single attendant." 24 By 1951, administrators openly complained of the overcrowded conditions. 25 The following year, officials at Ridge were warning that parents would have to wait "from one to sometimes five years for the possible admission of their son or daughter." 26 In addition to overcrowding, the care was inadequate. One parent removed his son after thirty days because his son's health had rapidly deteriorated. He became bedridden, "looked like a skeleton, and couldn't stand." 27 Even at prominent medical facilities, conditions were harsh and even cruel. Carl and Merry Lou Nuernberger placed their eighteen-month-old daughter in the Omaha Psychiatric Institute for a couple of months of "treatment." The staff refused to allow the Nuernbergers to say goodbye to their daughter. Worse still, the staff abruptly discontinued bottle feeding and literally starved the baby until she finally began to eat. Almost forty years after they placed their daughter there, the Nuernbergers described the program as "mean-spirited" and "harmful to their daughter." 28

The neglectful atmosphere and abusive treatment of mentally retarded children at Ridge and other institutions no doubt encouraged parents to keep their children at home. Some parents began ignoring medical advice to institutionalize their children because parents' experiences did not seem to correspond to doctors' descriptions of raising a retarded child. 29 Doctors, for the most part, exaggerated the difficulty of home care and by the mid-1960s newspaper and magazine articles began to feature parents who had disregarded medical advice and kept their disabled child at home. 30 Yet, in most communities during the 1950s and early 1960s, including Jefferson County, there was little if any community support for parents with mentally retarded children at home. As a result, parents often felt isolated and alone. "Nobody told me," recalled Moulton, "what to do with a child with mental retardation." 31 Books by national figures like Pearl Buck, The Child Who Never Grew (1950), and Dale Evans Rogers, Angel Unaware (1953), dealt with their experiences as parents of mentally retarded children but offered only the most superficial type of support. Rogers' book encouraged parents to take their disabled children home, asserting that "love will help more than anything else in a situation like this," but her ability to hire private nurses and housekeepers seemed to speak to only a select group. 32 In the end, as Lillian Archer observed, parents, especially mothers, had to raise their disabled children themselves. 33

Separately Coming Together

The issue of education for children with mental retardation became a major concern for parents, including those parents in Jefferson County. Prior to 1978, officials could deny a mentally retarded child admission to public schools based on intelligence quotient (IQ) scores. During the early twentieth century, two French psychologists, Alfred Binet and Théodore Simon, set out to devise "a series of tests to identify and classify feeble-minded children for placement in special classes." 34 Over the years, with additional research, these tests evolved into what is commonly known as IQ exams. By the 1950s, many school psychologists generally classified mentally retarded children into three categories. 35 The "educable" were those children with IQ scores between 50 and 75; psychologists believed these children could benefit from an education. At the next level were the "trainable," children who usually scored between 30 and 49 on IQ tests. Any child scoring below 30 on the exams was labeled as severely mentally retarded and was considered "untrainable" and "totally dependent." In 1960, just sixteen states mandated schooling for the highest category, children regarded as "educable," and only thirteen states required programs for students labeled "trainable." For the most part, schools simply excluded severely retarded children classified as "dependent." 36

In many ways this three-tiered classification system became a blueprint for the structure of the parents' groups that formed to help their disabled children. Parents organized according to the classification of their child. They wanted to obtain some type of educational services for their children or improve those services already provided. Prior to the formation of the Jefferson County School District in 1950, parents of disabled children had been unable to convince the four largest independent school districts in the county to offer "classes for handicapped children." Each of the districts claimed that "it hadn't enough children nor enough money to support even one class." Prodding from the Society of Crippled Children and Adults finally convinced the newly formed Jefferson County School Board to partially fund a single demonstration classroom, the School for Handicapped Children, in the spring of 1951. The following school year, the board officially incorporated the demonstration classroom into the school district as the Special Education School housed in the rented basement of the Wheat Ridge Methodist Church. Gradually, the Special Education School grew, moving to a rented brick home in 1953 and two years later occupying a portion of George Eiber Elementary School in Lakewood, Colorado. By 1960, the special education program enrolled 337 pupils with a range of disabilities, including children classified as mentally retarded (but "educable"), blind and partially sighted, deaf and hard-of-hearing, and physically disabled. 37 Those children attending the segregated special education classes received all the benefits of a public education: bus service, classrooms, playground equipment, teachers, and school supplies. 38 In March of 1960, the parents of these children organized into the Jefferson County Exceptional Child Parent Teacher Association so as to provide support and advocacy for their children in the public school system's special education classes. 39

Parents of children on the lowest end of the IQ spectrum, those labeled as "dependent," also organized. For children testing below 30 on the IQ exam, institutionalization at Ridge often seemed the only choice. Although the institution initially accommodated children and adults with a wide range of mental abilities, Ridge and other similar institutions increasingly housed more and more high-needs children as many parents chose to keep their less disabled children at home. 40 The educational program at Ridge was literally starting from ground zero. During the mid- to late-forties, Ridge offered absolutely no educational programs at all. In 1944, the sole teacher resigned, and the school remained closed at least through early 1948. 41 By the mid-1950s, Ridge managed to offer a range of academic, music, craft, speech, and guidance classes as well as a nursery school and kindergarten. 42 Despite this progress, the Ridge Council for Retarded Children formed when over two hundred "parents, relatives, and friends of the retarded" gathered at the facility in 1956. 43 The group, led at first by Lois Rovira, soon joined together with parents at Colorado's other state home and training school located in Grand Junction and changed its name to the Ridge and Grand Junction Association for Retarded Children. The goal of the group was to offer "cooperation to the staff in their every effort in making life happier for the children." At Ridge, a volunteer group of parents, for instance, spent two thousand hours a month "on such activities as constructive play, pre-readiness grouping, and exercises for the crippled children who might someday walk, use their hands, or simply learn to feed themselves." They also focused their "efforts toward securing the many things which our normal children take for granted, but are considered 'luxuries' by institutions." 44 Luis Rovira concisely summed up parents' motivation by stating that "if my child had to be at Ridge, Ridge was going to be as good a place as I could make it." 45

This same desire to improve their child's circumstances, especially his or her educational opportunities, also motivated parents of "trainable" mentally retarded children to organize. The "trainable" children scored roughly between 30 and 50 on IQ tests, and Jefferson County public schools did not offer any type of program for these students. "Parents of a trainable mentally retarded child are caught in a squeeze," observed George Brantley of the Hope Center for Retarded Children located in Denver. "They pay school taxes like anyone else, but because their child is not educable, he can't attend the public schools. Then, because he is not considered custodial, he's not eligible for state care [at Ridge or Grand Junction]." 46 Trapped in between these two groups, these parents tried to construct some type of educational services for their "trainable" children. 47 Several parents sent their children to private schools like Laradon Hall in Denver or to programs with Easter Seals. These schools and programs were very small and constantly struggled to survive while depending heavily on parents' donated time and resources. Laradon Hall, for instance, schooled only fifty-four students and trained an additional twenty adolescents to work in a sheltered workshop, a separate place of employment for people with disabilities. 48 The Hope Center, opened in 1962 by a group of parents, constantly struggled to keep its doors open. In its first seven years of operation the center moved to four different locations searching for affordable and appropriate facilities. Parents volunteered in classrooms, collected supplies, cleaned and maintained rooms, and paid monthly tuition to keep the center running. 49 While parents deeply appreciated these arrangements and found them helpful, these private schools and programs still did not offer a viable alternative to a free public education. Private schools could not accommodate all children nor could all parents afford the tuition.

In January 1960, a small group of parents of mainly "trainable" mentally retarded children met in the Jefferson County Bank to form the Jefferson County Association for Retarded Children (JCARC). 50 At first no clear agenda dominated the JCARC's monthly meetings. Instead, these get-togethers served as social functions and as opportunities to gather information and solve problems. During one gathering that first year, for example, parents discussed training high school students to babysit their children. Meetings generally consisted of six to twenty parents and revolved around a film, a slide show, or a guest speaker. Professionals—doctors, state officials from the Department of Institutions or Education, or the director of special education at Jefferson County schools—usually spoke to the parents at their monthly meetings. A social hour customarily concluded each gathering and the Christmas party was the highlight of the year. The meetings served largely as a gathering of parents who shared a common experience and hoped somehow collectively to assist their children. 51

While these first meetings were mainly social and informal in nature, political concerns surfaced early on. During the April 1960 meeting, just four months after the initial gathering, Barbara Matthai "talked some about House Bill #36" which had just been recently approved. 52 HB 36 set up two-year pilot programs for "trainable" students, with the state and participating school districts evenly splitting the cost. 53 The JCARC parents quickly organized. They sent out a mailing to all families with children categorized as retarded, created a census of "trainable" children, held meetings with teachers, presented a proposal to the school board, and went through two school board hearings. "Many man-hours," states JCARC president Howard Matthai, "were spent by our members to bring the project to a successful conclusion." 54 The JCARC recommended to the Jefferson County School Board that two classes for "trainables," a morning session for younger students and an afternoon class for older children, should be established. 55 In February 1961, the Jefferson County School Board approved the "trainable" program and set the starting date for that fall. 56 Dr. Harold Brasell, the director of special education for the school district, explained to school board members that the curriculum would emphasize "pre-reading experiences such as motor and sensory training, personal hygiene,…improvement of speech, emotional control, rhythm, drawing, and learning to do simple tasks." The Eiber program, as the "trainable" pilot program became known, targeted those "children who have potentialities for training in activities involving self-care, social adjustment to groups, and possible usefulness in their home communities or in sheltered workshops." 57 The JCARC parents had succeeded in altering, to a slight degree, the county's educational structure with their first politically organized efforts.

Although funded by the state and the Jefferson County School District, the Eiber program was by no means equal to regular public schools. Unlike public schools, the Eiber program could not possibly accommodate all children. The school district tested 125 students and admitted only twelve—six children for the morning session and six for the afternoon. 58 Even though it was located at the George Eiber Elementary School, the "trainable" program was not allowed to use the school's resources. A temporary building housed the two half-day classes. Likewise, the "trainable" children could not utilize the school's playground equipment. Parents of mentally retarded children were responsible for bringing their children back and forth to school, and they also donated many of the classroom supplies. 59

Regardless of the promising start, the Eiber pilot program stayed afloat for only two years. Because the state did not initially agree to continue funding for the "trainable" program, the Jefferson County School Board decided in the fall of 1962 to terminate it after the spring semester of 1963. In May 1963 a group of parents led by Howard Matthai politely inquired as to why the Eiber program was being suspended. Matthai stated that the program had been "productive" and that the children "had developed very well." The state legislature had recently passed House Bill 272, Matthai argued, which would extend state funding for another year. Finally, Matthai explained that "the group [JCARC] was not asking for an indefinite continuation of the program, but would like to see it continued until the [community] centers [for the handicapped] are available in Jefferson County." The school board was not moved and responded that a reversal in the plans would require that "funds would have to be found elsewhere" and that while the state promised to fund 50% of the Eiber program, it only subsidized "about 25%." More to the point, board members wondered aloud whether it was the school district's responsibility to educate "trainables," especially considering the "excessive cost." 60

Despite failing to persuade school board officials to continue the Eiber program, JCARC parents had successfully experienced their first taste of political organizing to alter the educational system. Although the Eiber program was small in scope, through its implementation parents had demonstrated to officials that "trainable" mentally retarded children would benefit from an education, and they proved to themselves that they had the ability and resources to positively affect their children's educational opportunities. But because parents were ultimately dependent on school officials, who were more interested in maintaining the educational status quo than responding to the needs of children, the Eiber program success was short lived. Still, parents must have realized their potential to meaningfully change their children's futures.

Creating an Educational System

The creation of community centers to provide services for disabled children and adults allowed parents to form a separate educational system for their "trainable" mentally retarded children under their control and largely independent of outsiders. Thus, instead of directly challenging the education officials, as the Eiber program did, the community centers allowed parents, in a sense, to go their own way in charting their children's futures, circumventing the powers that be. In 1963 the state legislature approved two one-year "pilot demonstration projects" to meet the needs of mentally retarded and severely handicapped citizens within their communities. The following year, Colorado House Bill 1090 expanded the community center concept throughout the state. The purpose of HB 1090 was to provide a means "to purchase services through community incorporated boards" so as to offer an alternative to institutionalization. 61 The JCARC responded to these bills by creating the Jefferson County Community Center for the Retarded (JCCC) to purchase or create a wide range of services for their disabled children and adults. 62 In the autumn of 1964, the Colorado Department of Institutions began to purchase services from the JCCC Board, which consisted of various community representatives including social service organizations, the Jefferson County School District, and interested persons. From the JCCC's inception until the mid-1970s, the JCCC and the JCARC were, for all practical purposes, synonymous, as parents participated in both organizations and worked toward identical goals. 63

The Community Center rapidly expanded. In its second year of existence, the JCCC occupied three different buildings and offered a range of services. A heavy demand for JCCC services resulted in a waiting list almost immediately. By the late 1960s, enrollment increased almost 30% per year. 64 At that time, the JCCC program consisted of preschool, kindergarten, four full-day classes, a sheltered vocational workshop, and social adjustment classes. 65 The workshop offered older children an opportunity to develop vocational skills, and many continued to work there as adults. 66 The parental concerns of JCCC/JCARC motivated the creation of programs that guaranteed birth-to-death services, from preschool classes to the sheltered vocational workshop.

JCCC and JCARC parents were the driving force behind the creation of the Community Center and helped maintain its operation. Although the state purchased services through community center boards, the state did not pay 100% of the costs. Instead, HB 1090 established that the state would pay only 50% of the costs, not to exceed $500 per trainee, and that the state would not pay for any capital construction or maintenance. Yet in arriving at the cost per trainee, the state would take into account in-kind personal services and materials. 67 As a consequence, parents played a vital role in sustaining the Community Center. Before the JCCC even opened in September 1964, parents put in four hundred hours cleaning and painting the Center. 68 Fundraising became an endless chore for JCARC parents during the 1960s as they tried numerous methods to bring in dollars to meet their obligations under HB 1090. Parents, for example, gift wrapped presents, held bake sales, organized concerts, and conducted raffles. The JCARC used the money raised to purchase materials for the Community Center. The JCARC donated folding tables and a mimeograph to the JCCC, for instance, in 1965. 69 Two years later JCCC teachers needed equipment and supplies and the JCARC responded to their request with a $500 donation. 70 Transportation to the Community Center remained a constant problem. Initially several mothers formed car pools to transport their children back and forth. Eventually the JCARC purchased buses for the purpose of carrying children to the Community Center. By the mid-1970s, the JCCC bus fleet totaled twenty-three vehicles. 71

Regardless of the hard work, parents were extremely appreciative of the Community Center. For some parents the JCCC programs offered "hours of relief" from the constant care that a mentally retarded child required. 72 Other parents were simply "thrilled to have anything" or "grateful for something." 73 All of these parents vividly remembered that just a few years prior to the opening of the Community Center, their children had virtually no educational services. Peg Johnstone, the former director of the JCCC, recalled that parents were "pleased with what they had" at the Community Center, deeply appreciating services that most people would have taken for granted. 74 When Ann Moulton's son finally received bus service, for instance, she felt as if she had "died and gone to heaven." 75

Although parents played a critical role in organizing new programs and in helping to provide funds and materials, teachers and professionals also assisted in these measures and complemented the parents' efforts. Dr. Robert Weiland, the director of special education at Jefferson County schools, for example, was elected president of the JCCC board in 1964, and he held that position for the next 16 years. 76 Likewise, Peg Johnstone, the director of the JCCC, worked diligently with Maurice Archer, a parent, to convince Colorado legislators to increase funding. JCCC teachers also constantly pushed the children to perform at higher levels. In addition to reading, writing, and simple math, the JCCC taught basic living skills like cooking, grocery shopping, and bus riding. The JCCC teachers began to take students out into the community to work on living skills. The high levels of education achieved by students often far exceeded parents' expectations. Carl Nuernberger would have never imagined that his daughter would someday live independently in an apartment, ride a bus, or shop by herself. 77 The programs at the Community Center taught Nuernberger's daughter the skills she needed to function in a community environment.

While the programs at the JCCC were open to all who needed them, parents tended to view the center as "theirs." Because parents had invested so much of their time, energy, and money—many had assisted in building the educational programs from scratch—they naturally grew attached to the Community Center. Their hard work and dedication had resulted in very tangible signs of progress: classrooms, school supplies, buses, and a sheltered workshop. These physical changes measured, in a way, their children's educational progress. This parental attachment also extended to the group of children. Parents focused their attention on issues and concerns that corresponded to their child's ability. So it is not surprising that the JCCC concentrated on educating "trainable" children as opposed to more severely retarded students. In fact, the early criteria for admittance to Community Center programs required that children obtain an IQ score of 30 or above, placing them at least in the "trainable" classification. 78

Developing Sophisticated Political Strategies and Inclusive Beliefs

Soon the political beliefs of parents evolved to encompass a more inclusive outlook while their political strategizing became more sophisticated and aggressive. First, in December of 1972, the Colorado Association of Retarded Children (CARC), the state-wide representative of all the local ARCs, filed a class-action lawsuit against the State of Colorado and a dozen school districts, challenging the exclusion of disabled children from a free public education. In order to conceive and file the class-action lawsuit, parents had to undergo a shift in their philosophical outlook, moving from a perspective that focused almost exclusively on "their" children to an expansive view that included all disabled children. Second, parents in Jefferson County pushed for greater funding for the Community Center through a 1974 local school bond election. Like the use of courts, the decision to put a school bond on the ballot was not only an indication that parents were willing to try new methods to obtain their goals but it also signaled a shift toward more confrontational and sophisticated political tactics. In both cases, parents sought to attain a larger degree of institutional permanence for their children's education through bold political action.

In Jefferson County, parents pursued a more aggressive strategy for improving their "trainable" children's education as they gained their own political traction. From very early on, the JCARC learned the importance of collective action. During one of JCARC's early meetings, parents donated money so as to promote the bill to replace HB 36, which had established the pilot programs in the early 1960s. 79 In 1965, Denver Representative Victor Grandee spoke to JCARC parents about how the legislative process worked. Grandee emphasized two main points. He spoke of "the need for appropriate sponsors on proposed legislation" and "the need for a unified effort by interested groups to get the individual legislators' support." 80 In short, Grandee gave the JCARC parents an informal political lesson on how to successfully get bills passed in the Colorado legislature.

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, their political know-how began to pay off. While the programs at the Community Center pleased parents, funding was nevertheless a constant concern. Maurice Archer and Peg Johnstone persistently lobbied the state legislature for increased funding and their efforts were not completely in vain. The state agreed to pay 60% of the costs for community center services in 1967 and 75% in 1969. 81 Even with these increases, however, finances were still problematic. Under Dick Markley's leadership and with parents' support, the JCCC and the JCARC sought to increase funding for programs through new avenues. Markley no longer simply accepted the allocations from the Jefferson County School Board. Instead, he meticulously went through the Jefferson County school budget to verify that the Community Center was receiving all allotted funds. Markley discovered that some revenues had not been transferred over to the JCCC. Revenue from a vehicle ownership tax and federal impact dollars, for instance, were not being allocated to the JCCC. When Markley asked why these funds had not been received, school board officials replied that no one in the past had ever asked about them. 82

Parents, however, were not through demanding more for the JCCC. Regardless of the Community Center's success, the facilities remained second-rate in comparison to public schools. By the late 1960s, the JCCC occupied several buildings throughout Jefferson County. Some children still attended classes in a church basement. Overcrowding at George Hook Elementary School, a facility sold to the JCCC for $1 by the Jefferson County School Board, forced the use of temporary buildings. 83 In 1974 a parent was able to get several acres of federal land set aside for the Community Center if construction began within fifteen months. Unwilling to let such an opportunity slip away, considering the desperate need for better facilities, Markley began to aggressively court city officials for funds. Before the Lakewood City Council, for instance, he asked for over $600,000 for the Community Center and bluntly stated that "we pay taxes too, and our kids get the last of everything." Markley's initial lobbying efforts immediately ran into resistance as each municipality refused to agree to contribute their portion of funds for new Community Center buildings. 84 Markley decided that in order to capitalize on the federal land donation, a school bond was the only way to secure funds in time to build new classroom facilities. Although Jefferson School Board officials disliked the notion of the JCCC using a school bond election to obtain funds, Markley's homework showed that legally the JCCC could use such a method regardless of school officials' misgivings. 85

The tactics used to pass the school bond reflected parents' growing political sophistication. Parents were interested in simply getting facilities for their children, and they were not necessarily concerned about creating broad social awareness. As a result, in order to get the bond issue approved, they decided to keep the campaign low-key. Such a campaign, it was argued, would minimize opposition to the measure. Staff at the JCCC and the JCARC encouraged parents to contact ten people each to vote for the measure, reaching out to their co-workers, families, church members, and neighbors for support. Maurice Archer remembers urging people in his office to vote in favor of the bond issue. 86 We were "talking to people we knew," recalled another parent. 87 In addition, the JCARC hired Vera Shader, a mother of a son with mental retardation and a member of the JCARC, as a coordinator for the bond measure to organize the group's efforts. 88 While the Community Center school bond faced no direct opposition, it appeared on the ballot with two other school bond measures that did attract an active and vocal opposition. Letters to the local newspaper, the Lakewood Sentinel, clearly reflected this division. 89 The low-key campaign strategy and the hiring of an election coordinator worked. Of the three school bond issues on the 1974 ballot, only the Community Center measure passed. Voters approved it by a more than two-to-one margin. 90 With approval of the $3.3 million bond, the JCCC constructed two state-of-the-art school buildings, one of which was named in honor of Dr. Robert G. Weiland, the longtime president of the JCCC and the Jefferson County School District director of special education. Once the two facilities opened in 1976, twenty-eight students from Ridge attended the schools, weakening the division that had separated children with disabilities. 91

Along with the shift in political strategy, a new, inclusive framework began to emerge in the minds of many parents. Luis Rovira, who had struggled with placing his daughter Pamela in Ridge and who as an attorney would help lead and argue the class-action lawsuit in 1972, clearly articulated this inclusive viewpoint as early as 1965. "Parental interest for the most part is at the level their own particular child has reached," observed Rovira. "But the problem has to be attacked on a broad front. The parents who have been able to keep their child in the community have to be aware of what is going on at Ridge and Grand Junction—and vice versa." 92 Parents slowly began to reach out beyond "their" group. The Jefferson County Exceptional Child Parent Teacher Association, for instance, requested that a parent from JCARC serve on their board. 93 And the Ridge ARC invited the JCARC parents to their meeting on residential services. 94 Still this notion of sharing a common goal was hard to achieve given the way in which the state still divided services for children and adults with disabilities into three tiers. It would not be until 1987 that Ridge and the Jefferson County ARC finally merged their organizations.

The legal strategy leading up to the filing of the class-action lawsuit reflected this parental shift toward a more inclusive perspective. In 1967, the CARC began internal discussions about the possibility of a test suit "to force a school district to provide special education." 95 However, at the time, members of CARC had divided opinions and no clear consensus could be reached. Those favoring the suit argued that parents of mentally retarded children paid taxes to support public education and yet their children were denied these benefits. Opponents believed that persuasion on the local level for voluntary enactment of educational services would, in the long run, create greater community support. In either case, both sides had to weigh the ramifications of a possible courtroom loss. 96 At the time, victory was by no means assured and a defeat would only make future attempts to mandate education more difficult. Regardless of these legal risks, the following year the CARC began to explore possible strategies for a test case. They immediately encountered hurdles. First, they experienced difficulty in locating a willing participant, both a child and parents, for a possible test case. Second, the thinking at CARC was, to a degree, still being driven by the state's three-tiered educational division as they sought "a child of the right age and IQ." Finally, the CARC continued to approach the case in a singular fashion, thinking that an individual mentally retarded child's case would address all the issues related to education for disabled children. 97 They eventually realized that a test case in Pueblo, Colorado, for example, with an individual child would likely only "get that child in school and then suits would be necessary in every district." 98

By the summer of 1972, the thinking of the organization had changed and they had finally committed themselves to a much broader approach, a class-action lawsuit "on behalf of all handicapped children who have been denied a free education." The CARC now wanted to cover a wide spectrum of disabilities, not just mental retardation, a goal that went well beyond meeting the needs of an individual child. By 1972, they had "blind, crippled, mentally retarded, deaf, cerebral palsied and autistic children" as plaintiffs, and CARC board members were still being encouraged to "get more plaintiffs." 99 When they finally filed the class-action suit, Colorado Association for Retarded Children, et al., v. State of Colorado, et al., in December 1972, nineteen plaintiffs were named who were "fairly representative" of the children "who have been denied, or who have been threatened with denial…of a public education." 100 During the five-year interval between the beginning of discussions and the actual filing, the CARC had moved toward a more expansive and inclusive legal strategy.

Like any other civil suit, the CARC cited a number of legal arguments that supported its demand for education for all disabled children. Most importantly, the CARC rested its case on the claim that the denial of a free public education violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Rovira and the other attorneys linked this denial of free public education to the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) case but also stated that the consequence of an absence of free public education was far more severe for disabled children. "Absent education," stated the CARC v. Colorado filing, "the physically, mentally, educationally, perceptually, or speech handicapped, or otherwise retarded or handicapped citizen will be unable to provide for himself and may even be incapable of self-care and hence in jeopardy of institutionalization, loss of liberty, and even loss of life." 101 Rovira had long argued that every child, regardless of ability, benefits from an education. He believed that increased educational opportunities for disabled children would reduce the dependence on institutions. 102 The CARC also cited the recent ruling in the Pennsylvania ARC, et al., v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al. (1971) case which granted all children with disabilities in Pennsylvania a free public education. 103 Despite using these legal precedents, there were clear limits to the goals of the CARC case. The CARC wanted to get children with disabilities into schools but not necessarily into regular classrooms. "Plaintiffs do not here challenge the separation of special classes for physically, mentally, educationally, perceptually, or speech handicapped, or otherwise retarded or handicapped children from regular classes or proper assignment of such children to special classes." 104 Clearly, CARC and Rovira's thinking were aimed at simply getting children with disabilities into public schools.

In filing the lawsuit, the CARC named Jefferson County School District as one of the defendants. Even though Jefferson County had one of the best educational programs in the state for disabled children, the CARC nevertheless felt the need to show how even the best programs fell short of universal education. Two of CARC's plaintiffs, a child with autism and a child with an IQ between 49 and 54, claimed that Jefferson County schools had denied them an education. 105 Despite being named in the lawsuit, not all of Jefferson County officials were angry about CARC's actions. Dr. Robert Weiland, the director of special education, recalled no animosity between himself and the CARC. 106 In fact, Weiland had constantly worked to expand special education in Jefferson County. Rovira remembered that "Weiland understood" what the CARC hoped to accomplish with the lawsuit. 107

Notwithstanding the case's firm legal foundation and modest goals, the state and school districts, including Jefferson County, repeatedly entered motions to dismiss the case due to recent actions by the state legislature. In June 1973, the governor signed House Bill 1164. HB 1164 mandated education for all disabled children, regardless of disabilities or IQ levels. "Recognizing the obligation of the state of Colorado to provide educational opportunities to all children," stated HB 1164, "the purpose of this article is to provide a means for educating those children who are handicapped." 108 By July 1975, all school districts, according to HB 1164, were to implement the bill fully. The state and school districts argued that HB 1164 made the issues of CARC v. Colorado moot and asked for dismissal. Rovira countered that the mere enactment of legislation without implementation does not make issues moot. Only with implementation do the issues raised in CARC v. Colorado disappear. Rovira planned to continue the suit until HB 1164 actually accomplished what it was "supposed to do." 109 Rovira wanted to keep the pressure on the state and school districts. The likelihood that HB 1164 would go into effect by July 1975 seemed impossible, and the state's Department of Education admitted as much. 110 Even the federal government's passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 still did not persuade CARC to withdraw the suit. Eventually the suit remained in U.S. District Court going through numerous motions until education for all disabled children became a reality in Colorado in 1978. At that time, CARC dropped the suit.

Although school districts now assumed full responsibility for educating all children with disabilities, the two schools operated by the JCCC did not close immediately. "There was much discussion between parents and the [JCCC] Board as to whether the Center should continue school programs or allow the school district to provide them," recalled Peg Johnstone. "Each year, the parents were asked for their preference and the Center was determined to be the choice." 111 As a result of this decision, the Jefferson County School District paid for the educational services provided by the JCCC. Parents preferred the continued use of the Weiland and the Margaret Walters schools in part because of their highly trained teachers and staff and because of the schools' specialized facilities and equipment. The Weiland and Walters schools eventually closed in May 2001 when the Jefferson County School District finally assumed direct responsibility for educating all children with disabilities.

A focus on the grass-roots efforts to transform educational policy for children with mental retardation reveals the importance that disabilities played in shaping public policy long before federal intervention. School district officials repeatedly clashed with parents of disabled children over who should or should not be in the classroom. It was in these battles at the local and state levels where the political transformations took place and where parents honed their political skills. In many ways, these struggles at the state and local levels were precursors to efforts to obtain federal guarantees and protections. And in the case of Colorado, by the time federal legislation won approval and took effect, most of the educational goals that parents desired had already been accomplished, diminishing the transformative importance of federal policy on daily lives. The efforts of parents of children with mental retardation had already opened the local schoolhouse door.

I would like to thank DePaul University, specifically the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences for a Summer Research Grant and the University Research Council for a Competitive Research Grant, for funding the final stages of research and writing. Thank you to Bob Schulzinger for guiding the early research and writing of this article. The generous and warm hospitality of Carol and Rad Byerly made my research trip enjoyable and stretched my funding to allow more me more time in Colorado. I would also like to thank Sarah Rose, Bettina Nicely Johnson, R. Todd Laugen, Chris Stacey, Ralph Mann, Paulette Foss, Scot Danforth, and two anonymous manuscript reviewers for all their comments.

Endnotes

  1. Terminology is an important issue within the disabled community. "Mental retardation," "mentally retarded," and "retarded" will be used throughout this article in historical references and to reflect their common usage during the post—WWII years. These terms are currently considered unacceptable and offensive by some people while others consider these terms acceptable. "Intellectual disability" is the term currently used by most people to describe what would have been considered mental retardation in previous decades.
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  2. Ann Moulton, interview with author, March 21, 1995. Upon hearing the diagnosis that her son was mentally retarded, Moulton knew that she would no longer have the time to pursue her dream of becoming an attorney.
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  3. Stephen J. Leonard and Thomas J. Noel, Denver: Mining Camp to Metropolis (Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1990), 297-322 and 481.
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  4. Fifteenth Biennial Report of the Board of Commissioners and the Superintendent of the Colorado State Home and Training School for Mental Defectives, Ridge, Colorado, Period Ending November 30, 1940 (no place, no date), 3 and 5.
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  5. On the national level, this inclusive philosophy was used only when advantageous, if at all, at this time.
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  6. To see how bureaucratic politics shaped mental retardation policies on the federal level see Edward D. Berkowitz, "The Politics of Mental Retardation During the Kennedy Administration," Social Science Quarterly 61 (June 1980): 128-143.
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  7. Susan Schwartzenberg, Becoming Citizens: Family Life and the Politics of Disability (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2005); Larry A. Jones, Doing Disability Justice: 75 Years of Family Advocacy (no place: Lulu, 2010).
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  8. For examples of a broad national focus see Allison C. Carey, On the Margins of Citizenship: Intellectual Disability and Civil Rights in Twentieth-Century America (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009), 105-159; James W. Trent, Jr., Inventing the Feeble Mind: A History of Mental Retardation in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 225-261. For examples of works examining local or state events for a brief period see Katherine Castles, "'Nice, Average Americans': Postwar Parents' Groups and the Defense of the Normal Family," in Mental Retardation in America: A Historical Reader, edited by Steven Noll and James W. Trent, Jr. (New York: New York University Press, 2004), 351-370; Janice Brockley, "Rearing the Child Who Never Grew: Ideologies of Parenting and Intellectual Disability in American History," in Mental Retardation in America, 130-164; Kathleen W. Jones, "Education for Children with Mental Retardation: Parent Activism, Public Policy, and Family Ideology in the 1950s," in Mental Retardation in America, 322-350.
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  9. Felicia Kornbluh, "Disability, Antiprofessionalism, and Civil Rights: The National Federation of the Blind and the 'Right to Organize' in the 1950s," Journal of American History 97 (March 2011): 1023-1047, quotation, 1027. On the importance of disability as an analytical tool see Catherine J. Kudlick, "Disability History: Why We Need Another 'Other,'" American Historical Review 108 (June 2003): 763-793. For an example of using disability as an analytical category on the state level see Thomas A. Krainz, "Transforming the Progressive Era Welfare State: Activists for the Blind and Blind Benefits," Journal of Policy History, 15 (2003): 223-264.
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  10. Moulton, interview.
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  11. Dick and Marilyn Markley, interview with author, March 27, 1995.
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  12. Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (New York: Basic Books, 1988), 135-161; Jones, "Education for Children with Mental Retardation," 324-327; Brockley, "Rearing the Child Who Never Grew," 148-149; Carey, On the Margins of Citizenship, 106-107; Trent, Inventing the Feeble Mind, 239. The trends discussed in this section are all mentioned in Schwartzenberg's Becoming Citizens.
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  13. Dr. Joseph Rossi, director of the Children's Development Center at the University of Colorado Medical Center, commented on this focus on youth and vigor. For both Rossi and Duggan, see Rocky Mountain News, September 21, 1965, 37.
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  14. Maurice and Lillian Archer, interview with author, March 21, 1995.
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  15. Luis Rovira, interview with author, April 4, 1995.
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  16. Colorado Association for Retarded Children (CARC) Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, January 7, 1967, 1, CARC Board Minutes and Executive Committee Minutes, 1966-1968, the ARC of Colorado offices, Denver, Colorado (hereafter referred to as ARC of Colorado offices).
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  17. Leslie J. Reagan, Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), 63-67; Barbara Hillyer, Feminism and Disability (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993), 72-135. Jo Lynn Osborne "felt paralyzed by anxiety, fear, and grief" after her son's cerebral palsy was confirmed. Osborne's son, David, was born in 1975. See Jo Lynn Osborne with Amber Dahlin, Try Another Way: A Story of Self Determination (no place: no publisher listed, 2008), 13. Also see Denver Post, Empire Magazine, February 9, 1964, 10-12; Rocky Mountain News, October 13, 1954, 34; April 12, 1962, 16; September 20, 1965, 53; September 21, 1965, 37; September 22, 1965, 48; Denver Post, Contemporary, October 13, 1968, 16-18. Plenty of tears often accompanied confirmation of a diagnosis. Louise Ravenel of Charleston, South Carolina, remembered crying for four months after she learned of her son's mental retardation. See Christopher S. Wren and Charlotte Brooks, "Retarded Child in House Full of Love," Look, December 1, 1964, 32.
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  18. Denver Post, Contemporary, October 13, 1968, 16.
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  19. Benjamin Spock, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, rev. ed. (New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1957), 590-593. Also see Denver Post, Contemporary, October 13, 1968, 16-18; Wren and Brooks, "Retarded Child," 36.
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  20. Rocky Mountain News, September 22, 1965, 48.
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  21. Wren and Brooks, "Retarded Child," 36.
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  22. Rocky Mountain News, September 21, 1965, 37.
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  23. To get a visual image of some of the worst of these conditions see Burton Blatt and Fred Kaplan, Christmas in Purgatory: A Photographic Essay on Mental Retardation (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1966).
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  24. George V. Kelly and Harry Farrar, Garden of Hope: Laradon Hall (Boulder, CO: Pruett Publishing, 1980), 15.
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  25. Twentieth Biennial Report of the Executive Assistant of the Colorado State Home and Training School, Ridge, Colorado, for the Period Ending June 30, 1951 (no place: no publisher listed, 1951), 5.
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  26. First Annual Report (Succeeding Twenty-First Biennial Report) of the Executive Assistant of the Colorado State Home and Training School, Ridge, Colorado, for the Period Ending June 30, 1952 (no place: no publisher listed, 1952), 3.
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  27. Kelly and Farrar, Garden of Hope, 15.
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  28. Carl and Merry Lou Nuernberger, interview with author, April 4, 1995.
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  29. Nuernberger, interview.
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  30. Wren and Brooks, "Retarded Child," 36; Rocky Mountain News, September 20, 1965, 53; September 21, 1965, 37; September 22, 1965, 48.
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  31. Moulton, interview.
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  32. Dale Evans Rogers, Angel Unaware (Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1953), 15; Pearl S. Buck, The Child Who Never Grew (New York: J. Day Comp., 1950). Also see Eunice Kennedy Shriver, "Hope for Retarded Children," Saturday Evening Post, September 22, 1962, 71-75.
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  33. Archer, interview.
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  34. Peter L. Tyor and Leland V. Bell, Caring for the Retarded in America: A History (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1984), 106.
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  35. The reliability of IQ scores to measure intelligence has been hotly debated. Researchers have argued over many topics related to IQ including the accuracy of the tests, the constancy or inconstancy of scores, and the meaning of the results. See Hamilton Cravens, Before Head Start: The Iowa Station and America's Children (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 1993), 96-104 and 130-200; Scot Danforth, Laura Slocum, and Jennifer Dunkle, "Turning the Educability Narrative: Samuel A. Kirk at the Intersection of Learning Disability and 'Mental Retardation,'" Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 48 (June 2010): 180-194.
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  36. R. C. Scheerenberger, A History of Mental Retardation: A Quarter Century of Promise (Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing, 1987), 161-162.
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  37. "Jefferson County Special Education School History to September 1960," 1-4, Jefferson County Exceptional Child PTA Scrapbook, vol. 1, the ARC—Jefferson, Clear Creek, and Gilpin Counties offices, Lakewood, CO (hereafter referred to as ARC Jefferson County offices) .
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  38. At first, during the 1951-1952 school year, the district charged $180 tuition to at least some, if not all, parents for the special education classes. This appears to be a one-time occurrence as no other records indicate a similar tuition fee for subsequent school years. See Jefferson County School Board Minutes, September 5, 1951, vol. II, 85, Jefferson County School Administration offices, Golden, CO (hereafter referred to as Jeffco offices). Also see "Special Education Program for Handicapped Children in Jefferson County Colorado District No. R—1," 1-2, Jefferson County Exceptional Child PTA Scrapbook, vol. 1, ARC Jefferson County offices. By 1967, Jefferson County School Board defined "educable mentally handicapped children" as "those persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years whose intellectual development renders them incapable of being practically and efficiently educated by ordinary classroom instruction in the public schools, but who nonetheless possess the ability to learn and may reasonably be expected to benefit from special programs designed to aid them in becoming socially adjusted and economically useful." In addition the child must have an IQ between 50 and 80. See Jefferson County School Board Minutes, June 20, 1967, vol. 18, 307, Jeffco offices.
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  39. "Jefferson County Exceptional Child P.T.A.," Jefferson County Exceptional Child PTA Scrapbook, vol. 1, ARC Jefferson County offices. The Jefferson County Exceptional Child PTA was separate from the regular PTA.
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  40. State of Colorado Fourteenth Biennial Report of the Superintendent of the State Home for Mental Defectives, Grand Junction, Colorado, for the Biennial Period Ending June 30, 1947 (no place: no publisher listed, 1947), 7.
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  41. Seventeenth Biennial Report of the Superintendent of the Colorado State Home and Training School for Mental Defectives, Ridge, Colorado, Period Ending June 30, 1945 (no place: no publisher listed, 1945), 7; Eighteenth Biennial Report of the Superintendent of the Colorado State Home and Training School for Mental Defectives, Ridge, Colorado, Period Ending June 30, 1947 (no place: no publisher listed, 1947), 7; Rocky Mountain News, February 24, 1945, 7; January 23, 1948, 22.
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  42. Biennial Report of the Colorado State Home and Training Schools Wheat Ridge and Grand Junction for the Period from July 1, 1954 to June 30, 1956 (no place: no publisher listed, 1956), 13. Also see E. N. Roselle, "A Survey and Report on Two Public Institutions in the State of Colorado," December 1954, 33-34, Box 10163, Colorado State Archives, Denver, CO.
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  43. Biennial Report of the Colorado State Home and Training Schools From July 1, 1954 to June 30, 1956, 15.
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  44. Biennial Report of the Colorado State Home and Training Schools Wheat Ridge and Grand Junction for the Period from July 1, 1956 to June 30, 1958 (no place: no publisher listed, 1958), 6.
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  45. Rocky Mountain News, September 20, 1965, 53.
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  46. Denver Post, Contemporary, November 2, 1969, 6.
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  47. Parents in Washington state and New Jersey pursued similar strategies of creating their own educational facilities. See Schwartzenberg, Becoming Citizens, 35-62 and Jones, "Education for Children," 336-338.
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  48. Denver Post, November 4, 1965, 39.
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  49. Newspaper articles chart the struggles of the Hope Center for Retarded Children, formerly known as the Retarded Children's Center. See Rocky Mountain News, May 20, 1963, 8; January 24, 1967, 30; Denver Post, December 19, 1965, 60; November 17, 1968, 2; March 31, 1969, 14; September 26, 1969, 33; Contemporary, November 2, 1969, 6.
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  50. Max G. Frankel to Friends, no date, "Jefferson County Committee for Retarded Children," Jefferson County Association for Retarded Children (JCARC) Minutes, 1960, ARC Jefferson County offices; "History at a Glance: Jefferson County Association for Retarded Citizens, 1960-1978," 1, ARC Jefferson County offices. The trend of parents coming together was not unique to Jefferson County. Since the 1930s, parents in various locations had been forming local organizations to assist their mentally retarded children. In the postwar years this trend accelerated and proliferated across the nation. Several of these parent organizations came together in 1950 to form the National Association for Retarded Children. By 1958, at least 550 local and state ARC chapters had organized, and this number increased to 1,500 by 1972. See Jones, Doing Disability Justice, 1-86; Trent, Inventing the Feeble Mind, 240; Sara D. Stutz, "The Rights of the Retarded," Parents' May 1972, 112; Cary, On the Margins of Citizenship, 107-109. Prior to 1952, the National Association for Retarded Children called itself the National Association of Parents and Friends of Mentally Retarded Children before shortening its name.
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  51. JCARC Minutes, 1960-1964; ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  52. JCARC Minutes, April 25, 1960, ARC Jefferson County offices. The Colorado Legislature approved the bill on February 19, 1960. See Laws: Forty-Second General Assembly of the State of Colorado (Denver: Branford—Robinson, 1960), 192-196. It is unclear who was behind HB36, but it appears that the Colorado Association for Retarded Children (CARC) was the main force behind the legislation. CARC was an umbrella organization representing all the county level ARCs. CARC mainly focused its attention on legislative matters.
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  53. Laws: Forty-Second General Assembly of the State of Colorado, 192-196.
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  54. Howard Matthai, "JCARC Annual Report of the President, 1960-1961," JARC Minutes, 1960, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  55. JCARC Minutes, July 12, 1960, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  56. Jefferson County School Board Minutes, February 7, 1961, vol. 12, 23, Jeffco offices; Matthai, "Report of the President, 1960-1961," ARC Jefferson County offices. It is a bit unclear if Jefferson County School District fully participated in the pilot program or created a slight variation on the program. According to Peg Johnstone, the Jefferson County School District "was not chosen for the pilot project, but at the urging of the Jefferson County ARC, did agree to provide two pilot classrooms." See Peg Johnstone, "25 Years of Caring, 1964-1989," 2, ARC Jefferson County offices. But according to school board minutes, the state did contribute to the costs. Also see Denver Post, January 5, 1962, no page number, which lists Jefferson County as one of six school districts participating in the pilot program.
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  57. Jefferson County School Board Minutes, January 31, 1961, vol. 12, 13, Jeffco offices.
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  58. JCARC Minutes, September 20, 1961, ARC Jefferson County offices. Records from the Jefferson County Community Center for the Retarded (JCCC) put the number of children in each class at eight. See JCCC Board Minutes, "Progress Report, September 1964," Developmental Disabilities Resource Center offices, Lakewood, Colorado (hereafter referred to as DDRC offices).
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  59. Archer, interview.
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  60. Jefferson County School Board Minutes, May 7, 1963, vol. 14, 47, Jeffco offices.
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  61. Laws: Forty-Fourth General Assembly of the State of Colorado (Denver: Bradford—Robinson, 1964), 495. According to Peg Johnstone, the former director of the Jefferson County Community Center, "the ARC's and many interested groups began working on a concept of a statewide system of agencies to provide community training and employment for retarded and seriously handicapped children and adults." See Johnstone, "25 Years of Caring, 1964-1989," 2, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  62. The first meeting of the JCCC was held in October 1963. See JCCC minutes, October 8, 1963, JCCC Board Minutes, 1963-1967, DDRC offices. For work on HB 1090 see JCCC minutes, April 22, 1964, JCCC Board Minutes, 1963-1967, DDRC offices.
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  63. Beginning in the mid-1970s, the JCARC and the JCCC split over the notions of normalization and Citizen Advocacy promoted by Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger. JCARC adopted many of Wolfensberger's ideas by promoting mainstreaming for all students with disabilities while the JCCC wanted to maintain the separate Community Center schools and the sheltered workshop.
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  64. Ann Moulton, "30 Years History at a Glance: Association for Retarded Citizens in Jefferson County, 1960-1990," 3, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  65. Jefferson County School Board Minutes, October 5, 1965, vol. 16, 151, Jeffco offices.
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  66. Johnstone, "25 Years of Caring, 1964-1989," 3-4, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  67. Laws: Forty-Fourth General Assembly, 496.
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  68. JCARC Minutes, October 21, 1964, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  69. For an example of the wide-range of donated goods and volunteers see JCCC Minutes, "Donations and Gifts to Center Since July 1, 1964 to March 31, 1965," JCCC Board Minutes, 1963-1967, DDRC offices. Also see JCARC Minutes, January 20, 1964 and March 17, 1965, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  70. JCARC Minutes, January 9, 1967, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  71. Markley, interview. Also see JCCC minutes, September 15, 1965, October 6, 1965, and March 29, 1967, JCCC Board Minutes, 1963-1967, DDRC offices.
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  72. Archer, interview.
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  73. Nuernberger, interview; Moulton, interview.
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  74. Peg Johnstone, interview with author, April 11, 1995.
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  75. Moulton, interview.
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  76. Johnstone, "25 Years of Caring," 3, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  77. Nuernberger, interview.
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  78. JCCC minutes, "Criteria for Admittance (December 1964)," JCCC Board Minutes, 1963-1967, DDRC offices.
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  79. JCARC Minutes, September 20, 1961, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  80. JCARC Minutes, January 20, 1965, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  81. Laws: Forty-Sixth General Assembly of the State of Colorado (Denver: Bradford Printing, 1967), 417-418; Laws: Forty-Seventh General Assembly of the State of Colorado (Denver: Bradford Printing, 1969), 487-488.
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  82. Markley, interview.
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  83. Lakewood Sentinel, May 16, 1974, 5.
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  84. Lakewood Sentinel, May 23, 1974, 13. During the previous fall, Markley and Johnstone wrote letters to each municipality requesting funds. This effort likewise failed. See JCCC minutes, October 8, 1973 and November 12, 1973, JCCC Board Minutes, 1973-1974, DDRC offices.
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  85. Markley, interview.
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  86. Archer, interview.
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  87. Nuernberger, interview.
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  88. JCARC Minutes, May 16, 1974, ARC Jefferson County offices; Lakewood Sentinel, May 16, 1974, 5. JCCC also formed a committee to promote the school bond. See JCCC minutes, March 11, 1974, April 8, 1974, and May 13, 1914, JCCC Board Minutes, 1973-1974, DDRC offices.
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  89. Lakewood Sentinel, May 30, 1974, 61 and 63.
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  90. Lakewood Sentinel, June 6, 1974, 1 and 5.
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  91. Rocky Mountain News, Home Living, November 27, 1976, 8B. The other school was named Margaret Walters School, honoring a long-time Red Cross volunteer. See Johnstone, "25 Years of Caring," 9, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  92. Rocky Mountain News, September 21, 1965, 37.
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  93. JCARC Minutes, September 8, 1965, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  94. JCARC Minutes, April 18, 1973, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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  95. CARC Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, December 2, 1967, 3, CARC Board Minutes and Executive Committee Minutes, 1966-1968, ARC of Colorado offices.
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  96. Rovira, interview.
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  97. CARC Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, February 17, 1968, 2, CARC Board Minutes and Executive Committee Minutes, 1966-1968, ARC of Colorado offices; CARC Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, January 18, 1969, 2, CARC Board Minutes and Executive Committee Minutes, 1968-1972, ARC of Colorado offices.
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  98. CARC Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, February 17, 1968, 2, CARC Board Minutes and Executive Committee Minutes, 1966-1968, ARC of Colorado offices.
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  99. CARC Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, June 10, 1972, 6, CARC Board Minutes and Executive Committee Minutes, 1968-1972, ARC of Colorado offices.
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  100. CARC v. Colorado, U.S. District Court, Denver (C-4620), 5, National Archives and Record Administration, Rocky Mountain Region, Denver, CO (hereafter referred to as NARA Denver).
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  101. CARC v. Colorado, 4, NARA Denver.
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  102. Rovira, interview.
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  103. CARC v. Colorado, 7-11, NARA Denver; Carey, On the Margins of Citizenship, 144-147.
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  104. CARC v. Colorado, 11, NARA Denver.
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  105. CARC v. Colorado, 17-19, NARA Denver.
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  106. Robert Weiland, interview with author, March 27, 1995.
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  107. Rovira, interview.
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  108. Laws: Forty-Ninth General Assembly of the State of Colorado (Denver: Bradford Printing, 1973), 1258.
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  109. CARC Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, December 15, 1973, 1, CARC Board Minutes and Executive Committee Minutes, 1973-1975, ARC of Colorado offices.
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  110. CARC Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, June 15, 1974, 5, CARC Board Minutes and Executive Committee Minutes, 1973-1975, ARC of Colorado offices.
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  111. Johnstone, "25 Years of Caring," 12, ARC Jefferson County offices.
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Copyright (c) 2013 Thomas Krainz



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