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This is a federal case from Washington D.C. the National Educational radio network brings you an examination of current issues facing our nation and its capital city. Who then is that you say use of my name. A good. Thing here. Oh I know you don't even say anything. You know. My name. I have my name. I love my mom. My mom. How are you my man. I am. I love is a word to say that Nicole. I was. Very. Funny a rabbit. And. My name is a Public Information Center report retarded children. Or are they.
All right. You can tell me what to do. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. These children are classified by our psychologist real child guidance with this title and before this title is hunted down and I use the word hung in its proper perspective. Really hung like a big car he said you know I am stupid and I think they're giving a complete psychological why clinical psychologists. So what's it's made to be very formal It's almost an institutionalized kind of home out to it. It's done by the book it's done by all the right methods everything else. And kids are kind of with IQ below 75 I believe are classified as mentally retarded. Dr. Seymour gangs superintendent of schools and I have to let me just close some
facts things into your computer that perhaps started in 1962 when I took over a public school only to the principal. I have 17 kids who were classified mentally retarded. We organized a class because these kids were waiting for a class and the class had been organized to hang up on a whole section of the class. After four years maybe three years but after four years that class was faced out of existence because the kids were in either one of the Jena High School or some went back to the regular classes and for the following three years out of a population of fifteen hundred each year some of the same kids but the lesser of two hundred each year. There wasn't one single child who was even
suggested for testing for mental retardation. What I'm saying to you is that if in three years out of a population of 15 hundred children per year that we didn't even have one kid who was to be tested for mental retardation in his class. My God what are we doing to these thousands of thousands of kids who are dropping into these classes without even a blink of an eye in the public schools. As you very well know I have been labeled retarded and many of them if not most of them are not retiring. They've been labeled by virtue of being tested on IQ tests by some colleagues who really weren't even competent doctor Mamie Phipps Clark director of the Northside clinic for child development. You your teacher makes that decision you know. It's that lame part shall we do here is. Just wage war on the public schools every day to test children and we find that they're not
retarded and we go to school just about how to get them back. Where they should be in class placement on get them to school to the school. That they should be you know who are educators. Sit back look at the psychological and that gives us our Safir of conscience. A scientist do you want to measure or rule for example the temperature of the room. He would take it from the top and the bottom and all the heat rises if not a top of the room would have to be rather than the bottom of the room and he wouldn't he wouldn't average but he would take his reading maybe 10 times over just to be certain. But no we in education in psychology are so damn sure of us that we can go in there give a kid a staffer Benaiah or works the WISC tests and say that's normal only this kid is mentally retarded and I think this is a crime. I think there's a great element of criminal negligence and malfeasance upon we were educators who dump kids into these kinds of classes let me tell you
probably the most dramatic example that I know of my experience with this kind of injustice was done I had a young man whose name was Loffredo pay God. He was in the mentally retarded class. He tested out about 71 IQ all the other requirements again in quotation marks were met. He was one of those 17 children originally in a mentally retarded class but the second year when he was in that class we began to form a school orchestra. We had some professor from one of the universities come in to teach our kids how to play them we had a string that we cannot organize a string orchestra is perfessor didn't know the kids and nearly sent a letter to all the teachers police and any child down was interested to the auditorium for a screening and by some act of God I guess. I don't know who Fredo happened to get into that. I
want to throw him when the kids were being screened. The person from the university not knowing the Fredo was mentally retarded you know just took refrain as a kid who was just part of the school. I'm sure even our own teachers and they were the greatest fact in the world you know would have looked that afraid of if was going to be one of my teachers and you know I thought well how can this mentally retarded kid play the violin. I would have probably rejected him without even as much as a as a trial the festa didn't because he didn't know him. So a photo passes this greeting another route quite knows you know what's going on for suddenly we all become aware of the fact that we're afraid o is in the orchestra playing the violin. I guess it was a miracle because as my friend began playing the violin afraid ols whole demeanor began to change. He began to do academic work in class we had to make special vision for him. He
began to even dress differently. He was socially suddenly socially mature and become I obviously say the morning Doctor guy I was like a morning afraid oh we have a you know really fantastic kind of wrapping session there. And to the point where we had a fight with BCG to get the kid retested because BCG is a bureau of Child Guidance by the way. Who puts the kids into the class. The point was that they said no you carry test me at number x number years haven't gone by. So we finally got to retested and he was to be put back into the regular class. I think every human being has something that unlocks him. You know there is a mechanism there is a button there is a trigger and this orchestra unlocked are afraid of that the confidence in himself. He got the assurance of is own ability to succeed at something. And he had some latent kind of musical skills
because he was able to play the violin and no child who was mentally retarded. It would take would even it wouldn't take a psychologist to make this statement. But no child who is mentally retarded can possibly use the kind of fine finger skills and mental skills to play the violin. So obviously afraid I was not mentally retarded. And yet he was in the class. And you know he was really fulfilling prophecy of mental retardation. And that's what this is where the terrible thing comes in. The kids are put into these classes. Even with testing and if you want to accept the ability of the testing and as much as kids who fulfill a prophecy of success which I believe in a self-fulfilling prophecy it works both ways. And when you put kids into these classes and they're together as a group with this kind of prophetic this functioning then I think you really do mean these kids for the rest of their lives. I have to tell you. Frankly I think it's a racist thing. I think these teachers are
prejudiced they don't think you. Can learn. Black and Puerto Rican children as being the racism the vicious form of racism. I don't know why you. Have a pencil in your hand. I mean I don't know why you have a pencil. Is that the way to get something into your head. All right. Put on. Your hats what else. Can. My. My. My. My. My. My. My. My. Very good might be little me. Mate. I'm. A. Man very. Much. My.
Muscles. May. Be a. Lady lady with this and. The sound of. And. What you do with your lips. When you say lady. You can. Lay me closing it right now it's opening it very smart something with an come on. I'm on. The match you I want you to sing. Think of something that starts with. Them.
Very early. In my. Life. This. Man. Again standing. Big with. The. Right. Hand. Man. And. These closing in on the young man with. A. Gun and then. We. Get. The. Point. Man Standing. Near. The. Ring. Ring.
I think of people of the events that black and Puerto Rican children don't know doesn't matter what incentives you devise or what process you put the kids you want to come play. I know what the answer is to it. What we try to do here is to make the parents away and what their rights are in the schools in regard to the children. You know for example if your child is dead tested you have a right to know the results of that test in the school board if your child isn't reading or isn't learning you have a right to have that principal or that teacher call you in the beginning to let you know and not to wait you know three four years before telling you that your child is not there or you have the right to go to school and serve your child in the classroom. You have that right. So I guess our approach is one of trying to get the parents into the school to open up the school. And to have the parent really be the end.
To me the Sunni's timelessness we who are supposed to be working in education don't know what learning is because we don't really know. We have some. Rough. Kinds of. Standards. Even IQ tests or intelligence tests which measure these children. If you take the whole purpose of testing the purpose of testing was not to see where the risk in the IQ test really was predicted to go back to the Stanford damnations what the child would do with academic work in school. Therefore that assumes that everything else is quite valid in other words the curriculum is quite valid. Ryan went to the school is quite valid the what the teacher brings to this classroom is quite valid when the child brings to the class was quite valid. You predicting the outcomes of something which you don't know anything about. I mean that's just about where it is. That's only
one part of the of the coin. The other part of the coin is that because we don't know. And never had the guts to say we don't know. We have invented this system and the system is education. Let me use that dirty word education establishment. OK. And we have set up schools and set of edges schools of education even get degrees out in education the methodology and so forth. Based on this whole thing of really not knowing what learning is we have ideas what may help a child remember that when learning is and then we set up a structure of classes. For example a 5 year old goes into the first grade of a six year old well you know it's not there but he is asked why he. Had a very simple answer if you really want to know it because it's the easiest way we can keep a count of kids that's the answer. Grade A primary is what we're trying to unlock. The old one house one room schoolhouse was really another grade of primary we had to tailor make individual programs for every kid.
But in large urban centers and throughout the country now we restructure the kids into our preconceived notion of what we can best handle. So we structured this evil fossilised this kind of thing into a structure and then we had to make the kids how to fit into our structure almost like a like a mailman with those big boxes you know in the rail cars you see the old western movies need putting mail letters into these as we do with kids was put into our structure. That's all a structure because when we don't know and too we have created what is easiest way for us not for the kids. Therefore when you have a group of kids who test out on a predictive scale that they will not succeed in in school what do you do. You set up a program for them which will unlock them. Hit that pagan button that I spoke about with a young child a violent No. All right these kids must go into a special class that's the easiest way for us to handle them. So we then invent the. Classes for the mentally retarded
kids. And this is where it becomes so prophetic. The reason why children don't learn is they're not taught by the teachers. They really found the children are handicapped in the wrist nothing is innate. In the children. Oh which one. Put their family if they were exposed to a good teacher. Ninety five percent of the Kurds. In Iraq today classified as mentally retarded don't log these kinds of classes. What are we doing to those kids by putting them in those classes. You're killing them you've got your side of the garbage heap many children are judged to be returned because I don't speak up and don't talk much on the quiet. Just any flimsy kind of reason can be given to cause a child to be lazy or retiring and it's amazing how the children do blossom and brighten up when they know that that label doesn't put them in that just the knowledge that that is enough to bring a child. And when that child knows that he can learn or he
sees that he can master a sense. By reading. It really opens up the real world for. What happens to the kid. When many thousands if not perhaps over a million kids in this country. Who are branded retarded. Who are not. And who are not told by someone like you are a member of your staff that he or she is not retarded. What happens to that blossoming this will fall down the drain. They really do. Their chances for making a decent livelihood for gaining a satisfying job will go on and they really just follow the dream man if you go running around then you certainly do. While in the street you see them you know the people sitting on the stoops with nothing to do really look at the people who. Just. Don't know. And these kids are going to have kids you know their kids are going to have kids it isn't just you know the world I won I won it's won with a geometric progression. And by and large the way kids are
raised either way they raise their kids of us I'm stronger than any force. Every time the federal government talks about improving education in the United States it seems to be by design or by accident. I'd like to mention these kids. Why is that I don't know. You're right and I never ever thought I just don't know I think I've been dealing with this problem that he kind of level. But you're quite right. The government has the right of this issue. I think it's one of the basic ways you can place it. For the most part the majority of teachers who as you well know white. Just don't cling to children can learn and they don't teach them they really don't teach them they have a hundred times a different special projects and special programs for the disadvantaged and they don't need all that. You know when you look at these programs what do you find is that those ones that are
affected are the ones in which you have simple teaching you this is what the people are doing it's not really anything special or added or enriching it's just teaching so that the whole system is geared to the fact that the children assume disadvantaged somehow has something within them that prevents them from learning. And this is where you start from in the city you don't start from the point of this job will learn if I teach it. To children here can learn just like any other children anyplace else and if you take children all across the United States you would have a very small percentage of children who are not American by virtually the same physical handicap or some kind of mental retardation a very small percentage. I think the only kids who are really on this level are kids who are organically deficient brain damage. I'm afraid that. This city in the state in this country we have doomed so many thousands and thousands and thousands of thousands of kids into these classes. We have been guilty of the worst sort of
criminal. Acts. We. See. The. Kids now they're isolated. The kids know all that they are called and called stupid or the dumb class. So this it's a kind of it's a kind of syndrome which we have developed as a society very well you try to shove them into a background so they don't exist like in a bed. So you go into a school you find some room there with nine or 10 kids by themselves and why you say they should be integrated in the regular curriculum the school should be going to the gym with the kids or assembly programs or if a kid has a special skill he can go up there isn't that much
give and take that pretty much leading isolated lives. And it's probably the way that anyone can accept it because it's like you know not going to the hospital to visit a sick friend but you don't you don't see you don't have to you know integrate in your own mind. Psyche. I think what we're doing is basically isolating the kids and just doing them to go ahead and fulfill what we have said will be the fulfillment of the words of life that's tragically untrained to be lived. Whose fault is that. It's just the educators. We have made the mold. We have prescribed. Watch out baby we have using our spins to rationalize our legitimatize all acts and it's our fault. But this interesting thing is that everyone is safe the kids fault after all he came to us to put him to us dumber. You know he didn't have the right genes or he didn't have the right
background or going to whole bed but it's awful and I'm saying is I haven't the answers by the way. What I'm saying is that the first time I got there was a minute so awful that we honestly face I won't go through this admission that we can perhaps talk to some place and see if you know how do we overcome this. How do we really meet the needs of these children and then the very end of the day and say you mind a good. Day. I know you think I'm you know. A. Retarded kid. All right that. Room 324. A special report. Produced by the Public Information Center in Washington D.C. music by Michael Baldwin and Richard Land. This is Jeff Cayman speaking. You've been listening to a federal case weekly examination of a national issue from the perspective of our nation's capital. This is the national educational radio network.
A Federal Case II
Episode Number
Room 324
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National Educational Radio Network
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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"A Federal Case II" is a weekly program produced by the National Educational Radio Network which examines current political topics in the United States and Washington, D.C. Each episode features interviews with experts, members of the public, and lawmakers concerning a specific issue of government.
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Politics and Government
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Producing Organization: National Educational Radio Network
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Chicago: “A Federal Case II; 16; Room 324,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
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