Everybody's mountain; 3; Evanston Township's Mentally Handicapped Program
Everybody's mountain a program in the recorded series written and produced by Robert Louis Shea on with the author as narrator. I was a citizen taxpayer on a mission behind the blackboard cutting of contemporary American education. I traveled throughout the United States for six months. I saw schools universities and educational experiments from Boston to Chicago from San Francisco to Miami. I began my journey in the valleys of generalization abstraction and controversy in education. I ended it on mountaintops of educational leadership and imagination. This broadcast is a report on one of those mountaintops the education of the mentally handicapped in Evanston Illinois. Evanston Township High School in Chicago's wealthy suburban area along the north shore of Lake Michigan has been called the Harvard of secondary schools in the United States. It has a $40000 electric pipe organ a million dollar not a Tory and with two swimming pools a library of more than 25000 books and one of the top ten records in the
country for students winning the coveted national merit scholarships. One of its more than 3000 students is a tall blonde husky young sophomore a member of the school's swimming team. His coaches Dubey button from a Big 10 champion from the University of Michigan. Debbie When did you meet Tom. Well I met him last year ago in November when he tried out for our swimming team here. What did you think of him when he swam for you when I thought time was a fair prospect. He was a nice built boy and they look fairly relaxed in the water. But what specialty did you start him out. Well we started out in the crawl stroke and then we switched him over about Christmas time into the butterfly breaststroke. So why did you switch. Well you seem to have great flexion in his legs and he had good flexion his arms unable to get his arms on the water because this is a very difficult stroke. He seemed to just have a little natural ability toward in his hardest coordination of all the strokes that we have here. How about a demonstration time do a couple which butterfly breaststroke for me. Now this is time stroke here this butterfly breaststroke
polyphyletic. Oh he has very strong shoulders and terrific flexion in his legs. Tom boasted himself out of the pool and came over to us. Are you enjoying being on the swim team. Well it's really a lot of fun to do. It's the group I think is a finance coach in the country. What about your academic program what do you study to English to me. Are you getting vocational guidance. Yeah you know about anything in particular. Well the job I don't know what I want to do yet. Dobbie after Tom's initial training you put him in the freshman division of the suburban league swim meets. How did he make up. Well at first he was defeated. But as the year went along he started winning more of a man. And in our championship the band and I were all the eight schools meet time a one that have 50 yard butterfly and set a new record for this event. Time has worked tired after our swimming season he went into a physical conditioning program getting a little more strength inflection on the off season. This summer time works for me as a lifeguard. Fine country club on the north shore here. What are you premium for. We're going to move him out of the virus to this year is going to
jump right over that sophomore division because he's way ahead of the sophomores and I think he's going to be a fine addition on that feisty team. Time I could go on and become a very good prospect for the Olympic team. Maybe not in 1962 but in 1964. Tom is one of 36 Boys and Girls in Evanston High's mentally handicapped program. The meaning of the words mentally handicapped or mentally retarded has been carefully refined by educators. There was a time when attendance was not compulsory in our public schools. Children who seemed unable to learn as much or as readily as most simply dropped out. Some got work others just hung around unhappy of no use to the community. With the coming of compulsory attendance laws our schools have to deal with a spectrum of problem children who couldn't or wouldn't keep step with the average. They were the left backs the repeaters the failures who were just passed up along the grade ladder until they reached the age limit and were dumped
separately. Patiently the teachers broke the problem child spectrum up into its component pans the emotionally disturbed and the ones with speech or sight difficulties the physically handicapped or those with low intelligence due to brain injury at birth or other factors often unknown. Mr. Lewis is a reporter for The Chicago Sun Times. His son Jonathan is 15. He's been at Evanston high for two years. Where did he go to school before that Mr. Lewis. We found it necessary to send him to a private school a specialized school because there were no public facilities in the communities where we had lived before which were adequate to give him the kind of education he needed. Then he received similar academic experience in the elementary grades as he would have received if he had been able to attend a regular public school.
But in a sense he was in a segregated school with children like him. He was in a highly protected the environment that's true. Then when you transferred him to a public school. How did he adjust to the new experience. The adjustment was much more rapid much less difficult than we had expected. Even in the elementary grades the mentally handicapped children in Evanston Township share activities with the average students. A mentally handicapped child is not mentally deficient. A mentally deficient child whose intelligence is extremely low is called trainable but not educable. It is assumed that he cannot profit from a high school education that he cannot hold a job or be socially competent mentally deficient. Children can be placed in state residential schools and cared for throughout their lives. The verbal like you have a mentally handicapped child is generally between 50 and 80. Or. Above 80. The child may be a slow learner. Often found in remedial classes. Mentally Handicapped Children are usually retarded two to four
years in all academic subjects. Mr. LEWIS What were the two things you have to watch for when Jonathan came from a private school to an Evanston Township junior high and one that he could adjust to socially to the new situation which was brand new to him and to that he could do the academic work the academic program adjustment was quite easy for him. It was the social adjustment and the rough and tumble of a after school situation. It was through the guidance of his counselors and his teachers there that he was able to adjust quite rapidly. And has he continued that adjustment here in high school at Evanston. Oh yes indeed. Jonathan Lewis is a pleasant polite serious youngster with a sparkling grin. People enjoy him. He wants to be a reporter like his father. This is Margaret West is one of Jonathan's teachers a soft spoken gentle. She has two daughters of her own. She taught German and Latin in an Omaha high school but special education captured her heart. Shes taken graduate work at the University of
Nebraska Illinois Minnesota at Columbia University and at Heidelberg in Germany. In addition to their work in regular classes she and Jonathan often meet together informally. John I'd like to know how you're getting along in school this year. I'm getting along fine Mrs. West thank you. Are you enjoying your typing class. It's coming along. I have to practice at night every night whether I want to or not. And I feel typing this a very important thing to know and it should be a required subject. I understood you like to play football is that right. No I don't like football too much I like swimming swimming better. Oh fine. Do you have any pets at home John. Yes I have a dog named frisky. What kind of a dog. She is a shepherd collie a shepherd collie does that take lots of care. Oh it sure does. And she is a good house dog. Once in a while she runs out but she doesn't get hit by a car she has enough sense. You have how many brothers I have. Just one brother his name is David.
I know you enjoy being with your father and mother you went on a trip together recently did you not. Yes we went to Washington D.C. We had lunch in the Senate lunchroom where Senator Douglas Oh how interesting. Tell me about it Donna throughout. My dad had some some important material to talk over with the senator. Senator Douglas was interested in this. My dad had some work on the Indiana Dunes that's what he was assigned to. So Senator Douglas invited us all to lunch. How interesting you and your brother went along with your mother and father. Yes. And and I went to complement my brother he was very well-mannered behaved. The students talk over their personal problems in such counseling sessions. One of Jonathan's classmates is the daughter of a high school principal. Others are children of doctors workers college professors. Mentally Handicapped Children are supposed to be weakest in the area have general information. Enid Pierson another teacher quizzes the class.
What are some of the important facts that we have learned. Alaska Well Alaska is our forty nine STATE OF THE UNION. Juno is the capital of Alaska. Can anyone else name another one. We also know that Mt. McKinley is in Alaska. And what about the continent of North America. Mt. McKinley is the largest mountain of North America. Now are we going to say the largest Are we going to say the tallest my tallest mountain. Now can you think of another important fact Ketchikan a city in Alaska as an important fishing center and canned salmon. All right can we think of another something else. Girl was discovered in Alaska. Right. Totem poles in Alaska awful. And where are most of the totem poles located two miles west of catch Kim. Yes that's what we're told right now we made a totem pole here in
class. What type of totem pole is it. Totem Pole All right. It's a house post. And what does the top most figure mean. That's the one that helped the most in the family to maybe save someone have done something that would help the most and that's reason why he's always on. Ok now who made our top figure. Did anyone tell you Jeanne what did it mean when you made it. Later the energy factor is intense for these students in such academic learning. In an average classroom. They would be throwing things out of windows from frustration and tension. Here there is time to relax to have a variety of experiences. There is a cash register in the room a typewriter a sewing machine. One girl gave a smiling
poet has a need to wander around the room. The girls bake biscuits in a practical kitchen and serve tea to guests. Adolescence is a time when the girls begin to feel inadequate. They need to be reassured that there is a place in society for them. They use for what they can contribute as children is job holders as parents. Mrs. West asks the girls what they have learned so far that will make them better homemakers cooking cooking. All right what else do we do in our room that might make you a better homemaker. Sewing sewing. What else could we do we do besides cooking and sewing that might help you in your own home when you have a home of your own. Keep your dream. What project did you have last year that might help you Jack. Care soo you did very well in the magic. We had last year. What did you do to help your family. I made a meal for the four of us and my brother worked from
Korea after five so I made a fine one meal a week you were responsible for Weren't you for the buying for the cooking and the cleaning up. Today we want to have a lesson in our kitchen and you girls will be doing the work to find out if you like the tomato juice better than the fresh tomato juice. We have it on this board here and I'd like to have you read to me the different steps that we will go through and Diane I'd like to have you take the first one please. How do you clean the tomatoes put in cold water. What's the next step. Karen would you read a piece for pieces. Fine. What's the next step in our recipe. So you put the tomatoes in a saucepan next. Cook slowly until tomatoes a soft. What do I mean by cooking slowly under a summer light burning.
That's right that's very important. What's that. What is a sea of you know do you have one at home. All right we have three different kinds in our kitchen. And by the way this is something interesting. You girls are going to buy the new equipment that we're going to use in our kitchen this year and we need many new things. They're saying that tomorrow will be also to look in our kitchen and find out the new things we need and then we'll go downtown and buy the new equipment by following recipes the girls learn about numbers and fractions by going shopping downtown as a class. They learn how to travel in the city four or five years ago these girls could not follow directions. They're from a primary grade teachers who visit the classroom are amazed at the progress they have made. Dr. Lloyd asked Michael principal of Evanston high recalls a banquet in which students from the entire school were recognized for their achievements. A boy from the mentally handicapped class received an award. Many prominent Evanston citizens called to commend the action. Some call to
complain. Evanston high they said is not the place for this. Dr. Michael many observers of our public schools today suggest that perhaps these children don't belong in a comprehensive high school. Well I biologically disagree I believe that the role of the public Comprehensive High School is to reach all normal users of the community and by normal use I would mean. Young men and young women who can profit from a high school education who may be expected to take their normal place in society as worthy citizens as productive workers. As a member of a family and these young people with whom we're working are certainly in our definition of normal. Young men and young women and the responsibility of the school to them is as great as it is to any other group of students in the school and
education for the mentally handicapped which does not include Vocational Guidance and eventual job placement is like buying a car on time payments and failing to make the final payment. The special class teaches survey the community for jobs for their students. They seek out employers. Joel was 19 he was graduated from Evanston recently and he works in the produce department of weed bolts and Evanston department store. Joe often comes back and shares his experiences with the boys and girls. John what do you do on the job but we pots I trim corn. And celery and I you know I also weigh the scale and then when the pros come in on a truck I go back and take it off and put it on trucks and will a better place where we put in the ice packs. Do you work a full eight hour day 40 hour week and you work here before you graduated from Evanston didn't you Joe he said and how did you get the job on this west.
Took me down with an application. What job did you do here at the school I worked in the cafeteria and I also worked in the library and the creaking there when you got out. How did you find that the training helped you when you work to rebuild supermarkets and help me go along with the people or other people. Robert we bought is the director of personnel for Weibo it's department store. Mister we brought What skills does Joe's job require. Well he does a vegetable trimming which is a job that requires a good deal of dexterity. It isn't a menial type job. Joe is not being paid by the lower scale. Our union requires that we pay thirty eight dollars we're paying Joel $44 where your store has a record of cooperation with the training program here. How many people do you think you have. You know we have three employed during the past five years we have employed approximately 10 of these people. So how do they fit into your total personnel problems. Frankly they fill a great void in our personnel program.
Generally our problem is matching the applicant with the job. We want a job that the person can be content with doing that can satisfy his needs and desires because he's going to do a much better job for us he's going to stay with us a longer period of time and be generally more productive. So this if used properly can reduce turnover considerably. A recent 10 year follow up survey shows the success of the students in continuing to stay on their jobs. Graduates hold jobs as bellhops busboys nursery school help as they work in TV and candy factories. Some of the gals have homes of their own. Several of the boys are in military service overseas. One boy owns his own motorcycle and makes deliveries for a hospital and drug supply house. How about Jonathan Mr. Lewis. Have any vocational plans crystallized in your family's mind about your son's future. Not yet and not at this age. We feel that he should be in high school
until he completes his senior year sometime in the junior and senior year. It will be more impossible to tell what he can do and he'll get that vocational guidance and planning. Very much so as a matter of fact we're leaning very heavily on the advice we got from Evanston Township High School and the special program as to what his capacities are and what is. Vocational interests really are. Well this extra two years employment because in some cities the program for the mentally handicapped terminates after the first two years. That's true in many cities which have a program of our own and high school have it only for two years until the child is 16 years old and then eligible under most state laws to work in the longer Jonathan stays in high school the better it will be for him. Very very definitely. The more education he can acquire the better equipped he is to get out and shift for himself. The cities where the high school education of the mentally handicapped ends after the first
two years. I expect the children who have reached the compulsory age limit to transfer from the protected classroom to real life situations without help in competition with adults of average intelligence. A group with whom they have never been able to compete. In Evanston high the training in skills attitudes personal conduct and emotional security which are necessary for success on the job begins in the freshman year and continues until the children are graduated. Even then there is follow up. The students walk in and out of school. They receive credit for their job experience. Today in our vocational training class the soft Moore's Let's continue our talking about various jobs that we've thought about and enjoyed and some of the things we're thinking of Fred Rosamond's taught in the special education field for 10 years. He took his master's in education at the University of Indiana. He was once a counsellor for emotionally disturbed children.
They were was the Janet you'd be interested in. I would be interested in being a bellhop. Well I like helping people doing things far. Have you done that. Yes I did it this summer. Sally what about you. I do you know I like to be a nurse or secretary. OK now we're lucky today to have a couple of the Juniors who handle occasional training and are now on their job experience. How much time a day do you spend on it first. What period I have working there seven. Sometimes I run errands run off Gramps probably deliver some messages I'll bet. What about your interview when you first went in to find out about this job what things you remember about it and were you able to using the things we talked about. Well when I went in I didn't have any gum and I just we were talking of different things that I had to do. Very good Diane is one of our seniors What are you doing this year. I'm working in the faculty day Miss Davis taking trays out how many people
now are working outside of school. That is I have an extra job so what is your job. Let me check out their hand again. What are you doing. I deliver groceries in a truck or truck. The minute a clock to. About six I think. Good. Johnny How might you. Well this summer I worked at in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania at my grandfather's office. Every day I went down there about 11:30. I would. Go to lunch. Then I would straighten the magazines and file cards. And sometimes I would run errands for my grandfather go to the bank in cash checks and generally make myself useful. Remember on that first paper you said you recommend that to anybody who has a grandfather who's a dentist. MS has to see but bridges the director of special services for exceptional children in the Evanston public schools. Working with these children miss Babbage must be a deeply
moving experience for you. What are some of the personal satisfactions that you derive from it. I think one of the greatest satisfaction that comes from the fact that these young people can become contributing members of their school and their community that they really are sharing they are receiving but they're also giving a great deal to their community. One of the rough spots the rough spots are. Helping parents understand and accept. These young people as they are. With their limitations. And also want to help them realize that their potentials are greater sometimes than we can expect. Also to help parents realize that some youngsters cannot achieve at the level that they would hope that they might achieve and helping them to accept this fact is not an easy one. Messina Pearson was born in Round-Up Montana. She has a master's degree from the
University of Denver. Why did you come to Evanston Ms Pearson to join this particular program. Before I decided to come to Evanston I looked around at the various states in the West and the Midwest and went to visit as many schools as I could to get some idea of their philosophy behind special education in one state. Their program was around what I would term as babysitting. They kept their students busy copying material which they couldn't possibly have understood. And part of the time they would do janitorial work around the school. This was just a custodial program in other words yes it was and I just can't see spending my time teaching in a school where I would not be permitted to attempt to teach the student something. Did you observe the same characteristics in other states. I know some states are attempting to set up some kind of program where they teach the
students how to carry on an occupation after school but so many of them I found were carrying on this idea of babysitting waiting until the child was 16 years old and then letting them go. And what did you find in Evanston that cracked you and made you want to participate in its work. When I was interviewed I was very particular wanting to know how do you screen these students for the program. Do you have a good screening program. And they did. And I want to know about the goals Well they are interested in the students having some academic background. They want to educate them to their fullest ability no matter whether it's to the fourth grade level sixth grade level what it really is. And along whatever line that's what I'm interested in. Dr. Michael do you think every Comprehensive High School in the country should have special education for the mentally handicapped.
It should include a definite effort and a successful program to meet the needs you have difficult. In some situations due to the smallness of the school when the relative number of such students may be too few to have a teacher or to have a class situation for them this constitutes a problem. What about communities that a smaller miss by Bitch how can they meet this problem. It is possible for several high schools to cooperate in financing and planning a program for these young people and have an area program. Dr. Michael your normal per pupil cost here in Evanston last year was about six hundred seventy five dollars. What was the special services cost per pupil. The cost of this program last year on a per pupil basis was approximately 900 special education meets the needs of about 2 percent of the school children in this country Miss Beveridge. Would you say it was an expensive investment in human resources. Its very cheap when you consider that there are young people who
are in mourning situations where the cost is more than $4000 per year per child. It is impossible for us to estimate in money what the worth of an individual is in our country. The parents of Evanston is mentally handicapped but educable children do not accept the school's special program as a gratuity. Mr. Lewis Why do you feel that the program is the school's obligation. The problem posed by a handicapped individual is not only very individuals problem or the problem of his family but it's a problem of society. Unless the potential of the individual is taken into account and some provision is made to enable him to realize his potential then this individual becomes a drag not only on his family and on himself but on the whole community. Evanston is one of the few communities in the United States which recognizes this responsibility and we think it pays off.
Many school systems in the United States do not send mentally handicapped children to high school. They are still to be found among the 14 15 and 16 year olds who have failed and are now over age in grade. Until every mentally handicapped child who can profit by it is given a high school education. The general raising of the academic level for average in gifted students will make a holler with human sound. The education of the mentally handicapped is your mountain to your children's Mountain your neighbor's mountain. Education is every body's mountain. They recorded series everybody's mountain was written and produced by Robert Louis Shea on for the Educational Television and Radio Center. The programs are distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. The series consultant was Dr. Ernest O MELBY professor of education at Michigan State University and former dean of education at New York
University. This is the NEA E.B. Radio Network.
- Everybody's mountain
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- National Association of Educational Broadcasters
- National Educational Television and Radio Center
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- A series on educational leadership and imagination in the United States today.
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Narrator: Shayon, Robert Lewis
Producer: Shayon, Robert Lewis
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: National Educational Television and Radio Center
Writer: Shayon, Robert Lewis
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University of Maryland
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- MLA: “Everybody's mountain; 3; Evanston Township's Mentally Handicapped Program.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 5, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-fj29dw0f>.
- APA: Everybody's mountain; 3; Evanston Township's Mentally Handicapped Program. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-fj29dw0f