11. The History of School Speech Pathology



In the early 1970s courts began to address the issue of continued separate education of whites and blacks, long after the supreme court decision in Brown versus Board of Education in 1954.  To counteract the delay, “busing” was used to move black children to white schools.  


Resistance to bringing black children into schools paralleled resistance to bring handicapped children into schools, corrected by EHA 1975.  


We see massive citizen resistance historically to letting all children into schools according to compulsory education laws of the early 1900s.  Black children, Native Americans and the handicapped had nothing in common culturally and circumstantially.  They were excluded groups at the hands of Americans who wanted to keep education pure.  A Wikipedia post presents this useful post on resistance to busing:  


“Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR) was an anti-desegregation busing organization formed in Boston, Massachusetts by Louise Day Hicks in about 1974. The group’s purpose was to fight off U.S. Federal Judge W. Arthur Garrity’s court order requiring the city of Boston to implement desegregation busing — an order intended to eliminate de facto racial segregation in its public schools.   To supporters, ROAR’s purpose was its namesake; i.e., to protect the “vanishing rights” of white citizens. To its many opponents, however, ROAR was a symbol of mass racism coalesced into a single organization.”


Native Americans numbers in ordinary government schools reached a high point in the late 1960s. They brought different cultural and linguistic patterns into the mainstream classroom.




School speech-language pathologist and other related services personnel in the 1970s were faced with the growing inclusion of excluded groups. Black children were coming into SLP caseloads. Experts pointed out cultural and linguistic differences as affecting communication skills and learning styles. As of the 1970s, more pressure was placed on school SLPs to develop background in language, culture and communication.  However, speech-language professors in the universities were just beginning to include language courses in the curriculum.  The exotic idea of socio-linguistics was only on the horizon and in the end never caught on much. In the 1970s school SLPs were left on their own to understand “Black English” issues.


A fundamental issue existed as well: The majority of speech pathology students were white students, a factor in perpetuating the circumstance of school SLPs being white females.  

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