Date of Award


Document Type

Research Paper

Superseded Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (Special Education)

Colleges & School

Cardinal Stritch College

Degree Granted By

Cardinal Stritch College

First Advisor

Sister Gabrielle Kowalski, O.S.F.

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Children with mental disabilities--Education (Secondary)


Mildly retarded secondary students have no less the same dreams as their nonhandicapped peers. However, too often secondary curricula fall short of helping these students to achieve successfully even a small part of their dreams. Secondary programs are often in limbo trying to serve students who are too old for early intervention and too young for adult service programs. Traditionally, the outcomes of many secondary programs for mildly retarded students have been defined in terms of the number of skills that students learn to perform in the classroom. These skills are meaningless unless they can be generalized to real-life situations. Vocational training and community education can help to provide opportunities for transference. Unfortunately, the outcome of most secondary programs has not allowed these individuals to obtain a quality of life comparable to their nonhandicapped peers. The truth is that secondary curriculum for mildly retarded students appears to have very little, if any, impact on their eventual adjustment to community life. There is a large dropout rate of special education students--over 30%. Of those who remain and graduate, very few obtain employment with a salary above minimum wage. Many families view their special needs graduate as largely unemployed, physically inactive, socially isolated, and fully dependent on family resources with little or no outreach to community involvement. The strong emphasis on academic skills has not adequately prepared the educable mentally retarded (EMR) student for employment options and community living. Secondary curriculum models for EMR students appear to be in need of serious rethinking, revamping, and effective implementation. Part of the problem stems from the struggle educators have had in deciding what is the most effective placement for mildly retarded students. It still remains an unresolved issue after more than fifty years of study and debate.


Open Access

OCLC Number


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