We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

For "Children Who Vary from the Normal Type"

Special Education in Boston, 1838-1930

Robert L. Osgood

Publication Year: 2000

In his perceptive study of the education of disabled children during the 19th and early 20th centuries, Robert Osgood focuses upon the Boston school system as both typical and a national leader among urban centers at that time. Osgood points out that a host of significant figures worked in education in the region, including Horace Mann, George Emerson, and John Philbrick, and also Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Samuel Gridley Howe, Edouard Seguin, Hervey Wilbur, and Walter Fernald, each of the latter group noted for first founding and/or directing institutions for individuals with disabilities. For “Children Who Vary from the Normal Type” describes the growth of Boston and its educational system during this period, then examines closely the emergence of individual programs that catered to students formally identified as having special needs: intermediate schools and ungraded classes; three separate programs for students with children; special classes for mentally retarded children; and other programs established between 1908 and 1913. Osgood describes these programs and their relations with each other, and also the rationales offered for their establishment and support. This detailed examination graphically depicts how patterns of integration and segregation in special education shifted over time in Boston, and provides a foundation for continuing the present-day discussion of the politics and realities of inclusion.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF

title page

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. iii


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. iv


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. v


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. vii-viii


read more

1. Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 3-9

...A number of scholars and practitioners have strongly supported more inclusive or integrative approaches to educating such children. Bilden, Stainback and Stainback, Wang, Will, Ferguson, Skrtic, and others argue that while inclusion is a practical, effective approach to placement and instruction, more importantly, the ethical and legal considerations in the pursuit of true equity in education demand it. Others, such as Kauffman, ...

read more

2. Boston 1630-1930: An Overview

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 10-20

In 1630 John Winthrop and his fellow English colonists established a settlement on a small, narrow peninsula extending into Massachusetts Bay. Over the next three hundred years this community, named Boston in honor of many of the settlers' hometown, would undergo a profound transformation from a quiet, seventeenth-century coastal village to a major twentieth-century metropolitan area. The city's physical geography would...

read more

3. Building the Boston Public Schools

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 21-41

The long history of public education in Boston began in 1635 with the founding of the city's first public school. From this single institution (the original Boston Latin School, open to young men interested in the ministry), Boston developed a massive, highly organized system of public education designed to accommodate and instruct its school-age population. That system struggled constantly to gain the support of the general public...

read more

4. The Emergence of Special Education

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 42-63

The profound and fundamental changes in public education that took place in Boston during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries reflected similar developments in public schools throughout the United States. The common school movement, the crusade for a businesslike efficiency in public school systems, and the rise of progressive education and child study were all national movements that dramatically affected the...


read more

5. Intermediate Schools and Ungraded Classes

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 67-92

The nineteenth century constituted a period of profound change for public schools in Boston as they adjusted their purposes and organization to suit the increasing social, cultural, and economic diversity of the city. The school leadership determined early in the century that the ideal of a common education for all of Boston's children was ill-advised in practice. Beginning in 1820, when the school system was small and loosely defined, ...

read more

6. The Horace Mann School for the Deaf

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 93-117

Until the late 1860s, severely or totally deaf children in Boston had few opportunities for elementary education. Their disability prevented any substantive participation in public schools, and attendance at the closest residential institutions for deaf education (at Hartford, Connecticut and Northampton, Massachusetts) proved difficult for many, impossible for others. Opportunities for private instruction existed but were extremely...

read more

7. Disciplinary Programs for the Boston Schools

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 118-126

The axiom that public schools represented a fundamental weapon in the battle against poverty and crime remained strong in Boston through the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. One result of this powerful and durable belief was the continued effort to bring into the public schools children whose public behavior and/or private life style allegedly threatened the stability and security of the city. Because supporters of public...

read more

8. The Boston Special Classes

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 127-146

Elizabeth A. R. Daniels opened the first class designated specifically for "mentally defective" children in the Boston public school system on January 30, 1899. Between twelve and fifteen boys and girls attended the class held in room 9 of the Rice Schoolhouse on Appleton Street in the South End. Until December of that year, Daniels's class was the only one of its type in the entire school system. In just over twenty years, however, the...

read more

9. Programs for Children with Other Disabilities or Special Needs, 1908-1930

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 147-166

The first two decades of the twentieth century were times of dramatic change in the Boston public school system. Between 1900 and 1920 that system, like most large urban American school systems, underwent the reorganization of top-level administration and the creation of a multitude of new departments and bureaus. In addition, a fundamental shift in the general curriculum toward vocational preparation of a large portion of the...

read more

10. The Legacy of Special Education in Boston, 1838-1930

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 167-178

A primary purpose of this study has been to examine some of the early history of special education as a means to better understand the potential obstacles and opportunities inherent in a more inclusive approach to the education of public school students with disabilities. Looking at the origins of special education in Boston is a valuable process for two reasons: Boston's story reveals a wide range of theory and practice related to the...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 179-205


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 207-214

E-ISBN-13: 9781563682162
E-ISBN-10: 1563682168
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563680892
Print-ISBN-10: 1563680890

Page Count: 220
Illustrations: 4 tables
Publication Year: 2000

OCLC Number: 47010614
MUSE Marc Record: Download for For "Children Who Vary from the Normal Type"

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Special education -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- History -- 19th century.
  • Education -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- History -- 20th century.
  • Special education -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- History -- 20th century.
  • Education -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- History -- 19th century.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access