Mothers usher education for all
(1965 - 1971)
In a time when the choice for supports and services for children and adults with disabilities was between nothing and residential institutions, a small core group of Seattle-area mothers, organized to change that reality. Our founding mothers wanted their children to be a part of the communities where they lived. They refused to accept the status quo in which public schools were able to pick and choose who they would and would not educate, where rejected children were institutionalized or confined at home while others went to school.
They started the Northwest Center in 1965 with a $20,000 grant from the Boeing Good Neighbor Fund to educate children rejected by public schools. Viewing that as only a temporary fix, they moved onto to create the nation’s first state mandatory special education law, the Education for All act, in 1971 with the help of a couple of law students they recruited from the University of Washington. As a consequence they were invited to San Francisco and Washington DC to help draft a national mandatory special education act, enacted four years later.