Katie Dolan; Activist

 Katie Dolan, a long-time activist for the rights of disabled people in Washington state, died last Saturday, the Seattle Times reports.  I had never heard of Ms. Dolan but I'm glad to have read about her important contributions. 

Her family was among the first to participate in Northwest Center, which provided developmentally disabled students with teaching and jobs.

In 1971, under what he once called a "tidal wave" of pressure from Mrs. Dolan and others, then-Gov. Dan Evans requested the Education for All Act, to make clear that Washington state children have a constitutional right to education in the public schools, regardless of disability.

In fact, Evans is related to one of the crusading parents and he "recognized the value early on," said Janet Taggart, one of the activists.

It was the first such law in the nation.

It started for her in high school.

As a Franklin High School student in 1943, she persuaded her father to drive her to Camp Harmony in Puyallup, where persons of Japanese descent were interned. There, she delivered graduation diplomas to her friends Jane and Beth Sugura, according to the late Seattle Times columnist Emmett Watson 50 years later.
Thanks to Mary Griffin, president of the Special Education PTA, for this story.


Anonymous said…
We live in the Mount Baker house Katie's family owned and where she grew up, just three blocks from Franklin where our son is a junior and our daughter graduated this year. It's an honor to live in the space Katie once did.

RosieReader said…
I love learning about such impressive people who helped shape our city. Thanks for posting this.
Anonymous said…
It is truly unfortunate that in spite of this amazing place that Washington State plays in the history of the rights of students with disabilities in public education, Seattle Public Schools is so far behind the curve. I hope Supt Banda looks at this Washington State history and uses it to motivate all of his departments to get moving to deliver on IDEA in letter and spirit.

sped parent
Anonymous said…
Nelson Mandela just passed away.

What does the subject of this thread, Mandela, and so many of our great leaders, have in common?

Empathy. Out-of-the-box thinking. Persistence over time. The desire for life-long learning.

Standardized tests measure none of this. Leaders who make a substantive impact on the "human" factor of humanity may or may not have been great students.

I hope my children are both "book" smart as well as "social conscious" smart at the end of their K12 education. But if I had to choose one path to "success" in my eyes, it would be would be "social conscious" smart over "great student/great college" smart every single time.

Not everyone agrees with this view, and that is fine. We need all kinds of achievement in this big world.

But it pains me to say that too few SPS schools offer students the tools for excelling in either area.

Thanks Ed Voter, I had not seen that.

What a man.

I agree with your assessment but we need to give kids the skills to make those critical assessments (no pun meant) to know what REALLY matters in this world.
Anonymous said…
It is pretty amazing that we continually hear about "the federal government" who hasn't fully funded special education. And, this is always a big excuse for not providing special education services. Katie Dolan insured that Washington students with disabilities ALREADY had the right to an education... before any such requirement by the feds in Washington's "Education for All" act. That is, special education is actually a state obligation - completely... here in Washington state. Any amount we receive from the feds as a result of IDEA for students with disabilities is gravy.


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