Monroe County Education Center celebrates its 50th anniversary

Goff Justice announces a $20 million expansion of nursing education programs

Donald A. Spencer

Monroe County Education Center Celebrates The 50Th Anniversary Of Its Opening.

My former colleague and Director of the Monroe County Education Center, Carol Lennox Carlton, often says she loves her job because she “sees miracles happen every day.” Her words came to mind as I sat down to write some thoughts about this little school on Raisinville Street that opened 50 years ago and has since dramatically changed the lives of so many students and families.

Donald A.  Spencer

The school that today educates approximately 140 students with moderate to severe and multiple cognitive disabilities was opened after Michigan passed Public Law 198 of 1971. This law mandated that every student with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education. Historically, this right was denied to students with cognitive impairment, then called mental retardation, until that time. One intelligence test was used to determine who would or would not be able to go to school. Because of this vulnerability, parents have been asked to keep their children at home and in the same way often to place them in an institution where they are stored away from the love and care of their families and communities. The untold heartbreak and human tragedy that resulted lingers among these families today. But make no mistake, it was the parents and families of these kids who changed the laws and created the Monroe County Education Center.