As part of the president’s push to lead the world in college graduates, the Education Department is funding $10.9 million in grants to help students with students with intellectual disabilities attend college.
“Intellectual disabilities” is the new PC term for mental retardation.
The money will fund transitional programs at two- and four-year colleges “that focus on academics and instruction, social activities, employment experiences through work-based learning and internships, and independent living.”
. . . Bergen Community College in New Jersey will use its $394,918 grant to serve 100 students with intellectual disabilities. Bergen Community College will work with Camden County College to provide job coaches who will shadow students at work sites, helping to reinforce job skills and assist with placement into employment. They will also provide peer mentors to support students in academic classes and ease integration of students into social events involving peers without disabilities.
Traditionally community agencies have provided job training, socialization and help with independent living for mentally retarded adults. It’s not clear why colleges would do better. Perhaps community colleges have some suitable job training programs, but do they really offer academic classes that meet the needs of the intellectually disabled? Education Secretary Arne Duncan said students with intellectual disabilities will “attend, complete and succeed in higher education.” Complete what?