Plato's solution for the handicapped children of Athens advanced some 2400 years ago was rejected by the Supreme Court of the United States in famous dictum in Meyer v. Nebraska as being "ideas. . . wholly different from those upon which our institutions rest .... " However, it took about half a century for the ultimate repudiation of the ideas espoused by the great philosopher as the Supreme Court's 1923 dictum finally bore fruit in federal court decisions establishing a constitutional right to education for handicapped children and in a congressional definition of such a right in the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. These actions of the last decade have not only put to rest the ancient view that handicapped persons are of no worth and should be set apart or destroyed but they have also wrought at least a small revolution in the delivery of educational and other services to such persons.
Robert E. Shepherd Jr.,
The Repudiation of Plato: A Lawyer's Guide to the Educational Rights of Handicapped Children,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol13/iss4/6