The Soledad Children by Marty Glick and Maurice Jourdane


Marty Glick

BIG BLEND RADIO INTERVIEW: On this episode, litigator Marty Glick discusses IQ discrimination as outlined in the book he co-wrote with Maurice Jourdane,“The Soledad Children: The Fight to End Discriminatory IQ Tests.” Listen to the podcast on:,,,


Ten-year-old Arturo Velázquez was born and raised in a farm labor camp in the small Salinas Valley town of Soledad. He was bright and gregarious, but he was still learning English when he entered third grade in 1968. A psychologist at Soledad Elementary School gave him a culturally biased IQ test in English only and without translation. Based on the results, he was labeled “retarded” and placed in a class for the “Educable Mentally Retarded.” Arturo joined 12 other children, varying in age from 6-13, in that one classroom. All but one were from farmworker families. All were devastated by the stigma and name-calling by other children and by their lack of opportunity to learn.

Brand new at the time was the Lyndon Johnson and Sargent Shriver inspired national legal services program and one of its grantees, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), had evening office hours at the Catholic church in Soledad. In 1969, two Soledad parents had the courage to complain to CRLA staff. The CRLA attorneys knew that the problem was statewide with at least 13,000 farmworker and other second language students sent to dead-end classes where they were given coloring books and magazines to cut pictures out of and, if old enough, made to wash school buses.  Another generation of over 100,000 was in line to get the same mistreatment. The legal battle to stop the practice and rescue the mostly Mexican-American children ensued. That case was followed closely by a fight to end the use of the same biased IQ tests with African-American students. While African-American and Mexican-American students made up 21.5% of the state population, they were 48% of special education programs.

Written by Marty Glick and Maurice Jourdane, the two attorneys who led the charge “The Soledad Children” (Arte Público Press, Sept. 30, 2019) recounts the history of the advent of rural justice through CRLA and the two class-action suit filed in 1970 and 1972, Diana v. the State Board of Education and Larry P v Riles. 


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