American Presidents and Education

By Maurice R. Berube | Go to book overview

"broke the logjam of federal aid to education"--certainly important in itself. 121 Moreover, he pointed out that ESEA "drastically changed the terms of congressional, and later, educational debate" by shifting the focus from teachers and their salary needs to the "special needs of children." 122 Finally, Halperin observed that a large impact was that ESEA "strengthens the federal system in education." 123

In summary, the Great Society transformed education in America. Education became a major national issue that was addressed by a president of the United States who shaped an educational agenda. The Great Society defined the way issues of equity--poverty and civil rights--would be handled; the federal government projected that national agenda onto the states and localities. Not until the excellence reform movement of the 1980s would the federal government delegate that influence to the states.

Moreover, that federal influence was felt despite minimal funding by the government. Federal expenditures accounted for approximately 8 percent of the nation's education bill. Indeed, Samuel Halperin calculated that Title I monies never reached beyond a minuscule $200 per pupil per year for the 5 to 6 million poor students that Title I helped during the period 1965- 1975--a low 3 percent increment in the cost of educating a poor student. 124 The expenses of a war in Vietnam did much to curtail government spending on Great Society programs.

In conclusion, Johnson became the education president against whom all others will be measured. He mounted a bully pulpit for the cause of public education and enacted far-reaching, innovative and substantive programs that have left their mark on America.


NOTES
1.
Charles Dean McCoy, The Education President: Lyndon Baines Johnson's Public Statements on Instruction and the Teaching Profession (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1975), p. 74.
3.
Lyndon B. Johnson, The Vantage Point: Perspective on the Presidency (1963-1969) ( New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971), p. 19.
4.
Lyndon B. Johnson, "The Goals: Ann Arbor," in The Great Society Reader: The Failure of American Liberalism, ed. Marvin E. Gettleman and David Mermelstein ( New York: Random House, 1967), p. 15.
5.
Francis Keppel, "Oral History Interview" (transcript), Austin, Tex., Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, April 21, 1969, p. 7.
6.
Wilbur Cohen, "Oral History Intreview" (transcript), Austin, Tex., Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, March 2, 1969, tape 3, page 16.
8.
George Reedy, Lyndon B. Johnson: A Memoir ( New York: Andrews and McNeel, 1982), p. 22.
9.
Keppel, "Oral History Interview," pp. 3-4.

-81-

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American Presidents and Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - Education and the Presidency 1
  • Notes 9
  • 2 - Education for Democracy 13
  • Notes 27
  • 3 - Education for the Economy 31
  • Notes 52
  • 4 - Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969) and the Equity Reform Movement 59
  • Notes 81
  • 5 - Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and the Excellence Reform Movement 87
  • Notes 115
  • 6 - George Bush (1989- ) and National Standards 121
  • Notes 138
  • 7 - A National Framework 143
  • Notes 152
  • Bibliography 155
  • Index 165
  • About the Author 171
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