Remember President Johnson’s War on Poverty—the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that brought so many good programs and opportunities into our schools? President Johnson signed it on Palm Sunday 1965—saying his attorney general had assured him that the Lord’s day wouldn’t be violated.
The president’s first teacher was there. The president said:
“In this one-room schoolhouse Miss Katie Deadrich taught eight grades at one and the same time. Comeover here, Miss Katie, and sit by me, will you? Let them see you. I started school when I was four years old, and they tell me, Miss Kate, that I recited my first lessons while sitting on your lap.
From our very beginnings as a nation, we have felt a fierce commitment to the ideal of education for everyone. It fixed itself into our democratic creed.
Over a century and a quarter ago, the President of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, proclaimed education as ‘the guardian genius of democracy . . . the only dictator that free men acknowledge and the only security that free men desire.’ ”
The original 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act included the following:
Aid to bilingual education and aid to handicapped children followed in 1966 and 1967 respectively.
Did you know that the current reform reauthorizing that act is called ESSA-the Every Student Succeeds Act. This new act gives military recruiters access to 11th and 12th grade students’ names, addresses, and telephone listings—all they have to do is ask.