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Education Timeline for 1963 -1968

In 1928-29, Lyndon Johnson taught at the Welhausen School in Cotulla, a small South Texas town. His students were of Hispanic descent and poverty was the norm. The compassion he remembered from his teaching experience would be recalled years later when he became President.

President Johnson, the "teacher who became President," built his education program around the theme of poverty, drawing support from public concern over the problem of the poor in an affluent society. "Poverty has many roots, "the President said in his education message. "but the taproot is ignorance."


1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968


December 10
Upon passage of the Higher Education Facilities Bill, President Johnson commended the United States Congress as the “Education Congress of 1963.”

December 16
President Johnson approved the Higher Education Facilities Act (PL 88-204) which authorized a five-year program of federal grants and loans for construction or improvement of public and private higher education academic facilities.  This was the first large education program enacted by Congress since the National Defense Education Act of 1958, and it was the first broad education bill enacted in the post-world War II period that was not tied to national defense.  It included funding for:

  • College classrooms

  • 25-30 new public/community colleges per year

  • construction of technical institutes for trained  manpower

  • graduate schools and facilities in 10-20 academic centers

  • improvement of public libraries in universities and colleges

  • an increase in the number of medical school graduates

  • expansion of the student loan program

  • expanded Federal/State vocational aid

  • training personnel to train and teach handicapped children

  • expanded programs for science, math, and foreign languages

  • assistance for schools with federal personnel

  • public libraries across the country

December 18
The Vocational Education Act (PL 88-20) provided the extension, improvement and development of vocational education programs, and the revision of part-time work for needy youths participating in the program.   Persona of all ages would have ready access to vocational training or retraining.



January 8
In President Johnson’s first State of the Union message he singled out education as a key remedy for poverty.

February 11
The Library Services Act (PL 88-269) was signed by President Johnson.  In order to make high quality public libraries more available to both urban and rural residents, funds provided expansion of the 1956 Library Services Act.  The new funds were to be used to construct as well as operate libraries, and to extend the program to cities as well as rural areas.

May 22
President Johnson’s remarks at the University of Michigan (“Great Society Speech”)

Listen to Johnson's speech.

Read the entire speech

(opens new full window).

July 2
President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act (PL 88-352) authorizing federal authorities to sue for the desegregation of schools and to withhold federal funds from education institutions that practiced segregation.


CR_276-10-64  --  President Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964
Civil Rights Act in the East Room of the
White House as Martin Luther King, Jr. and others look on.

Photo by Cecil Stoughton


January 12
President Johnson remarks on "The Educational Message to Congress:"

Running Time = 5:03

"Recorded remarks on the message on Education - recorded on video
tape at 4:01 pm in the Theater of the White House, for later broadcast."

March 1
President Johnson spoke to the National Conference on Educational Legislation regarding current legislation before Congress.

“Nothing matters more to the future of our country.  Not our military preparedness—we spend over 50 billion a year for that; armed power is worthless if we lack the brain power to build a world of peace.  Not our productive economy, for we cannot sustain growth without trained manpower.  Not our democratic system of government, for freedom is fragile if citizens are ignorant.”

April 11
President Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Act [ESEA] (PL 89-10) at the former Junction Elementary School in Stonewall, Texas.  This was the first general aid-to-education program ever adopted by Congress and it provided programs to help educate disadvantaged children in city slums and rural areas.  (ESEA was technically an amendment to a 1950 “impacted area” act and was amended in 1965, ‘66, ‘67, and ‘70.)

Running Time = 6:48

C148-92-WH65  --
President Johnson signs the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act in Stonewall, Texas.
Sitting beside him is his first teacher, Mrs. Kathryn Deadrich Loney

Oral History: 
Douglass Cater (Special Assistant to the President) Interview I includes discussion of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, President Johnson’s views on education, and the issues of religion, race, and the government formula for distribution of education funds.  This portion of the interview begins on Page 7.

Transcript of the Interview
(opens new full window)

May 18
Operation Head Start was announced as a preschool program to help disadvantaged children before they entered elementary school.

A482-10  --  President Johnson announces Head Start
President Johnson
announces Head Start

June 8
Funds were authorized for the construction and operation of a college to prepare deaf students for jobs in industry and other fields where special skills were required.  The National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a post-secondary technical training facility for young deaf adults was established. 

July 20-21
President Johnson hosted the White House Conference on Education, Washington, D.C. to stimulate fresh thinking about education.

A1357-04 -- candid photo of President Johnson
Candid photo of Lyndon B Johnson after signing the
funds for Elementary and Secondary Education Act

September 29
The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act authorized two programs of financial assistance to be carried out by the Office of Education.  Funds authorized by the act helped schools buy equipment to teach arts and humanities and to finance training institutes for teachers of the arts and humanities.

November 8
Upward Bound, an experimental education program was designed to encourage low-income high school students to attend college.  It The 8-week residential summer program stressed reading, writing, and extracurricular programs including art, drama, and field trips.  Participants were provided room and board, medical care, travel funds, and spending money.  In 1968 the program became known as Talent Search.

November 8
The Higher Education Act (PL 89-329) was signed at Southwest Texas State College in San Marcos, Texas.  It was the first U.S. Congressional approval for scholarships to undergraduate students.  The Act

  • included insurance on student loans that had been proposed by President Johnson while he was a Congressman
  • transferred the work-study program to the Office of Higher Education
  • created the National Teacher Corps which was designed to improve elementary and secondary education in needy urban and rural areas.  Teams consisting of an experienced teacher and several young college graduates were sent in to strengthen local school programs.

Running Time = 23:46
Read transcript of the first few minutes

(opens new full window)

November 18

Sargent Shriver (main organizer and first Director of the Peace Corps; United States Ambassador to France from 1968-70) proposed "Project Keep Moving" to help underprivileged children retain Head Start benefits. The proposal provided:

  1. 1 teacher/15 pupils,
  2. teacher aides/"sub-professionals"/volunteer manpower,
  3. tutoring and supplies,
  4. parent and community involvement, and
  5. train primary care specialists.


October 29
The passage of the International Education Act (PL 89-698) promoted international studies at U.S. colleges and universities.

November 3
President Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Amendments (PL 89-750) which included:

  • a provision that schools could use the national average “per student expenditures” if the national average was higher, a benefit to poorer states.
  • a new program to aid in the education of handicapped children.
  • the transfer of adult education activities from the Office of Economic Opportunity to the Office of Education in Health, Education and Welfare.
  • the first appropriation of funds for the National Teacher Corps.

November 3
The Higher Education Act Amendments (PL 89-752) included:

  • the authorization of expenditures for undergraduate and graduate facility grants and loans in fiscal 19967-69.
  • canceling student loans to teachers of handicapped students


June 29
President Johnson signed the Education Professions Development Act (PL 90-35) which extended the Teacher Corps through 1970 and removed the word “National” from its name.

November 7
The Public Television Act (PLL 90-129) was signed by President Johnson.  View the timeline for Public Broadcasting at: 

Other Developments During 1967
Bureau of Elementary and Secondary Education:  “focus has shifted from . . . launching Federal programs and getting the money out . . . to identifying national goals for American education and encouraging the States and local school districts to coordinate their resources in such a way as to help solve these problems.”


January 2
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act Amendments of 1967 (PL 90-247) established bilingual education programs for non-English speaking children and provided more funds for special education for handicapped children.

February 8
President Johnson delivers his “Fifth Freedom” speech.  On January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented “four essential human freedoms” for which the United States stands:  freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.  President Johnson added a fifth freedom—freedom from ignorance.  “It means that every man, everywhere, should be free to develop his talents to their full potential—unhampered by arbitrary barriers of race or birth or income.”

July 30
In a White House ceremony, the Veterans in Public Service (VIPS) program in the Teacher Corps was inaugurated by President Johnson.  VIPS was a pilot program which assisted Vietnam veterans returning to civilian life to work as teachers, policemen, firemen, and recreational leaders.  Legislative action to continue the act was not completed by the 90th Congress.

September 30
President Johnson signed the Handicapped Children’s Early Education Assistance Act (PL 90-538) which authorized experimental programs for handicapped children of pre-school age.

D1237-09A -- young boy presents apple to the President
July 30, 1968 Raymond Clements presents apple to
President Johnson at a ceremony to inaugurate the VIPS-
Veterans in Public Service, a program in the Teacher Corps.

September 30

D1877-03 -- President Johnson signing the bill authorizing Education Programs for Handicapped Children
President Johnson signing bill, authorizing
Pre-School and Early Education Programs
for Handicapped Children

Other Developments During 1968
The Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) was established as a national information system funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to provide access to education literature and resources.  ERIC continues to provide access to educational resources and literature.

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