Administrative Histories of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidency: Health, Education, and Welfare

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This collection includes material on Presidential and staff messages to and meetings with students, educators, and education conferences; anti-dropout campaigns; Task Force on Education; Task Force on Child Development; Interagency Task Force on Education; District of Columbia schools; Panel on Computers in Education of the President’s Science Advisory Committee; National Teacher Corps; Elementary and Secondary Education Act; International Education Act and related international education efforts; Reading is FUNdamental project; Project Head Start, which offered preschool education for poor children; Office of Equal Educational Opportunities and school integration; National Student Association; Upward Bound, which assisted poor high school students entering college; Job Corps, whose purpose was to help disadvantaged youth develop marketable skills; the Neighborhood Youth Corps, established to give poor urban youths work experience and to encourage them to stay in school; Bureau of the Budget estimates of education program costs; Health, Education, and Welfare Department estimates of education needs and suggestions for legislation; suggestions of education innovations received from the public; publications on education topics.

The most ambitious and controversial part of President Johnson’s Great Society was its initiative to end poverty. The centerpiece of the War on Poverty was the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which created an Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) to oversee a variety of community-based antipoverty programs. The OEO reflected a fragile consensus among policymakers that the best way to deal with poverty was not simply to raise the incomes of the poor but to help them better themselves through education, job training, and community development. Central to its mission was the idea of "community action," the participation of the poor in framing and administering the programs designed to help them.

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