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The Era of Education

The Presidents and the Schools, 1965-2001

Lawrence J. McAndrews

Publication Year: 2006

This study of educational policy from Lyndon Johnson through Bill Clinton focuses on three specific issues--public school aid, non-public (especially Catholic) school aid, and school desegregation--that speak to the proper role of the federal government in education as well as to how education issues embody larger questions of opportunity, exclusion, and equality in American society. Lawrence J. McAndrews traces the evolution of policy as each president developed (or avoided developing) a stance toward these issues and discusses the repercussions and implications of policy decisions for the educational community over nearly four decades.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. vii

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pp. ix

The St. Norbert College Faculty Personnel Committee, Faculty Development Committee, History Discipline, and associate deans Dr. John Neary and Dr. Howard Ebert deserve my thanks for their moral and financial support of this endeavor. I would...

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pp. 1-6

When President Thomas Jefferson spoke in 1802 of a “wall of separation,” he was alluding to the invisible barrier that the First Amendment had created between government and organized religion. The founder of the University of Virginia could just as easily have...

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1. Public School Aid, 1965-81

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pp. 7-50

Lyndon Johnson would be an unlikely revolutionary.1 An aging New Dealer with a Southern drawl, Johnson seemed more a career politician than a social crusader when tragedy thrust him into the Oval Office. But while he spoke slowly, he would act...

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2. School Desegregation, 1965-81

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pp. 51-88

A conservative, goes the old joke, is a liberal who has been mugged. Lyndon Johnson’s seizure of the political center on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) from 1965 to 1967 offered a variation on that theme. A moderate, one could add, is a liberal who has been elected.Nowhere did the Johnson administration more noticeably...

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3. Nonpublic School Aid, 1965-81

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pp. 89-118

“The kids is where the money ain’t” is the way Lyndon Johnson characterized the U.S. education system when he took office. The nation’s Catholic bishops concurred. From 1940 to 1960, Catholic elementary and secondary school enrollments increased at a rate three times that of public schools. By the 1960s, nine of every ten...

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4. Public School Aid, 1981-2001

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pp. 119-166

History will remember Ronald Reagan as a pivotal figure,1 In foreign and domestic policy, he dared to say what many Americans had long been thinking: that the Soviet Union was an “evil empire,” and the federal welfare state had bred a dangerous dependency. In elementary and secondary education policy, he tapped the frustrations of...

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5. School Desegregation, 1981-2001

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pp. 167-189

“When I arrived in Sacramento, it had been less than two years since a large portion of Los Angeles had gone up in smoke during the Watts riots,” Ronald Reagan would remember of the years before his governorship began in 1967. “To understand more about the causes that had led to the rioting, I decided to visit families who lived...

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6. Nonpublic School Aid, 1981-2001

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pp. 190-220

In October 1976, Democratic Party presidential candidate Jimmy Carter had assured the Chief Administrators of Catholic Education that he was “firmly committed to conducting a systematic and continuing search for constitutionally acceptable methods of providing aid to parents whose children attend nonsegregated private schools...

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pp. 221-230

This study has endeavored to fill a significant void in the scholarly appraisals of late-twentieth-century U.S. political history: while many have written about the presidents and many others have written about the schools, virtually no one (with the...


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pp. 231-294


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pp. 295-306

E-ISBN-13: 9780252091858
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252030802

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2006

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Education and state -- United States -- History.
  • Federal aid to education -- United States -- History.
  • United States -- Politics and government.
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