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Letter in Response to Report of Neil McElroy, Chairman, Committee for the White House Conference on Education.

May 14, 1956

[Released May 14, 1956. Dated May 8, 1956]

Dear Neil:

On behalf of the people of the United States and for myself, I want to express formally warm appreciation for the final report of the Committee for the White House Conference on Education, of which you were Chairman.

The Report is important for what it says, and for what it symbolizes--a free and vigorous people working to improve public education. It reflects widespread understanding that public education means public responsibility, not for a few people, or for the teaching profession, or for particular groups--but for everybody.

The Report presents the inescapable dependence, each upon the other, of a system of self-government and a system of education free of political restraints.

The Report confirms the critical nature of the classroom shortage in public schools, and recognizes the need for Federal assistance to help meet the emergency. This is one of the major goals of this Administration. If we are to keep faith with our children, the enactment of sound and effective legislation to help build more schools should not be further delayed.

The Report, of course, stresses much more than physical facilities for education. It recognizes the crucial importance of good teaching, and the need for higher salaries and greater community prestige to attract more teachers. It is anchored on a fundamental principle; control of education should be as close as possible to parents and citizens in the local communities.

The Report says many things and says them well. Of course, there will be divergent opinions on the best methods of achieving the common goal set forth in the Report: the continued improvement of American education. These differences, however, are a reflection of our freedom at work. The resolution of these differences will provide, in the end, the kind and quality of education the American people want.

Throughout the State and local conferences, and the White House Conference, your Committee gave effective leadership to a broad awakening of public interest in our schools. Your Report should help point the way to a needed increase in public support for education over many years to come. I commend the reading of this Report to every citizen. I share your hope that the White House Conference program is only one step in a continuing effort to provide the best possible educational opportunity for each child.



Note: The report, dated April 1956, is entitled "A Report to the President, the Committee for the White House Conference on Education" ( Government Printing Office, 1956).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter in Response to Report of Neil McElroy, Chairman, Committee for the White House Conference on Education. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232853

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