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Letter to the Governors Concerning the State and White House Conferences on Education To Be Held in 1955.

September 21, 1954

[Released September 21, 1954. Dated September 20, 195]


All of us recognize the urgency of solving such serious educational problems as shortages of teachers and school facilities and the loss of needed trained manpower through illiteracy and school drop-outs. Many States and local communities are making progress in dealing with these problems. The facts show, however, that we are falling behind rather than catching up.

I deeply believe that the primary responsibility for meeting these problems must lie with the States and local communities, and that the Federal Government should strengthen and not interfere with State administration of education. It is because our citizens have taken direct responsibility for their schools and colleges that, through the years, American education has flourished.

Public Law 530, just passed by the Congress, conforms to this historic principle of self-reliance. It gives Americans the opportunity to determine what steps they can take at local, State and national levels to insure the best possible education for our youth. This Act authorizes State and White House Conferences at which representative citizens and educators can study their educational problems at all levels and determine what action should be taken. $700,000 has been allocated to the States for defraying a portion of the costs of preparing for and conducting these meetings. I have asked Secretary Hobby to write you more in detail concerning these Conferences.

With this opportunity to know the facts and understand the problems, I am convinced that the people of the United States will develop programs of effective action. It is with this conviction that I ask you to join with me in bringing about the most thorough, widespread and concerted study that the American people have ever made of their educational problems. This study is necessary, I believe, to make citizens realize the importance of immediate and continued action if we are to have agencies that contribute to a well-educated nation.

In my judgment, we have in this program a great opportunity to meet the needs of education in our country.

With best wishes and personal regard,



Note: This letter, released at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, Colo., was sent to the Governors of the States and to the principal Executives of the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to the Governors Concerning the State and White House Conferences on Education To Be Held in 1955. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232695

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