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Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House on the Proposed Teaching Professions Bill.

July 17, 1965

Dear Mr. President: (Dear Mr. Speaker:)

As I announced in my remarks before the National Education Association on July 2, I am proposing legislation to bring the best of our Nation's talent to its schools. This legislation-The Teaching Professions Act of 1965--will

--create a National Teacher Corps to serve in city slums and areas of rural poverty,

--establish a program of fellowships to prepare students for teaching careers in elementary and secondary education and to help experienced teachers enhance their qualifications,

--aid institutions of higher education to provide better programs for educating teachers.

The National Teacher Corps draws on that spirit of dedication of Americans which has been demonstrated time and again in peace and war, by young and old, at home and abroad. It will provide a challenge and an opportunity for teachers with a sense of mission-those best suited to the momentous tasks this Nation faces in improving education.

The National Teacher Corps can help improve the quality of teaching where quality is most needed and most often in short supply--in city slums and in areas of rural poverty. It will enroll experienced teachers, and, to work with them, students who intend to make teaching a career. They will teach in local schools at the request of local communities and will serve on the same terms as local teachers. They will be local, not Federal, employees.

The fellowships are essential if teaching is to attract a higher proportion of our ablest young people, and if the best teaching is to prevail in the classroom. Students preparing for teaching in these days should have superior graduate training. Teaching is a difficult job at best; the more preparation for it, the better.

The desire of classroom teachers to replenish their skills and knowledge is not only to be applauded but aided. As revolutionary changes take place in all subjects and at all levels of learning, there is a limit to the sacrifice we can ask of our teachers in their efforts to renew their knowledge.

Finally, I propose a program of grants to help institutions of higher education offer first-rate programs to would-be teachers as well as to experienced teachers. This measure, coupled with the fellowship program and the National Teacher Corps, completes a program which is entitled to be called the Teaching Professions Act of 1965.

The Teaching Professions Act of 1965 is a composite of hard thinking about educational problems in the Congress, in the Executive branch, and in the teaching profession. It owes much to the proposals of Senators Gaylord Nelson and Edward Kennedy for a national teacher corps; to Senators Wayne Morse and Clifford Case and Representatives Carl Perkins and John Brademas for a program of fellowships for teachers; and to Representative Patsy Mink for a program of Federal grants to teachers for sabbatical leaves.

This bill will deepen the meaning and substance of the already impressive work of the 88th and 89th Congresses in the field of education. I have concluded that it is of sufficient urgency to justify action by this session of the Congress. The problems which face us in education do not grow smaller as time goes by; neither should our determination to attack and solve those problems. I commend to you the Teaching Professions Act of 1965, and hope that you will give it speedy consideration.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey, President of the Senate, and to the Honorable John W. McCormack, Speaker of the House of Representatives. A draft bill and a resume of the proposed Teaching Professions Act of 1965 were made public by the White House along with the President's letter.

The National Teacher Corps was established by the Higher Education Act of 1965 which was approved by the President on November 8, 1965 (see Item 603).

For the President's remarks before the National Education Association on July 2, 1965, see Item 340.

See also Item 369.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House on the Proposed Teaching Professions Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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