Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Transmitting Bill To Establish Colleges in the District of Columbia
Dear Mr. President: (Dear Mr. Speaker:)
I am transmitting to the Congress herewith a proposed bill to authorize the establishment of two public colleges in the District of Columbia.
A distinguished Committee on Public Higher Education in the District of Columbia, appointed by President Kennedy, has unanimously recommended to me the establishment of a public community college and a public college of arts and sciences in the District. As the Committee's Report makes clear, both colleges are urgently needed.
The Committee's Report stressed some of the benefits of establishing two such colleges in the District:
"Higher education for those to whom it was previously inaccessible produces consequences far beyond their own use of it. Availability makes a crucial difference in the motivation for learning at all levels and for all ages, generating hope and self-esteem among individuals and groups previously relegated to inferior status. Presenting models of successful escape from degrading conditions and providing trained leadership for those still struggling to emerge from an unfavorable background, higher education offers the best hope for community progress in our cities' battles against poverty, sickness, unemployment, and crime."
The bill would create immediately a Board of Higher Education to which would be assigned the responsibility and the authority to plan, organize and operate these colleges. The community college would provide programs, generally extending not more than two years beyond the high school level, in both academic and vocational fields, with particular emphasis on the latter. The college of liberal arts and sciences would provide courses leading to bachelor's and master's degrees, with initial emphasis on teacher training. It would replace and absorb the present four-year District of Columbia Teachers College.
The children of the Nation's Capital have been largely denied opportunities, available to high school graduates in the States, to continue their education beyond high school in publicly-supported, low-cost educational institutions. Higher education should be made a universal opportunity for all young people--the Nation's Capital should set the pace, not lag behind. The Congress has abundantly demonstrated its concern with education, and I hope that the proposed bill will receive its prompt and favorable consideration.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
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.
The report of the Committee on Public Higher Education in the District of Columbia is dated June 1964 (Government Printing Office, 44 pp.).
Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Transmitting Bill To Establish Colleges in the District of Columbia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242193