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Statement by the President in Response to a Report on the 1963 Campaign for Reaching School Dropouts.

January 01, 1964

[ Released January 1, 1964. Dated December 31, 1963 ]

THE RESULTS are far better than expected. I am very much encouraged. We still have to learn our way in this type of activity--that was the purpose of these first 63 programs. But one conclusion is justified. Any community in America that wants to lick the dropout problem can do so if a real effort is made locally.

We can't just leave it up to our teachers and administrators to do this job for us. Our churches, civic leadership, PTA's, women's organizations--as well as business and labor--can do something for their country's future by giving top priority next summer to back-to-school campaigns in their communities. If we want our young people to take an interest in themselves, we need to show more interest in them ourselves.

The 1963 results show that where local effort was made, 1 out of 2 actual or potential dropouts returned to school--and 9 out of 10 are staying in school. With experience, we can do even better. I am asking Dr. Keppel to send every school district in the Nation a full report on these pilot programs together with guidelines for conducting successful dropout campaigns. It is my hope that in 1964 at least a majority of our school districts--and all of the metropolitan districts-will have voluntary citizen-supported campaigns underway.

President Kennedy's initiative in supporting this campaign in 1963 has paid and will continue to pay high dividends. The $250,000 allocation he made will be repaid many times over in the more productive lives of these young men and women who are continuing their education.

Note: The statement is part of a White House release summarizing Commissioner of Education Francis Keppel's "Report on Summer 1963 Dropout Campaign in Connection With Presidential Emergency Funds," dated December 9, 1963 (2 pp. processed).

The statement was released at Austin, Tex.

Sec also "Public Papers of the Presidents, John F. Kennedy 1963," Item 358.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President in Response to a Report on the 1963 Campaign for Reaching School Dropouts. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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