Elementary & Secondary Education Act of 1965

The ESEA addresses social needs and the war on poverty brought on by President Lyndon Johnson. The goal of the ESEA was to redistribute funding to schools based on the average income levels. The system has to be updates every decade, causing presidents to put their own spin on the organization of the ESEA throughout the years.

Lyndon Johnson: Head Start

(13) Lyndon Johnson

(15) Growing off of the ESEA Lyndon Johnson created the “Head Start” program. Most notably from this programs creation was the start of pre-school organizations for lower class children. This was put in place for the lower-class because those children didn’t have as much exposure to learning materials leading up to school so the Head Start program worked to allow them to catch up before entering school with children from wealthier families. According to a newspaper article by The Baltimore Sun the program proved to be much more popular than expected across the country.

Ronald Reagan: A Nation at Risk (1983)

(12) Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan revised Head Start in 1983 with the creating of A Nation at Risk. A Nation at Risk, as he describes in the following video, are the results of American children’s test scores compared to other countries of the time shows that the American school system was lacking behind.

“We found that quality is lacking, but not because today’s students are any less capable than their predecessors. We found that our educational system is in the grip of a crisis caused by low standards, lack of purpose, ineffective use of resources and a failure to challenge students…”

-President Ronald Reagan (16)

George W. Bush: No Child Left Behind Act (2002)

(14) George W. Bush 2001

(17) In 2001 George W. Bush revised education through his “No Child Left Behind” act, further extending federal involvement in education. The main provisions of the act included mandating standardized testing for every school annually. Based on the scores of the students further government involvement would or wouldn’t be provided.

Obama: Race to the Top (2009)

(11) Official portrait of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 13, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)

(18) Obama’s “Race to the Top” was an attempted point system in organization with the states. States could receive grant money if they compiled comprehensive education reform plans.

Top Priorities of Race to the Top:

  1. Comprehensive Approach to Education Reform

  2. Emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

  3. Innovations for Improving Early Learning Outcomes

  4. Expansion and Adaptation of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems