April 11, 1965. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965:
"As a former teacher--and, I hope, a future one--I have great expectations of what this law will mean for all of our young people. As President of the United States, I believe deeply no law I have signed or will ever sign means more to the future of America. To each and everyone who contributed to this day, the Nation is indebted."
2015 marks 50 years of Title 1. In 1965, the core purpose of Title I was to provide funding to ensure all children could have access to a basic education. Amendments over the last 50 years have added to and refocused this basic goal to, for example, increase educational support, maintain effective instruction, close the achievement gap, and ensure quality (source). Today, Title I is the largest source of federal education funding, providing over $14 billion to schools with high numbers or percentages of children living in poverty (source).
This year's Title I national conference centers on the theme "Leading With Wonder." The inspiration focuses on President Johnson's comments at the initial signing: "Remember the magic time when the world of learning began to open before our eyes." The celebration of 50 years of this monumental policy decision provides a time for educators to reflect on how Title I affects their students, classroom, schools, and philosophy. The conference this year will be structured around three broad themes:
While reflecting on the past 50 years of Title I, organizers also promise sessions and speakers that will highlight "current, successful Title I programs that ensure every child achieves at high levels." This will hopefully open up conversations and actions to move forward with the next 50 years of Title I. We look forward to seeing how Title I funds support educators to go above and beyond to impact academic success of those students who need it most.
How has Title I affected your school? Do you think the initiative has remained true to its original purpose? We'd love to hear from you--leave a comment!
Full text of President Johnon's remarks upon signing the bill here