A History Of Education Policy In The Democratic Party

educationpolicyThe Democratic Party has a long history of supporting education and the federal government’s responsibility to make it the best possible. In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln (then a Republican but would now be considered a Democrat) passed the Morrill Act which empowered the federal government to donate land for colleges to states and territories.

Democratic president Andrew Johnson approved the creation of a Department of Education as part of the federal government in 1867. The Democratic platform in 1920 called for removing illiteracy, teaching citizenship, and raising teacher’s salaries through federal assistance.

Throughout the 20th century Democrats proposed numerous bills calling for better federal education legislation. They included calls for supplemental federal education aid for communities that the war effort negatively affected.

Democrats also supported emergency education aid during the depression of the 1930s and school construction in the 1950s to educate the Baby Boomers. During the Cold War, democrats supported the National Defense Education Act. They also proposed legislation to provide equal educational opportunity for all Americans regardless of race.

In 1948, Democratic presidential candidate Harry S. Truman made educational aid a campaign issue and set aside money for education in almost every one of his budgets. The election in 1960 saw Democrats calling for education to receive generous financial support for special programs, increased teachers’ salaries, and the construction of facilities including more classrooms.

The Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John F. Kennedy, made federal support for schools one of the election’s major issues. Once elected, he became the first president to make education aid a major part of his domestic program.

Democrats pushed through the Vocational Education Act of 1963 which strengthened and expanded vocational education. They also helped pass the Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963 which was designed to help with the construction of college facilities.

Democrats passed a number of other major pieces of education legislation during the 1960s including aid to schools serving low-income children and financial assistance for needy college students. Recent Democratic presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama
have all continued to throw their support behind the idea that government must continue to support education nationwide.

Democratic law makers have continued to take decisive action in support of education. They have instituted programs like the Goals 2000: Educate America Act which seeks to improve learning and teaching through on-going educational reform. Those programs are aimed at supporting elementary and secondary education, and creating social programs for much-needed job training. For more information about current education policy supported by Democrats, click here: http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Democratic_Party_Education.htm.