Ted Kennedy Wins Passage of a Bill Establishing the National Teacher Corps as Part of the Higher Education Act

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (Pub.

L. No. 89-329) (the "HSA") was legislation signed into United States law on November 8, 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society domestic agenda. The law was intended “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.” It increased federal money given to universities, created scholarships, gave low-interest loans for students, and established a National Teachers Corps. The "financial assistance for students" is covered in Title IV of the HSA.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 was reauthorized in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2008. Current authorization for the programs in the Higher Education Act expires at the end of 2013. Before each reauthorization, Congress amends additional programs, changes the language and policies of existing programs, or makes other changes.

The National Teacher Corps was a federally funded Great Society program established as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide teachers to poverty-stricken areas of the United States. Originally part of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, the National Teacher Corps survived until 1981, when it was folded into an educational block grant as part of the Reagan Administration's New Federalism effort to trim the Federal budget.

Before its demise, the Corps enlisted local colleges, public schools and poverty organizations to provide training to future teachers to train them in the cultural and social traits of low income, socially disadvantaged persons to enable them to more effectively teach in the inner city elementary schools. The interns and their team leaders participated in and developed community involvement activities in the various neighborhoods where their schools were located. They taught full time, worked on a master's degree full time and did community service work to provide enrichment to the children we taught and to enhance the communities they lived in. They modified their curriculum to eliminate deficits and adjustment problems to school caused by social and educational deprivation. The interns and their team leaders created community outreach programs to get the community involved and to bring more community resources into the schools.

The idea of a teachers corps was reestablished as the non-profit organization Teach for America, which receives federal support as an AmeriCorps program. Reestablishing a National Teachers Corps has been suggested by the Democratic Leadership Council. In his 2006 State of the Union address George W. Bush proposed an effort to train more K-12 math and science teachers as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative.