The New Deal, The Great Society, and Education


Numerous scholars, philosophers and government representatives regarded education as a solution to social and economic problems. Among such, one can point out the figures of Roosevelt and Johnson, who were in charge of the American society in the 20th century. However, Kantor and Lowe, who analyzed the role of education in “The Great Society” and “The New Deal”, came to a conclusion that prior to 1960, education could be hardly considered as a chief social policy instrument. It is important that Lyndon Johnson believed in the power of education and based all his social policy on this belief. Although “The New Deal” (1933) initiated some innovative educational programs, it was not a conscious tool, but a secondary one after the measures to revive the economy. Nevertheless, “The New Deal” (1933) is pointed out as a basis for the further liberal efforts presented by Johnson. Therefore, among the reasons that have made education an important social policy tool, Kantor and Lowe (1995) pointed out changes in relationships between races, classes and the state. The decline of labor after World War II and the Civil Rights movements were the factors that have promoted education as another mean to problem solving. As a result, making African Americans’ labor organized and serve the interests of the society have become the principal way to solve economic problems. Regarding the main ideas of “The Great Deal” (1964), it is essential to point out that improving education for the poor was the principal unfinished task of Johnson’s government. As a result, the educational role of the federal government of the 60ies was much less effective than it was aimed.

If one talks about the situation in the American society of 1930ies and 40ies, firstly, it is important to emphasize a number of the great progressive policies in the social and economic spheres. Social Security, the GI Bill, protective labor laws should be regarded as the steps that were taken towards the welfare of the nation. However, the further social destructive changes are marked out by Katznelson as “affirmative action for whites”. The main point is that the vast majority of black Americans were treated differently than it was stated in “The New Deal”. The main reason for that was a split between the North and South. The Southern members of the Congress kept following their own policy regarding the African Americans. Therefore, the position of the white and black population differed depending on the state. Between 1945 and 1955, Roosevelt has accepted the domestic programs aimed at small business, homeownership, retirement and education support. Unfortunately, the African Americans were mostly “left out of all this”. Till 1960ies, the black citizens obviously lacked the benefits that were accessible for the white ones. Regardless the prosperity of “capitalism’s golden age”, gap between the races was widened. Although much efforts and time were spent since the “golden age” till nowadays, this gap between the welfare of the white and black still exists. Lyndon Johnson put his efforts to struggle the …