President Lyndon B. Johnson (seated, far right) speaks to assembled crowd; his first schoolteacher, Kate Deadrich Loney, is seated on his right at the Junction School, Johnson City, Texas. Cotulla, Texas, schoolchildren and their parents joined the president.
Before graduating from Southwest Texas State Teachers College, Johnson spent a year teaching at the Welhausen School in Cotulla, Texas. His experience with Cotulla’s disadvantaged students inspired him to advance the Great Society’s agenda of antipoverty, civil rights, and education programs. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, signed on April 11, 1965, authorized official federal funding for grade school education for the first time.