President Kennedy, 1962: Facilities act will help put unused educational TV channels on the air

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Statement by President John F. Kennedy, May 1, 1962, upon signing the Educational Television Facilities Act, Public Law 87-447 (76 Stat. 64), which provided subsidies for educational broadcasting facilities.

This marks a new chapter in the expression of federal interest in education. One hundred years ago, with the enactment of the Morrill Land Grant College Act, higher education was made a matter of national concern while, at the same time, state operation and control were retained. Today, we take a similar action. The Educational Television Act of 1962 will provide vitally needed federal support for the construction of educational television stations while assuring, at the same time, state and local operation. The Morrill Act reduced old barriers to education and offered new opportunities for learning. This Act gives equal promise of bringing greater opportunities for personal and cultural growth to every American.

The first decade of educational television has been one of accomplishment and steady growth. Sixty-three stations are now in operation. Program quality has improved steadily. The contribution television can make in extending educational opportunity and improving the quality of education is widely recognized.

In spite of the vigorous efforts of many states and communities, 215 of the television channels reserved for education nine years ago remain unused. At a time when the wide availability of quality education is vital to our national growth and security, we must make effective use of all of our educational resources. This new legislation will provide needed stimulus and financial aid in the development of educational television’s potential.

I am delighted to approve an Act which will do so much to assist in the growth of this important educational medium.

Source: The American Presidency Project created by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley.

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