A few months ago, in a large conference room at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., there was a small celebration of the 50th anniversary of one of the federal government’s most popular and productive social programs. Conceived during President Lyndon Johnson’s epic war on poverty in 1964, the Upward Bound program has since then provided critical support for over 2 million students coming from low-income families throughout the United States.
Partnering with institutions of higher education, Upward Bound provides critical pre-college preparation in math, science, literature, and foreign languages through tutoring, mentoring, work-study programs, and counseling services to kids (and now war veterans) to help them not only get into college but graduate as well.
It is also one of the few programs where there remains extraordinary bipartisan support for a federal education program. A rare accomplishment in Washington these days.
Upward Bound was the brainchild of education expert and Eastern Shore weekender Stan Salett. A mid-level appointee brought into the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Salett was asked to conceptualize a program that would directly involve colleges and universities in reducing long-term poverty through education opportunity. Salett’s memorandum was quickly embraced by Sargent Shriver, LBJ’s War on Poverty director, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Spy caught up with Stan last week in his kitchen to reminisce about the origins of Upward Bound and the necessity of continuing to give a critical leg up to those who seek an education.
This video is approximately six minutes in length