Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

to the Commissioner of Education in order for him to determine whether they have complied with these three.

Mr. BARDEN. The United States Department of Education is to determine the just and equitable distribution?

Mr. MASON. Those three things set up in the bill comprise the string on the Federal money.

Mr. FLANNERY. Why not another string-the string of compulsory education?

Mr. DONDERO. You believe that an analogous case might be cited on the part of the Federal Government in compelling States to pass legislation to comply with the Social Security Act, particularly grants-in-aid to States, under the old-age section?

Dr. DUBOIS. I do not believe that the United States Government is simply the tax-collecting agency of the States as a gentleman suggested this morning. I believe that the United States Government has initiative of its own and that it is going to be called upon more and more in the future to legislate concerning things which can no longer be taken care of simply by the States and in making this legislation some conditions have got to be laid down if the intent of the law will be carried out, otherwise we hand it over to the States and they might do as they please about it.

STATEMENT OF MRS. MARY FOLEY GROSSMAN, REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS

Mrs. GROSSMAN. I represent the American Federation of Teachers, with a composition of 25,000 members throughout the United States. We are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. I come from the State of Pennsylvania in the upper quartile of rich States in the matter of education. I am proud of that, and particularly of labor's part in making that true. In 1934 the mechanics' trade union of Philadelphia demonstrated on the streets for the passage of the Brock bill for free public schools. Such schools were established at that time. Consistently labor has backed expansion of the free public-school system in America. This is one of the reasons for the affiliation of my group with that body.

At the 1936 convention in Tampa, Fla., the American Federation of Labor endorsed the Harrison-Black-Fletcher bill. On Tuesday of this week, the Pennsylvania State Federation of Labor, in convention at Harrisburg, likewise endorsed the principle of Federal aid.

Now, I am not an expert in taxation, or in school administration; I am a classroom teacher. I hope I am expert in that capacity. I would like, therefore, to speak to you today from that viewpoint for the children and not about taxes.

Last year's naval appropriation bill contained an item of $100,000,000 for two battleships. The gentleman from West Virginia this morning told us that the present naval appropriation bill contains an item of $120,000,000 for two battleships. Evidently this year's crop of battleships is more expensive. We are asking for $100,000,000 for 30,000,000 children. I do not know how much $100,000,000 is. After all I am a school teacher and when I get beyond $10 I am in the realm of corporate finance, but I do know what two battleships are as compared with the benefits of education

for 30,000,000 children. I find difficulty in reconciling the ease with which $100,000,000 is voted for armaments and the reluctance to vote a similar amount for the children.

When the American Federation of Teachers was founded 20 years ago it took as its motto "Democracy in Education-Education for Democracy." The term "democracy" is bandied about quite freely. It is mouthed by some to cloak outrageously undemocratic beliefs. By others it is used sincerely but with little deep appreciation of its real meaning. Gentlemen, we mean it. We mean rule of the people and, to rule, a people must be enlightened. It can only be enlightened through a system of free public schools of good quality.

Dr. Richmond, of Kentucky, testifying before this body 2 days ago, called your attention to the fact that democracy is on trial today. It may well be that we in America will stand 1 day with a few nations in this world as a bulwark against encroaching oligarchy. If we really believe in democracy, then the whole people has a right to demand that its children be prepared to sustain democracy. I am well aware that widespread education is a menace to the power of the few. This is one of the reasons why I believe in widespread education. I wonder how many of the members of the committee who are not teachers are aware of the growing, though subtle, attempt in this country of ours to curtail education. Under the guise of economy educational services are being curtailed with a view to producing the weak-minded citizens that the member from Arkansas spoke of as being the desire of a man in his State. Prevocational and industrial classes are being installed with skeleton curricula, presumably based on the idea that a large segment of our population does not need to be educated. I believe that every child in this democracy has a right to demand education for a full and rich life. Someone mentioned during the course of these hearings that there was an increasing number of college graduates in the elevator-operating and truck-driving businesses. I, personally, see nothing wrong with elevator operators and truck drivers being college graduates. The world might be a lot safer if all our truck drivers and elevator operators were similarly educated. I know that one of the functions of education is that of teaching a trade, but I also know that the fundamental function of education is teaching to live. "To live is the trade I would teach him", says Rousseau in his Emile, a standard work on pedagogy. Yet how presumptuous, how ridiculous to ask that we teach children how to live in the present inadequate school system of the country. What richness of life can a teacher paid $20 a month pass on to the child, particularly when she must do her teaching and he his learning in the adobe huts that the member from Arizona spoke of, and in wood shacks with no equipment.

That the children of America may all have an equal opportunity, which is their right, to an education for a richer life, and that the people of America may have an enlightened youth to sustain its democracy, we, the American Federation of Teachers, urge you to report favorably the bill before you. This is not a perfect bill for equalizing education. We have already pointed out places at which it might be improved. However, as Mr. Fletcher said on Wednesday, there are no perfect bills, and we believe this bill would go far to increasing educational opportunities throughout the States.

If I may I will introduce Mr. Wilkerson, member of our committee, who will give you some of these points that have been brought

up for which we suggest a possible solution, but in no event do we want to jeopardize or make any interference with the passage of this bill or the Senate bill,

Mr. FLETCHER. How many paid-up members of your organization? Mrs. GROSSMAN. Twenty-five thousand members, each one of which is an active participating member. They know all about, not this particular bill but they know about the bill in general, and we have received many messages from them. They approve of this bill. Mr. FLETCHER. They are all teachers?

Mrs. GROSSMAN. Yes.

STATEMENT OF D. A. WILKERSON

Mr. WILKERSON. I also represent the American Federation of Teachers. I teach at Howard University in this city, department of education. May I, at the outset, reiterate the closing thought of my colleague, Mrs. Grossman, of our organization, that our organization is here as proponents not only of Federal education but of this particular bill. May I mention also the fact that they are not satisfied completely with the bill? I suspect the sponsors in Congress are not completely satisfied with the bill as it is. Recognizing, however, the truth of the facts that have been presented here already concerning the importance and necessity of Federal education, we do favor the passage of this bill, but we would prefer to see a stronger bill passed, and in some respects I will point out how that might be achieved. I do not, however, want anything that we say to be interpreted as representing opposition to the passage of the bill now before you. Mr. FLETCHER. Does Howard University participate in the benefits of this bill?

Mr. WILKERSON. Yes; she may and distinctly, as I understand this bill, will have the same privilege that any Štate will have to use Federal funds in any way it sees fit.

Mr. FLETCHER. Beyond the age of 20 years?

Mr. WILKERSON. I beg your pardon; no; Howard University is not supported by the District of Columbia and would not profit at all.

Mr. KITCHENS. Indirectly?

Mr. WILKERSON. Indirectly. The university draws its students from many of the States which are now not able to provide adequate school programs for their children. Considerable attention has been given to the amount of money this bill would require, the idea being presented in this hearing that it is generous. I will not go into some of the comparisons that have been made, but let me. reiterate that the amount of money the bill provides is really beggarly in terms of educational needs. Dr. Mort, who testified here today, in a recent circular has pointed out that for the Federal Government to assure to all communities of the Nation an educational program equal to what those communities are now having, with the average amount of wealth behind each child, would necessitate not $100,000,000 nor $300,000,000 but a billion and a quarter-14 billion dollars. It would require that amount of money, that is illustrated by the upper portion of this graph that I have here. Actually the appropriation that is provided here for the first year represents only 8 cents on the dollar of what would be necessary to provide all American

children an average education. Our organization, of course, would much prefer to see the Federal Government initiate this program on a larger basis. We would like to see an increased appropriation from the beginning and subsequently. I mention this fact, however, to emphasize that the money being appropriated, although $100,000,000 is a lot of money, it is really a small amount in terms of the educational needs of our Nation. Another aspect of this bill and program of education that it provides which might well be improved and which we wish could be improved, if the members of your committee did see fit to do so, is the manner in which this money is distributed to the various States of the Union. It is distributed on a pro-rata basis in terms of population. The effect of that, however, will not be sufficient to carry us toward the American equality of American education, but rather to perpetuate on a higher level existing inequalities. May I illustrate, for example, the case of two States. New York, one of our best States, in 1931-32 spent for every child in regular attendance $176.20 for education. That was $79 more than the average State of this country spent. South Carolina, one of the poorest States of our Nation, spent $33.43 per child in average daily attendance, which was $63.72 less than the national average. In giving to South Carolina and New York identical treatment per child who attended, obviously this bill will not decrease the disparity between the two, but rather will maintain those disparities where they are now.

Mr. MASON. It would change the ratio between those schools from one-fifth, the spread between the high and the low, to one-fourth. By giving each school the same amount per pupil, say, $20 per pupil, it would change $176 to $196, and $33 to $53; $33 is one-fifth of $176, while $53 is about one-fourth of $196. So it does diminish the spread between the two just to that extent and does to that extent tend to equalize it.

Mr. WILKERSON. The relatively small extent to which that is true. is evident to an extent from this chart. We were speaking of South Carolina, which has a taxpayer ability incidentally that is lower than most States of this country. South Carolina in terms of State local revenue available for education had in 1933-34 per child $15.98. New York had $81.73. When we add per child the same amount to New York and to South Carolina we increase South Carolina to $23.63 and New York to $89.78. We still have, do we not, in terms of educable units per child approximately the same ratio.

Mr. MASON. No; we have changed that from one-fifth to onefourth, which is quite an improvement although not as much as we would like to make it.

Mr. WILKERSON. You are speaking in terms of the proportion.
Mr. MASON. Yes.

Mr. WILKERSON. But not in terms of the amount of money behind each child to be educated.

Mr. MASON. I am speaking in terms of the mount of money that is going to be spent upon the child which is the amount of money that you are considering and interested in. It is the amount that is being spent now, which is five times higher in New York than this other State and when it gets this fund it will only be four times higher in New York than the other State; and that is the amount being spent.

Mr. FLANNERY. If there is equal distribution of the fund.
Mr. MASON. Yes.

Mr. WILKERSON. We might dispute the point in terms of dollars and cents rather than in terms of proportion. Would there not be the disparity between South Carolina and New York which now exists?

Mr. MASON. No; because New York would have $196 per pupil to spend on each pupil and South Carolina would have. $53 per pupil.

Now, that then, is one-fourth of what New York would have while today with $33 compared with $176 it is one-fifth of what New York is spending, therefore, the ratio has been changed from onefifth to one-fourth.

Mr. WILKERSON. I grant your point. I still believe, but I will not argue this any more, that if South Carolina has $15.98 now and $23.63 subsequently it shows an increase by $8 of the amount of money to be spent per child.

Mr. MASON. She is spending now $15?

Mr. WILKERSON. That is in terms of State revenue alone in 1933-34 per child, ages 5 to 20. New York has $81 in 1933-34, and $89 and with this allotment she has $9 more per child. Your point is that the proportion has decreased. In terms of the amount of money per child there has not been a decrease.

Mr. MASON. The proportion is changed from between $81 and $15 which is still one-fifth of the whole to $89 and $23, which is still one-fourth.

Mr. WILKERSON. We will not prolong this, but may I say this: I think it would seem desirable but we would not advocate it if it were the opinion of the committee that it would at all jeopardize the legislative chances of the bill. It would seem desirable, however, as is recommended by educational advisers on education, most of the eminent authorities in the field of educational financing, that the Federal Government distribute this money to the States with due regard for the ability of those States to support the schools, and that proportionately it would give less to the States which have more and more to the States which have less. In so doing it would seem, and only in so doing would we take the steps that are needed toward achieving the American dream of equality of American educational opportunity.

Mr. FLETCHER. Mr. DuBois undoubtedly somewhat misunderstood the interpretation of the bill. You do not share that misunderstanding?

Mr. WLIKERSON. I will make a statement on that in a moment, very briefly, because I recognize your time is limited. I will comment upon the fact that it would seem desirable further since the Federal Government makes this investment primarily because they want to insure a more generally educated citizenry, for the Federal Government to provide for a program in those States so that it means that the measures would be achieved. That could easily be done by some requirement affecting the proportion of the State's educables who are actually in school. The members of this committee probably know now that in some States of our land fewer than twothirds of the children of school age 5 to 17 are in school regularly. In Alabama in the schools, 59 are in school regularly; South Carolina, 60, and I will insert that in the record. It would seem wise

« EdellinenJatka »