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Mr. STEFAN. I want to say that our State superintendent, Charles Taylor, is very much in favor of this bill. He also feels that the funds, should they be granted-and it will be a grant, an outright grant, to the States-should be administered within the States by the chief State school officer, according to the laws of the respective States, for the development of comprehensive programs of education. Do you believe that that should be done in that way? Mr. LUCKEY. Yes.
Mr. STEFAN. I wish to say here that from the communications I have received from my district they are all in favor of having this fund, if it is made available, administered by the local agencies in the interest of economy and efficiency. They are familiar with the situation and they are in a better position to handle the school funds to get the best results than the Federal Government is.
I want to tell my colleague that all of these letters here before me are letters from educators in Nebraska, including the State superintendent of schools. They favor this bill providing for the expenditure of Federal funds for education in the way I have indicated.
Mr. O'NEILL. Speaking of economy, Congressman, have you read the statement of the majority leader, Mr. Robinson, in connection with this bill?
Mr. LUCKEY. I have not had the opportunity to read it.
Mr. O'NEILL. It was reported that yesterday in the Senate he said that if this bill should be enacted we would have to find some new taxes. What is your reaction to that?
Mr. LUCKEY. Ï think we should economize on some of the big expenditures for the Army and Navy.
Mr. STEFAN. Your statement a moment ago referred to a $55,000,000 battleship. It was testified here that battleships cost $60,000,000. We have been making a great fight against the appropriations to the Army and Navy. Do you believe we could save a lot of money there?
Mr. LUCKEY. I have had the opportunity to look into some of the expenditures, and I find that in many instances we have duplications and quadruplications of activities that could be cut down, and we could save millions and millions of dollars that could be used for educational purposes and would result in making a nation efficient for defense purposes. Our greatest line of defense is an intelligent, patriotic, educated citizenry.
Mr. STEFAN. The trouble there, Mr. Congressman, is that these two battleships, costing $60,000,000 apiece, are replacements for battleships which were destroyed; for instance, the Washington. We here in America destroyed actual battleships and blew battleships up that were completed or near completion, while foreign countries merely destroyed blueprints. In other words, we were bad traders.
Mr. LUCKEY. You are correct; and we spent, from 1916 up to 1932, $3,000,000,000 in subsidizing the merchant marine, and we have not a ship floating today.
Mr. McGROARTY. Does the gentleman from Nebraska know how to cure that and then get some money for education, or are we just talking about it?
The CHAIRMAN. Congressman, let me ask you a question: You say you would cut down the appropriations for the Army and Navy. Mr. LUCKEY. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the appropriation for the Army and Navy?
Mr. LUCKEY. Well, it will run way over $1,000,000,000 this year. The CHAIRMAN. For both?
Mr. LUCKEY. For both; yes.
The CHAIRMAN. No; I think it is around $700,000,000.
Mr. STEFAN. About $500,000,000 for each, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, that is including the building of warships, and so forth.
Mr. STEFAN. I think so; yes.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the usual appropriation for the Army and for the Navy? It is around $300,000,000-odd, is it not?
Mr. LUCKEY. It used to be that, but the last 2 years it has been The CHAIRMAN. That is without counting the additional ships, because of the uncertainty of the condition in Europe.
Now, assuming that the appropriations for the Army and Navy are usually somewhere in that neighborhood, what would you sug gest cutting out in order to get the $300,000,000 that this bill would call for How much would you cut out? Would you cut out the $300,000,000 for the Army and Navy?
Mr. LUCKEY. I think that there are six or seven Navy stations on the Atlantic coast, and the Army experts say that only four are needed; the others are duplications.
The CHAIRMAN. Army and Navy experts?
Mr. LUCKEY. Navy experts.
And that would be a larger saving than the amount called for by
Mr. McGROARTY. Will the gentleman from Nebraska see that that is done?
Mr. LUCKEY. I am exerting my efforts to the utmost to see that that is done.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that we could save the $300,000,000 by cutting out some of the appropriations for overhead defense, to save the $300,000,000 out of the appropriation for the Navy? Would you consent to that?
Mr. LUCKEY. Well, I think we could get pretty close to it.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. MASON. Mr. Chariman, I would like to ask the Congressman whether he is of the opinion that, out of the 6 to 7 billion dollars that we appropriate as a total these days, $100,000,000 for this defense from enemies within is out of proportion to $1,000,000,000 for defense against enemies from without.
Mr. LUCKEY. Not at all; it is just a bagatelle. Our strongest line of national defense is within our Nation; our schools, our churches, and our colleges.
Mr. STEFAN. Mr. Congressman, would you say that we have perhaps more to fear from enemies within than we have from enemies without?
Mr. LUCKEY. Absolutely.
Mr. STEFAN. I agree with you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Congressman.
Mr. LUCKEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand there is another Congressman here.
STATEMENT OF HON. SAM C. MASSINGALE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA
Mr. MASSINGALE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am appearing here in favor of this bill, as a representative of the Seventh District of Oklahoma.
My interest in the bill was intensified by the fact that. I follow the custom of most country Members of Congress, I think, of sending out a news letter each week advising the people in general as to what is going on in Washington and in Congress. I made mention of this bill and told something about its proposed method of operation. I did not put this statement out for the purpose of adding to my correspondence, but I believe I am safe in saying that, since that news letter appeared 2 weeks ago, I have received a minimum of 500 letters. They have come from every consolidated school district in my congressional district and from all the city schools in the district. They are favorable to this measure and, of course, I can see why they would be, and I understand that several witnesses have already appeared here from Oklahoma, and members of the State board of education, and there is no need for me to repeat any of the statistical information that they have given you.
My understanding is that they are putting in the statement of Dr. Mort, of Columbia, and the National Association, and the Oklahoma State Education Association.
The CHAIRMAN. Speaking of Dr. Mort, he estimated that this bill eventually would mean $1,200,000,000. We have testimony here to the effect that $100,000,000 is insufficient, and we ought to start with $500,000,000. What is your reaction to Dr. Mort's testimony?
Mr. MASSINGALE. Well, I didn't hear Dr. Mort's testimony. That is already in the record. He says we would eventually need $1,200,000,000.
Mr. STEFAN. To get a $60 per pupil program over in the entire United States.
Mr. McGROARTY. As a grant or loan to the States?
The CHAIRMAN. As a grant.
Mr. STEFAN. An outright grant from the Government.
Mr. STEFAN. That is the bill.
Mr. MASSINGALE. Now, I want to give you this additional information with regard to Oklahoma: Children of school age in Oklahoma comprise 35.2 percent of our total population, as compared with the ratio of 31 percent in the Nation as a whole; and with only 1.3 percent of our national income, Oklahoma pays for the education of 2.2 percent of the Nation's school children."
The amount of income which would be taxed for the education of each child in Oklahoma is approximately $749. This compares to $1,307 per school child available in the nation as a whole.
The Oklahoma legislature in the past few days has appropriated $12,000,000 for this year for educational aid.
Now, there is another condition which obtains in Oklahoma that is unique, because of the conditions under which that country was opened to settlement, and that is this: There were a lot of tribal lands, Indian lands, throughout the State, which almost covered the State,
and in every congressional district in the State here are thousands upon thousands of acres of what they call Indian reservations, which are not taxable under the enabling act for school or other purposes, and the Government of the United States exercises a kind of trusteeship over those lands and, of course, they are removed from the support of the schools.
I have been in Oklahoma for 40 years, and if there is an enviable place educationally in the group of States in this Union, Oklahoma has it. I have seen the schools come from nothing, just little dugouts-they call them adobes down there; adobe houses made of mud and straw-into what we think is a high-class system of common education in the schools of that State.
In the county I live in, my recollection is that even up to 20 years ago we had about 120, or maybe 125, common-school districts in that county, and now we have 30 or 40. They have adopted the system of having consolidated schools, as we call them, and these combine a number of common-school districts, and they add the high-school curriculum to what they used to have, and nearly all children in the State are now transported to these schools, and the attendance is large, as you can see from these figures that I have given you, because we are in this position down there: In my part of the State, over on the west side of the State, they do not have the industry of the oil wells, but in my part of the State we have to depend entirely on agriculture. We have no factories outside of cotton gins and oil mills; that is, mills that crush the oil from the cottonseeds. We have no industry of any sort and we have to depend upon taxation generally on land, and the depression has almost swept from that country any personal property at all upon which any ad-valorem taxes may be levied for the support of education, or anything else. That is our general condition and, naturally, our people being favorable to education and wanting an even break, we favor this bill. Mr. STEFAN. Will my colleague yield just a moment? How many schools are closed in your State because of no funds?
Mr. MASSINGALE. I could not tell you that.
Mr. STEFAN. Are any of them closed because they cannot keep open on account of lack of funds?
Mr. MASSINGALE. Yes. And, furthermore, the farmers cannot meet the requirement that they shall have 9 months' school in Oklahoma in those districts where they have no oil wells or refineries to support them.
I know in the little town in which I live, a town of about 4,000 people, for the last 4 years we have had to cut the school term down to 72 and 8 months, and then have a contract with the teacher to teach the balance of the time free. That is the way we have been getting by.
In addition to that, the teachers, who have spent their lives in educational work, have had to, and do, make contracts for pay that has been cut fully 50 percent in lots of schools.
Mr. FLETCHER. Do you mean to say that the teachers have taught part of the time without salary at all?
Mr. MASSINGALE. Yes. That is the condition we have down there. Then, of course, as you would expect, in an agricultural community such as I represent, and the people being in that dire condition of poverty, they simply cannot raise the money without some kind of
Federal assistance to get by. This is inconceivable to some of you gentlemen, I am sure, especially to those of you who live back East and in the North, to visualize what we have in the drought-stricken area of Oklahoma, and when I tell you-I will just give you an illustration-I do not want to take up too much time
Mr. McGROARTY. We need the time, too, Congressman.
Mr. MASSINGALE. I will just give you an illustration of how things have gone in the farming communities, and then I am going to quit. I own some farms, and I will give you an illustration of one farm. When farm products were at a fair price I received as rental-and the customary rental-from one of those farms over $3,000-and when I say "farm" I mean 160 acres. The land is very fertile. The seasons were good and the production was high and the price was fair for farm products. For the last 4 years my total gross receipts from my part of the rentals, worked by the same kind of machinery and by the same man, my total gross receipts on the two farms have been less than $36-$9 a year.
Mr. FLETCHER. You mean per farm?
Mr. MASSINGALE. On this particular farm, and it is about the best farm I have. A total of less than $36! So you can see how it affects me, and then how does the tenant get by?
Mr. FLETCHER. How many children has he?
Mr. MASSINGALE. He has four children.
Mr. FLETCHER. All out of school?
Mr. MASSINGALE. No; one is in school yet. But that is just an illustration of the extent of the disaster caused by the drought and the general money depression together.
Mr. McGROARTY. Have you a State school tax, Mr. Massingale? Mr. MASSINGALE. Oh, yes; we have gone to the limit all the time. Mr. McGROARTY. And a tax on the oil people and all that?
Mr. MASSINGALE. Oh, yes. That is where we get the money. If we did not get the general State tax we would be in much worse shape.
Mr. McGROARTY. How does it come that the people in your country have their schools open and the children at school, and you fellows have not, and you have a State school tax? Is it properly distributed?
Mr. MASSINGALE. They have, in addition to the tax on petroleum products, the local taxing units to support them. We do not have that.
Mr. REES. This condition that you mention, Mr. Massingale, has come about largely, however, by reason of the drought?
Mr. MASSINGALE. No. The condition has come about more largely from the drought, but it has been growing since farm products have had no value.
Mr. REES. Then you would say that if our farm products had value and if our crops were as they were when you got your $3,000 a year from your farm, the entire situation would be changed?
Mr. MASSINGALE. Oh, yes.
Mr. REES. What I am wondering about is whether you are describing here a temporary situation or one that appears to be permanent.
Mr. MASSINGALE. It is entirely owing to what Congress does. I have been in Congress-this is my third year.
Mr. REES. You mean your situation at home?