Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

My colleague and I believe that S. 81, which is exclusively a teachers' salary measure will, if enacted into law, provide the funds necessary to increase salaries of the elementary and secondary public-school teachers.

We believe further that this bill will encourage those who are qualified to follow a teachers' profession, and further than that, will encourage those who are now leaving the profession to remain in it. The exodus of teachers from the profession since 1939 has constituted one of the greatest vocational migrations in our national history. I am advised that between 1941 and 1945 about 350,000 teachers left the classroom. This figure does not include those merely changing positions within the teaching field.

Except for those who entered the armed forces, most of these teachers have gone into better-paying jobs in industry. Moreover, these teachers show no signs whatsoever of wanting to come back to teaching school at the present level of salaries. Thus, the vitally important teaching profession has lost approximately one-third of its qualified members during the last half dozen years.

While emergency measures have been used to keep schools open and substitute teachers have been pressed into service, we definitely believe that additional compensation for teachers' salaries should be provided so that we may have for our children throughout the country a contented group of teachers who will give to the youth of the land the best service they know how.

Our bill, S. 81 as originally drafted provided that payments be made directly to the States, similar to payments for public works grants. However, as Senator Green has pointed out, the Commissioner of the United States Office of Education has indicated to us that it would require a tremendously increased staff for his office to process payments, as we proposed in S. 81. Therefore, we intend to propose an amendment whereby payments would be made directly to the authorized State agency and that agency would make the payments to various municipalities and school districts.

We believe this amendment will be acceptable to the various State directors and commissioners, throughout the country, who are interested in our bill and who have expressed an interest in the suggested amendment.

While S. 81 provides for annual appropriation of $15 per pupil in attendance, both Senator Green and I want to state that we arrived at this figure after numerous conferences with officials interested in having the Federal Government provide some funds for teachers. However, we are not definitely committed to this figure. If a larger amount per pupil is necessary, we trust that the members of the committee will take that factor into consideration.

Now, the chief argument against Federal aid to education heretofore has been the fear that it would eventually lead to domination on the part of the Federal Government over the States in matters of educational standards, curricula, and so forth. I believe the chief merit in the approach to this problem to justify S. 81 lies in the fact that we limit Federal aid strictly to one category, namely, that of assistance to improve the teaching staff. This eliminates all possibility that the Federal Government could, under the guise of its Federal aid, interfere with the right of the States to completely control their own systems and methods of education.

I want to point out that even in the matter of aid to teachers, which to me seems to be really tackling the problem at the most vital point, the matter of qualifications and eligibility to receive Federal aid as part of their compensation must be left entirely to the discretion of the several States. I realize that this committee at a future date will hold additional hearings, and at that time my colleague and I plan to present to you additional information in support of our bill which we believe is a direct and concrete proposal.

We are of the belief that S. 81 would be acceptable to the various States and would provide the necessary assistance to elementary and secondary school teachers in the United States and its Territories, and help to meet the educational crisis that is upon the country at this very moment.

Senator AIKEN. Thank you, Senator McGrath.

The sponsor of S. 170, Senator McCarran, has been unable to reach the hearing this morning so far. If Senator McCarran finds it possible to get here before the meeting adjourns, he will be heard, but if he does not find it possible, then without objection the statement which Senator McCarran wishes to make in relation to S. 170 will be incorporated in the record.

Senator AIKEN. Now, before calling Dr. Conant, the present occupant of the chair wishes to impose upon the good nature of the committee and those who are here this morning to make a few remarks-about 2 minutes of remarks-directed to S. 199, which he has sponsored.

S. 199 is divided into 2 parts. The first part would set the national minimum or foundation education program at $100 for each pupil in average daily attendance at public elementary and secondary schools. That is only a little below the national average expenditure of $119 per pupil in average daily attendance in 1944.

The formula for apportioning funds to States in S. 199 is simple and easy to understand merely multiply the number of children attending public elementary and secondary schools in a given year by a given amount, and you have the amount that State is entitled to receive. Children in attendance at nonpublic, tax-exempt schools are not "counted in" for purposes of apportioning Federal aid to public schools but are counted separately for Federal aid purposes in title II of S. 199.

This second part of the bill provides that nonpublic, tax-exempt schools would be reimbursed for not to exceed 60 percent of the cost of providing necessary pupil transportation, school health services, and purchase of nonreligious instructional supplies and equipment, including books.

This bill provides the basis for shifting a portion of the tax load for the support of education from the shoulders of the real estate owner in each local district, where it now rests far too heavily, to the shoulders of all who contribute through direct and indirect taxes to the Federal Treasury.

This bill also recognizes that the school problem should be dealt with as a national responsibility and not as a relief problem.

S. 199 may be summarized briefly as follows:

1. It includes absolutely no Federal control of the administration of education in the States.

2. It recognizes the complete responsibility of State educational agencies for the administration of public education in the States and wholly depends upon those agencies to carry that responsibility.

3. It is designed markedly to equalize educational opportunities among and within the States.

4. It assures in each local school district in all States by 1953 a national floor for education equal to at least $100 a year per pupil in average daily attendance.

5. It applies to the Nation as a whole and the sound and timehonored principle of school support traditionally recognized in the States and local communities, namely, "tax the wealth equitably wherever it exists; expend the revenue equitably in terms of the number of pupils to be educated wherever the pupils are."

6. It is brief, easy to understand, and simple of administration. It contains no complicated formulas.

7. It will undoubtedly relieve the burden of taxation on real estate for the support of schools in practically all local school districts.

8. It extends aid to pupils of private tax-exempt schools for necessary transportation, school-health examination, and related schoolhealth services and nonreligious instructional supplies and equipment, including books.

I am offering for inclusion in the record a more detailed explanation of S. 199. I do not expect to take the time of the committee longer on this, although at any time I will be glad to explain any of the provisions of that bill.

(The statement referred to appears on p. 30.)

Now, we are fortunate in having with us this morning President James B. Conant. Will you take the stand, President Conant? I thought it unnecessary, Senator Smith, to say "of Harvard University." We all knew he was not from Princeton. [Laughter.]

I think everybody knew that Dr. Conant was not from Princeton. Senator SMITH. Being a Princeton man, I did not want anybody to feel I had any prejudices against Harvard. [Laughter.] Dr. CONANT. Thank you very much,.

Senator AIKEN. Will you proceed with your testimony, Dr. Conant?

STATEMENT OF JAMES B. CONANT, PRESIDENT OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Dr. CONANT. I appreciate very much the opportunity of appearing before this committee at its preliminary hearing to urge favorable action by the Congress on a bill to provide Federal aid for education. Specifically I am here to support bill S. 472, but I shall not discuss the details of the proposed legislation. Rather I shall address myself to the basic question: Why is a substantial increase in Federal aid to education a necessity at this time?

To answer this question we must first consider the importance of education to this Nation, next the need for a greatly increased expenditure of public moneys on education, and finally the need for the use of Federal funds for this purpose.

The public-school system of the United States is an expression of the unique features of that society of free men which has evolved on this continent and of which we are so justly proud. Our society is unique because it is based not only on the principle of freedom for the individual and a democratic system of government but on our American belief in the importance of equality of opportunity.

We Americans believe every boy and girl should have a fair chance to develop to the maximum his or her potentialities. Our public schools are an expression of this belief. They are democratic in their nature and as an ideal they are designed to provide ladders of opportunity for all. Through this system we are finding and educating all varieties of talent latent in each new generation. We are doing this to a degree unrealized by any other nation. To the extent that our schools are inadequate we fail to develop our greatest source of wealth, the youth of our country; to the extent that they are successful we enrich the Nation every year with men and women of trained intelligence and well-formed characters. This in brief is one reason why our free public schools are so important to our welfare as a Nation.

The other reason springs from the fact that we are a democracy and prepare to stay so. We can only make our free institutions work if the citizens and voters have an education commensurate with the responsibilities which this complicated age has forced on the rulers of all countries. And in the United States the people rule.

Senator AIKEN. Dr. Conant, may I interrupt you? I want to ask to be excused for 5 or 10 minutes. I assure you it is not because I do not want to hear every word you have to say, and I shall certainly read all you say in my absence, but the Chair has to meet a group of about 75 women from the State of Vermont, who have taken a tour to Washington. Now, that in itself is not important, but here is the important part of it. That tour was arranged and is led by a young lady who a very short time ago was teaching in the public schools of our State, and she has found it more interesting and far more profitable to arrange these tours for the bus company than to continue teaching in the high school of one of the largest towns in our State. I think it is important that we recognize why she is here today with this group. I will be back in a few minutes.

(Senator Aiken left the hearing room, and Senator Smith assumed the chair.)

Dr. Conant. Shall I proceed?

Senator SMITH. Princeton is very happy to extend a warm welcome to Harvard, and we will ask Dr. Čonant to continue.

Dr. CONANT. Turning now to the second question: do the public schools need more money; it is evident that they do particularly in certain sections and localities. The need for greatly increasing teachers' salaries has been recently brought to the public attention with so much force that I need not dwell on the subject. For many States the present situation can only be described as truly shocking. But quite apart from securing a larger number of adequate teachers (which means more money), the raising of the level of instruction and the diversification of educational opportunity in many parts of the country is a pressing issue. We must have better schools.

The American people have during the last century created a vast engine of democracy, our system of public schools. This system, founded on the basic principle of local control, must be kept decentralized and democratic. Yet this instrument cannot operate to the best advantages of the nation unless sufficient funds are available and sufficient funds cannot be raised from the local and state resources of many areas. On this point stands the present case for Federal aid. The tables showing the expenditure per child in average daily

attendance and the percent of income in the state spent for school brings out this point very clearly. I assume you are all familiar with those figures but I may mention one or two examples here.

In 1944-45, 30 States spent for public schools from 1.5 to 2.6 percent of the total income payments of their citizens. Yet in that group of states we find New Jersey by expending 1.74 percent of its people's income provided $198 per child in school, while North Carolina by expending 1.91 percent raised only $68 per child in school. And Mississippi provided only $44 per child in school by using 1.64 percent of its total income payments. While few would deny that almost every State should spend a greater percent of its income for schools, it is clear that in not a few States even raising the figure to the average of the highest half dozen (2.36 percent) would still leave a very low figure for the expenditure per child. Thus in North Carolina 2.38 percent of total income payments in 1945 would have provided $86, and in Mississippi only $61 per child. Compare these figures with the $127 or more per pupil spent in 1944-45 by over half of the States. Not that these figures, of course, are per child in school. They are based on the average daily attendance. The average spent per child in each State would be smaller, for in some States many children of school age are not in school.

To do an adequate job many States need Federal funds; in addition they need the stimulus in many cases to do more with their own resources. This stimulus is provided to a considerable degree by S. 472 which I am urging for your favorable attention this morning. Why should the citizens of a relatively wealthy State be taxed to help the education in poorer States? I often hear this question asked. The answer is obvious and twofold. First, all the youth of the country are future citizens of the entire country; their activities as citizens and voters will determine the kind of Nation we are going to be living in in the next quarter of a century. Indeed I can go further and say the education of all our future citizens may well determine the kind of world we are going to live in. Democracy is now on trial and only a strong democracy can prove itself in this century; a democracy can only be strong if all its citizens are properly educated and careers are freely open to all the talented. Second, as the population figures show, we are a mobile people; there is a constant movement of inhabitants from one State to another. Particularly is this true as regards rural and urban areas. The future citizens of many of our wealthy cities are now being educated in our poorer States. In terms of the self-interest of these relatively prosperous communities, money is well spent in the education of their future residents.

Many people are at first sight suspicious of Federal-aid bills. They don't want Federal strings to their local schools. Neither do I.

Bill S. 472 seems to me to be a very careful device. The abstention from any degree of Federal control over the States is painstakingly detailed in the bill.

It requires also that the States shall provide their own education up to their reasonable capacity. Thus a State must be spending 2.2 percent of total income of its citizens on education in order to remain eligible for Federal aid. It must put as much as an average of $40 a year per pupil into each school administrative unit to continue to receive national tax funds. And it must provide this minimum

« EdellinenJatka »