Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

"The State is under duty to ignore the child's creed but not its need."

That is the decision of the Supreme Court of the State of Mississippi in making funds available for the purchase of books and other materials for the children in the parochial schools. The citation is W. M. Chance et al. v. Mississippi State Textbook Rating and Purchasing Board. It is the Supreme Court of Mississippi, No. 34417. The opinion was rendered February 24, 1941.

We plead for the actual recognition in practice of the principle of religious freedom as expressed in the dicta of the Supreme Court of the United States in the decisions already cited and as expressed by the Supreme Court of the State of Mississippi, here quoted.

The law statute and dicta-justify the granting of public funds to sectarian schools and for services through sectarian schools.

We ask then if the policy involved is socially wise?

1. Will the further development of sectarian schools create a more divisive community?

2. Has a special group of citizens concerned with the common good of such special group the right to a special share of public funds to protect and promote its special interests?

3. What factors are involved in the right of a parent or group to establish and maintain a form of training through which to preserve principles of conscience? 4. What is the scope of authority of the State on this question?

5. Upon what basis must the question of public-private sectarian activities be approached?

It has already been pointed out that these questions insofar as they affect the Federal Government are primarily questions of policy and not of law. It is therefore in the light of public policy that the federation will approach the question.

The first question to be explored: Will the further development of sectarian schools create a more divisive society? If so, they may well be held to do more harm than good. We are one Nation and we wish our people to be united. But this unity must not be such as to destroy the rights of minorities. We all desire unity but not uniformity. Cohesion is essential, but regimentation is devastating. We cannot and we would not choose as a Nation to compel all persons to act in keeping with a single pattern. Ours is a cohesive functional society, but a society in which the point of view of all minorities should be respected and afforded full opportunity of expression.

The

There is a minority group today that holds that in conformity with the religious concepts of their faith that a form of sectarian instruction must be given with other educational training as an integral part of the education of children. right of this minority group to its convictions must be zealously safeguarded. Not only to protect the rights of the minority, but actually to promote the unity of a functional democracy must we preserve the means through which minority viewpoints are expressed. A people are not more closely united if they are compelled through legal or economic pressures to accept a pattern of conduct if such acceptance would violate the tenets of conscience of the group.

We desire unity; not uniformity.

One further point. We referred to the need of standards in the bill.

We are happy to note that many of the basic principles for which we have fought and for the support of which we were severely criticized are in the bill which is now supported by the very groups who fought us.

All groups have through the years opposed Federal control of the educational process. All groups still oppose such a practice.

The following conditions we hold must determine a States' right to receive Federal funds:

1. Assurance of the rights of minority races to share equally in Federal funds. 2. Specific recognition of the need of funds for teachers' salaries.

3. The requirement that Federal funds must supplement; not supplant State and local funds.

4. The requirement for a basic sum per child to be appropriated by each State for education.

5. The requirement that each State and its subdivisions should maintain at least its present educational budget and at least its present salarly schedule.

6. The provision that funds be available for every part of the State in need thereof.

7. The provision that not less than $300,000,000 be used to raise teachers' salaries.

8. The provision that funds be available for services for all children.

9. The provision that statutory authority be given even if funds are not immediately voted for granting scholarships to enable youth to remain in school. 10. The provision that there be a public reporting of how Federal funds are to be spent before they are spent as well as how Federal funds have been spent. Do these standards violate the rights of States? Emphatically not. We would tell no State to accept these funds. We would say to each State "The Federal funds are yours to be used for these purposes. Do you want them?"

Gentlemen, we come to you not as supporters of our bill but as supplicants for our Nation's chilren and our teacherr.

We have not told you more of the great need for Federal aid because we believe you know of this need.

We have tried to outline a practical approach through which to meet that need. We plead for action now.

Senator AIKEN. The committee has 27 witnesses scheduled for this week alone and so far we have kept practically on schedule. I think we will be able to maintain the schedule the rest of the week.

The next witness is Irvin Kuenzli, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers, A. F. of L.

Mr. Kuenzli.

At this time, the Chair will place in the record a table furnished by the National Éducation Association showing the amount which each State would benefit from the provisions of S. 472 and the number of States that would benefit and the amounts under certain probable revisions of the formula in that bill. As the bill is now written, 25 States would benefit from it. But if revised, so as to provide different amounts and different percentages in the formula, there would be 31 States under one formula, 32 States under another and 33 under another and 35 under the final proposal here.

This chart will be placed in the record so as to show this data. (The table referred to follows.)

ESTIMATED AMOUNTS APPORTIONED TO STATES UNDER S. 472 AND UNDER S. 472 AFTER VARIOUS ADJUSTMENTS IN FORMULA

During the hearings reference has been made on several occasions to the fact that under S. 472 approximately one-half of the States would benefit in terms of equalization aid. Under S. 181, in the Seventy-ninth Congress, 33 States would have benefited under the act. This change, as has been pointed out, results from the fact that under the formula one of the factors is State income payments. As these vary from year to year so does the number of States vary; i. e., as State income payments mount, and State and State ability in consequence improves, the amount of Federal aid decreases. The reverse is also true.

I have been requested to introduce into the record of the hearings at this point a table prepared by the Research Division of the National Education Association which demonstrates how changes can be made in the formula of the pending bill to increase the number of participating States. It is my understanding that the National Education Association is of the opinion that the number of States sharing in the benefits of the act should be increased to at least a minimum of approximately 35 States, more if possible.

Estimated amounts each State would receive under S. 472 (after reductions for less than 2.5 percent effort) and estimated allotment under possible revisions of the formula

State

[In thousands of dollars]

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

STATEMENT OF IRVIN R. KUENZLI, SECRETARY-TREASURER, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, A. F. of L.

Mr. KUENZLI. Mr. Chairman, gentlemen of the committee, I am very sorry to state our technical witness, Dr. Floyd Reeves, of the University of Chicago, who should have presented this testimony for us could not be here today because of personal illness. For that reason, we will place in the record the documents which we have submitted and with your permission I shall make a brief statement about those documents and then have our national president, Mr. Joseph Landis, finish the testimony.

Senator AIKEN. That will be perfectly satisfactory, Mr. Kuenzli. Mr. KUENZLI. As a representative of the American Federation of Teachers, I should like to emphasize the facts that the crisis facing American education is concerned not merely with the shortage of teachers, but with the welfare of the children and youth of the Nation. As the American Federation of Labor pointed out at its last convention in Chicago in October 1946, the critical situation facing the public school system of the Nation is not merely one which involves a group of teachers struggling for a living wage, but one which threatens the very security of our democratic form of government.

International events of the last decade have demonstrated that democracy can survive only through adequate educational facilities and adequate care for the youth of the Nation. It is our contention that in peace or in war, in adversity or prosperity, the education and welfare of our children is of primary importance, a primary responsibility of the Nation. Germany, Italy, and Japan are tragic examples of nations which used education as a means of exploiting children and youth for the purpose of implementing political dreams of a powerful

few.

The best guarantee that the United States will never suffer a similar fate is a sound system of public education which will inculcate in the Nation's children the principle of freedom and democracy expressed so profoundly in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

In the education of our children lies the most impregnable bulwark of our democratic way of life. The stronger our school system, the less we have to fear external or internal enemies of the democratic form of government. The weaker our educational system is, and it is not critically weak, the greater the danger to our national security. Education is the lifeblood of the Goddess of Liberty and the very breath of freedom.

It is a responsibility of the Nation to be concerned with the total welfare of children and youth as well as with their education. It is our feeling that Federal aid should be provided for services to children as well as for salaries to teachers.

Basically and practically, we believe that Federal aid should be provided primarily for teachers' salaries in the public schools and for services to all children regardless of race, creed, color, or school attended.

In the classrooms of today is going on the process of building the United States of tomorrow. It is a building process concerned not with bricks and mortar or steel and cement. It is a building process concerned with living souls in human beings, the Nation of tomorrow. It is the most highly skilled as well as the most vital building process in the entire structure of our democracy, our democratic society.

It is a process which calls for the best qualified and best trained personnel available among the citizens of our great Nation.

But we, as a nation have so sadly neglected this primary task of educating our citizens of tomorrow that thousands of the most able teachers have left the teaching profession to secure more lucrative compensation in other pursuits.

The critical situation in our schools is weakening the prestige of the United States in the eyes of the nations of the world. Only yesterday, gentlemen, I received a letter from one of the educational

organizations of South America and when I received that letter my national pride dropped seriously and I was sorely ashamed because in that letter the executive secretary of this teacher's organization of South America expressed sympathy for the suffering teachers of the United States. The shame of our failure to provide adequately for our children is being publicized to the ends of the world.

As President Landis of the American Federation of Teachers has pointed out, sympathy should be expressed for the children of the Nation rather than for the teachers. The teachers can solve the problem by leaving the profession but the children cannot do so.

The American Federation of Teachers believes that the first responsibility to the children and youth of the Nation is to provide the best possible teachers by placing teachers' salaries on a professional level which will attract and keep in the profession the most able teaching talent.

We believe, however, that good teaching is not the complete answer to our educational problem. Adequate services for all youth, such as health services, libraries, school lunches, recreational facilities, and so forth, must be provided for all children of the Nation.

Two of the most important educational bodies in recent years, the President's Advisory Committee on Education, and the American Youth Commission, have recommended after thorough study of the educational needs of the Nation, that Federal aid should be provided not only for operating the schools but also for services to needy children and youth and for the needy youth to assist them in staying in school. We believe that the Nation may best be served by adopting a Federal-aid program including the larger amounts included in the bills now before the Congress.

The American Federation of Labor has recommended at least $1,000,000,000 in Federal aid for the schools of the Nation. We believe this amount is necessary to place the schools on a sound basis so they may adequately service the Nation's children and promote the national welfare.

It is interesting to note that less than 2 cents per day per citizen, the price of only two cigarettes per day, would pay for $1,000,000,000 Federal-aid program which would mean so much to the children and youth of the Nation and to the Nation itself.

We feel that the Nation cannot afford not to make this investment in the children of the United States.

Now, Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I shall let Mr. Landis, president of the American Federation of Teachers, proceed from this point.

Senator AIKEN. I would like to ask you if, in recommending the spending of $1,000,000,000, recommend spending still further funds to all the States, or would you distribute seven times as much to all the States?

Mr. KUENZLI. Fundamentally, our philosophy has been that funds should be distributed on the basis of need; but in quoting the figure of $1,000,000,000 we assume that there is need in all States, including the most wealthy States.

Senator AIKEN. You would not say, give the 25 States that would benefit three times as much money?

Mr. KUENZLI. No. I should say certainly that with a program of that kind that we should serve all of the children of all of the States.

« EdellinenJatka »