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for all States that are spending today $80 or less per child. And I suggest that while it might help some destitute school districts in some States, it would not contribute a great deal to the over-all picture. And might I also add, sir, that the $40 figure being set when the purchasing power of the dollar was greater than it is today, a rough estimate today is that $100 would cost $400,000,000 per year; and I might say that while that may have been a fairly large figure some years ago, the sum of $400,000,000 today is not excessive.
Senator HILL. I will say your argument is very persuasive with me. Senator DONNELL. Dr. Petegorsky, have you had occasion to examine the State constitutional provisions of quite a number of the States which by their terms evidence the policy of the States as to whether or not governmental funds should be devoted to religious schools?
Dr. PETEGORSKY. We have had occasion to do considerable research in connection with the number of interventions in test cases we have in that field but I must say, Mr. Chairman, that I would not be prepared to discuss the legal aspects of those at the present time.
Senator DONNELL. You are familiar with Professor Cubberly's book on education?
Dr. PETEGORSKY. Only in a general way.
Senator DONNELL. You knew he was at Leland Stanford University?
Dr. PETEGORSKY. Yes, sir.
Senator DONNELL. Is there anything further?
We really appreciate your being here; thank you for coming.
The next witness is Miss Eleanor Neff, associate secretary, Department of Christian Social Relations and Local Church Activities of the Woman's Division of Christian Service, Methodist Church. (Dr. Petegorsky presented the following brief:)
STATEMENT OF STEPHEN S. WISE, PRESIDENT AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS IN RESPECT TO LEGISLATION FOR FEDERAL AID TO EDUCATION, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND PUBLIC WELFARE (S. 80, 170, 199, 472), APRIL 25, 1947
The American Jewish Congress, an organization of thousands of American Jews, was organized in part "* * * to help secure and maintain equality of opportunity for Jews everywhere, and to safeguard the civil, political, economic and religious rights of Jews everywhere." To achieve this end, we believe our principal function to be the preservation, maintenance and extension of the American democratic way of life, for only in a democratic society can equality of opportunity for Jews be truly secured. But, even more fundamentally, the Jewish tradition and the philosophy of democracy have always been indissolubly linked. The late Justice Brandeis, one of the organizers of the American Jewish Congress, stated in these words:
"The Jewish spirit, the product of our religion and experiences, is essentially modern and essentially American. Not since the destruction of the Temple have the Jews in spirit and in ideals been so fully in harmony with the noblest aspirations of the country in which they lived.
"America's fundamental law seeks to make a real brotherhood of men. That brotherhood became the Jewish fundamental law more than 2,500 years ago. America's insistent demand in the twentieth century is for social justice. That also has been the Jews' striving for ages. Their affliction as well as their religion has prepared the Jews for effective democracy. * * *""
The concern of the American Jewish Congress in the field of education is well known. Education being the foundation upon which true democracy rests, we could not faithfully fulfill our obligation to preserve and maintain democracy
without expending our energies toward the extension of educational opportunity. In no arena have we been more alert. We have been vigilant an active in the struggle to achieve for all equality of educational opportunity in accordance with the traditions of American democracy. Our attack upon discrimination in education because of irrelevant considerations of race, religion, color, national origin, and ancestry has been waged on many fronts. We are presently suing in the courts of the State of New York to cancel the exemption from taxation enjoyed by Columbia University, which, we claim, has forfeited its privilege by reason of its anti-American and antieducational discriminatory admissions practices. Our studies have resulted in the drafting of a model fair educational practices act which already has been introduced in the legislatures of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, as well as those of other States. These studies have also resulted in a bill, now pending before this Congress, to withhold the benefits of the GI bill of rights from those purportedly nonsectarian educational institutions guilty of racial or religious discrimination against veterans applying for admission. It would unduly extend this statement to list more than these few instances of our struggle to eliminate irrelevant considerations in the allocation of limited educational opportunities.
We are no less concerned with discrimination by reason of economic status, at least in the field of a basic minimum education. On a narrow ground, we are vitally concerned with the extension of basic educational opportunity. Careful scientific studies conducted under the sponsorship of our Commission on Community Interrelations as well as other research organizations have conclusively established that the degree and extent of racial and religious prejudice varies inversely with the degree and extent of education experienced. Anti-Semitism, as well as all other forms of racial prejudice, is the offspring of ignorance and cannot exist where ignorance does not exist. We believe that the harmonious living together of persons of different races and religions is more likely to be secured if opportunity for education is made truly available to all people.
But even more important, we favor extension of educational opportunity on the broader ground that, in the field of basic minimum education at least, economic considerations are as irrelevant as considerations of race, religion, color, national origin, or ancestry. Denial of a basic education because of the accident of poverty is as inconsistent with true democracy as denial because of the accident of race.
Finally, for America's own self-preservation if for no other reason, basic education must be extended to all American children. Illiteracy and ignorance are not merely imperfections of democracy, they are malignant sores which, if not curtailed, may spread and destroy the body and spirit of democracy.
For these and other reasons we favor legislation which would make it possible for States and municipalities to provide all children with a public school education. We are aware that by American tradition the substance of public education is a matter of local responsibility and judgment. We do not here urge reversal or modification of that policy, nor is that the purpose or effect of any of the bills under consideration by this committee. But the Federal Government possesses the right and is burdened with the obligation of securing to all children a public school education. The evils of ignorance and illiteracy are not and cannot be confined to localities or regions; the educational health of a nation's citizens is as much the concern of the nation as is their physical health. The Federal legislators and executive officials elected by uneducated or inadequately educated citizens govern all the people of the Nation. The armed forces of our Nation protect all of our Nation, and if, as was tragically demonstrated early in World War II, hundreds of thousands of men are rejected by the armed forces solely for educational deficiencies, it is the entire Nation which is endangered. When, therefore, a crisis in education is shown to exist, when the country suffers from an educational depression, the Federal Government must intervene as forcefully and effectively as in the case of an economic depression or crisis.
We do not believe that there can be reasonable doubt of the existence today of an educational crisis requiring Federal intervention. The numerous strikes of grossly underpaid teachers, the acute teacher shortage aggravated daily by the wholesale exodus from the teaching field, the lack of physical facilities to care for the increase in child population resulting from the increased wartime birth rate these and many other events reported daily in the newspapers prove conclusively the existence of this crisis.
Specifically, we may point out that an estimated 350,000 persons have left the teaching profession since 1939; that the number of students who completed preparation for elementary teaching in 1946 was but a little more than one-third the
number in 1941; that the average teacher's salary in the United States is substantially lower than the estimated average earnings of factory workers; that in order to sustain themselves and their families in a period of sharply rising living costs, many teachers must supplement their meager salaries by working after school hours tending bars or mining coal, endangering at the same time their health and their teaching efficiency. This shortage of teachers has resulted not merely in classes larger than consistent with sound pedagogic practice, but, even worse, has deprived many children of any schooling. Probably as many as 75,000 children today do not receive an elementary school education because of lack of teachers or classrooms. It is indeed true, as the New York Times warns, that "the Nation's public school system faces a serious break-down."
Moreover, the situation is more critical in some sections of our country than in others. We are all aware that the country's wealth is geographically maldistributed. We know, for instance, that the States on the northeastern seaboard are generally prosperous, while the Southern States are seriously impoverished. This geographic maldistribution of wealth and income manifests itself in a tragic maldistribution of education opportunity. During the school year of 1944-45, the latest for which complete figures are available, New Jersey expended $198.33 for each child in its public schools, while Mississippi spent no more than $44.80. The amount spent for each child in New York was $194.47, while in Arkansas it was only $60.26. The average teacher's salary in New York was $2,783, while in Arkansas it was only $918. That this discrepancy is not caused by a greater concern for education in New York than in Arkansas is proved by the fact that Arkansas spent a greater percentage of its income for its schools than did New York. Geographic inequality of educational opportunity is clearly the result of inequality of ability and not of inequality of will.
It is clear, therefore, not only that Federal financial aid to States is critically necessary, but that such aid must be in the form of an equalization measure, i. e., Federal assistance must vary in direct proportion to the need for Federal assistance. A plan of Federal aid which allots to New York or New Jersey the same amount per public school child as to Arkansas or Mississippi is inequitable and unfair, and in addition, does not make the most efficient use of the money expended.
For this reason, among others, the American Jewish Congress prefers the Taft bill (S. 472) to the Aiken bill (S. 199), the Green-McGrath bill (S. 81), and the McCarran bill (S. 170).
The Taft bill is truly an equalization measure; it will aid those States with the least economic resources and will stimulate greater expenditures from State and local funds. It does this by allotting Federal funds to the States least able to furnish a minimum basic education for all children so as to guarantee an annual expenditure of at least $40 per public school child.
The Green-McGrath bill would allot to each State the same amount ($15) per child in average daily attendance. Moreover, the money could be used only to raise teachers' salaries, which we deem an undesirable limitation. The McCarran bill would measure the extent of Federal assistance by the amount expended by the States for teachers' salaries, paying $25 of Federal funds for each $100 of State funds on the first $1,000, with smaller contributions on salaries in excess of $1,000. The program would increase aid where least is needed. The Aiken bill is likewise not a true equalization measure, for it too allots the same amount ($20) for each public school child in an average daily attendance.
We earnestly submit, however, that the appropriation provided in the Taft bill is entirely inadequate. The sum of $40 a school year for each child is much less than needed for a minimum basic education. All the States spend more than that on the average for each child, and while there are impoverished school districts in many States spending less than that amount, creating a floor of $40 can effect only a slight amelioration of a critical condition. For the first time in many years, our Government will this year enjoy a substantial surplus of about a billion and a quarter dollars. We can afford the $400,000,000 required to raise the floor to $100 a year per school child. Indeed, we sincerely suggest, that we could not afford less. Ignorance and illiteracy are expensive luxuries, costing much more than needed to eliminate them. Even $100 per school child is less than the average now spent in this country for public school education. It is, however, substantially more than the average spent in each of the States below the Mason and Dixon's line, and an appropriation sufficient to guarantee to each child in these States an expenditure of at least $100 annually would indeed be a valuable contribution toward the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy.
We warmly endorse the provisions in the Taft bill requiring "just and equitable apportionment" of funds in States where separate schools are maintained for "minority races.. "We believe that the Taft bill if enacted into law and honestly administered, as we are sure it will be, will guarantee that no race discrimination will be practiced in the conferring of its benefits. The American Jewish Congress is strongly opposed to the system of education in some States whereunder by law, persons of different races, color, or national backgrounds are required to attend separate and invariably inferior schools. Only recently we filed a brief amicus curiae with the California Circuit Court of Appeals in which we urged that such a system violates the spirit and substance of the Constitution of the United States. A segregated system is not merely an unfair system but it is a wasteful and inefficient system. Nevertheless, we do not believe that a Federal law to equalize educational opportunities by public subsidy should be used as means to attack the segregated school system. So long as the law guarantees that States having segregated school systems do not discriminate financially against children in the minority schools we believe that the bill should be supported.
We strongly urge that the Federal funds be limited exclusively for public school education. Expenditure of public funds for religious education is inconsistent with the American principle of separation of church and state which is the warp and woof of our constitutional tradition. We call this committee's attention to the words of President Grant in 1875:
"Resolve that either the State or the Nation, or both combined, shall support institutions of learning sufficient to afford every child growing up in the land the opportunity of a common school education, unmixed with sectarian, pagan, or atheistical dogmas. Leave the matter of religion to the family circle, the church, and the private school supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate.'
Only recently, our Supreme Court stated clearly and unequivocally: "No tax, in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion" (Everson v. Board of Education).
We, therefore, strongly oppose the Aiken bill, and we deem it of no materiality that but a small portion of the Federal grant would be granted to religious schools, for we believe with Madison, the father of our Constitution, that compelling a person to contribute even "three pence" for the "propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical."
Moreover, we disapprove of that provision in the Taft bill (sec. 6B) which permits the use of Federal funds by nonpublic schools to the same extent and for the same purposes as State funds are now used for such schools. We believe that use of public funds for religious schools is unconstitutional except where the use is limited to providing secular textbook, transportation, lunches, and medical care. While these limited noneducational uses are constitutional, we nevertheless believe that the Federal funds allotted under an educational equalization measure should be used exclusively for that purpose, and no part of it should be devoted to noneducational purposes.
For the reasons stated we warmly endorse the Taft bill and urge its enactment, but we also earnestly recommend its amendment (a) to increase the appropriation to an amount sufficient to establish a floor of $100 a year per public school child; and (b) to eliminate the provision permitting use of Federal funds for nonpublic schools to the same extent as State funds are now used for that purpose.
STATEMENT OF ELEANOR NEFF, ASSOCIATE SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RELATIONS AND LOCAL CHURCH ACTIVITIES OF THE WOMAN'S DIVISION OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE, METHODIST CHURCH
Miss NEFF. My name is Eleanor Neff. I am associate secretary of the department of Christian social relations of the Woman's Division of Christian Service, Methodist Church.
My educational background is that of the public elementary and secondary schools. I have studied at Hunter College, Teachers College, Columbia University, and other schools, such as New York School for Social Work and Union Theological Seminary in New York.
We appreciate the opportunity to appear at this hearing.
The Woman's Division of the Methodist Church, representing a million and a quarter women, has for many years supported the principle of Federal aid to education, and has endorsed specific legislation. directed toward this end. Letters and information have gone regularly to women across the country, urging them to express their convictions to Congressmen on this and other matters of vital domestic and international concern.
It is hardly necessary to review the tremendous importance of education to the individual, his family, and his community. The strength of our democracy depends upon an informed citizenry which understands the democratic values it must uphold. Also our economic prosperity, to a great degree, is determined by the knowledge and skills our citizens possess. Nor can ignorance be quarantined; it endangers, and is costly to the whole country.
It is fundamental to American democracy that each individual should be given a chance to achieve according to his ability and effort. Such realization is hardly possible if equal and adequate opportunity for education are denied. Because of the needy status of their family, their community, or their State, or because of their race, millions of American children have little or no provision for their schooling. Divergencies in State and district ability to provide a basic minimum education to every child can be corrected.
Our great Nation can and must deal effectively with this problem. It is clear that if an essential minimum school program is to be developed throughout the country, the Federal Government must extend financial aid to States and communities.
We urge such appropriations on condition: First, that the Federal control of education be prohibited; second, that Federal funds be authorized according to the educational responsibilities, financial need, and effort of each State; and third, that there be just and equitable apportionment of funds to schools maintained for minority groups. We strongly oppose the provision in S. 199 which would permit Federal aid to nonpublic schools. Also we are opposed to the provision in section 6B of S. 472 which would permit the use of Federal funds by nonpublic educational institutions in those States which permit the use of State funds for these schools. We urge that the bill be amended to limit the use of Federal funds to public schools only, in all States.
Senator DONNELL. By, "public," what do you mean?
Miss NEFF. Public tax-supported, publicly administered schools. While we recognize that the question of using public funds for the support of nonpublic education is an issue which must be fought out on the State level, we believe that the Federal Government has the right and obligation to limit its aid to tax-supported and publicly administered schools. In our opinion, the fear is unfounded that such designation would set a precedent for Federal encroachment upon the rights of the States.
We believe that the granting of public support to nonpublic schools would encourage the growth of sectarian schools and would undermine the American public education system and endanger democracy.
Our Nation gladly grants parents the right to determine the education of their children, provided that the schools they select meet certain standards. However, the right to attend or conduct a private