Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

upon him, such as the State or the county in which he happens to live.

The Eightieth Congress has a golden opportunity to realize this aim of American education by your considerations which have so far lived up to our expectations. We trust that you will not only study the problem of Federal aid to education but that you will also take measures to solve the problem.

We believe that you will recognize the obligation which you have so far boldly faced, take cognizance of the testimony this committee has been offered and enact suitable legislation in time to benefit the present generation of American school children. You have the power to end forever the denial of children's birthrights to a complete education, fitting them to take their place as citizens in the most complex and greatest of all nations in the not too far distant future.

This opportunity to have been heard by you is both an honor and a pleasure. We thank you.

Senator AIKEN. Thank you, Mr. Saunders.

Are there any questions on the part of the committee?

Senator DONNELL. Mr. Saunders, what is the High School Teachers Association? You say it is an organization of 5,000. Is it affiliated with one of the national unions?

Mr. SAUNDERS. We are affiliated with the National Education Association. We are not affiliated with any union as such. Senator DONNELL. How many high-school teachers are there in New York City?

Mr. SAUNDERS. Approximately 6,000.

Senator DONNELL. So your organization contains about five-sixths of the high-school teachers in New York City?

Mr. SAUNDERS. We have practically every teacher in, but I cannot say all are members at the present time because some have not renewed membership for this year as they ordinarily might be expected to do in the course of the year. But, generally speaking, we speak for every teacher, and over a period of years all of them will have joined our organization. It is a professional organization.

Senator AIKEN. The committee thanks you again.

We will call the next witness, Dr. J. M. Dawson, executive secretary for the Joint Conference Committee on Public Relations, Baptists of the United States.

STATEMENT OF DR. J. M. DAWSON, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY FOR THE JOINT CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC RELATIONS, BAPTISTS OF THE UNITED STATES

Dr. DAWSON. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee: My name is J. M. Dawson, executive secretary for the Joint Conference Committee on Public Relations for the Baptists of the United States who, according to the Yearbook of American Churches, interdenominational, 1945 edition, have a combined membership of more than 14,000,000 members. These Baptists are already waging a real campaign in the interest of the public schools, and may be counted upon to support Federal aid to them. Of the two pending bills, think S. 472 preferable. But I may say we are profoundly in sympathy with Federal aid to the schools because we believe that the public schools constitute the most powerful source of national unity. We

we

are convinced that the public schools are essential to our whole democratic conception of civilization and way of life. We further believe that these schools are the exponents of the true American culture. We recognize, therefore, the imperative need for strengthening such essential institutions, and would lend all possible influence to the proposal for equalizing opportunity to every section of the population throughout the country through the agency of the public schools. There is much else I should like to say with ardor concerning the importance of rendering this much-needed Government aid, but in the interest of time and space, I forbear.

In opposing the application of that part of S. 472 which stipulates provision for use of a proportionate amount of Federal funds to support nonpublic schools in States which have provisions for use of public tax money for some form of nonpublic school support, I wish to make it plain that we are not intolerant; in no sense to be put down as bigots. But it is not in the interest of public welfare to be forced into silence under the guise of fraternity. I have spoken extensively throughout the Nation on public programs conducted by the Brotherhood Movement under auspices of Catholics, Jews, and Protestants. The historic Baptist position in favor cf full religious liberty for all is sufficiently clear to enforce the contention we make for religions of whatever form and creed, under the American Constitution, to enjoy absolutely equal rights. For example, we wish to deny the Catholic no right which we ourselves shall claim, and would emphasize the fact that we seek no right which we would deny to the Catholic. Neither would we discriminate against the Catholics nor wish to give them special advantage under Government patronage.

In making the above statements, I am fully aware of the recent 5-to-4 decision of the Supreme Court in the New Jersey case which might be construed as upholding the provisions of some 19 States for various kinds of aid by means of public tax money for parochial or church schools. I think I can state, however, that whatever the reasons actuating the Justices, the public response to the Court's decision has been so pronouncedly adverse that the convictions of the people in the other 29 States of the Union concerning absolute separation of church and state make it extremely desirable not to apply Federal tax money to any phase of nonpublic or tax-free, private church schools.

Senator DONNELL. Dr. Dawson, you refer to provisions of some 19 States for various kinds of aid by means of public tax money for parochial or church schools. I am very much interested in your figure there because there has been some indication in earlier evidence that there was a very much smaller number of States that permit in their constitutional provisions such aid. Do you have with you a list of those 19 States or could you tell us which they are?

Dr. DAWSON. I am sorry; I did not bring the list with me. I have it in my office. The National Education Association has indicated. in a table these States which have these various forms of aid.

Senator DONNELL. May I ask the chairman if it would meet with his approval if Dr. Dawson would furnish to us the list, to be inserted in the record. I refer to the list of 19 States. I think it would be very interesting to know how that comes about and whether it is connected with the application of the school-lunch program whereby the Federal Government deals directly with the schools, in those

States whose constitutions or laws prohibit the State board of education from handling the money for school-lunch programs in the nonprofit private schools.

Senator AIKEN. There are 19 States, as I understand it, where the school boards handle the money for school lunches in private schools and 29 States where they do not.

Dr. DAWSON. I will be glad to furnish the list and to show that that is distributed among several items: Free textbooks, free bus rides, free lunches.

Senator AIKEN. It probably applies to transportation in more States than any other single item.

The Chair would like to ask a question at this point. Suppose that the use of public money was restricted to health services, medical inspections, and school nursing, and so forth. Would you still be opposed to it? In some schools, I believe that the health services are handled through one agency, and then perhaps the board of health; and then another through the State board of education-sometimes one or the other. But you would not have any objec ion to medical inspection in the private schools, would you?

Dr. DAWSON. I would have to say, in candor, that I would have to look into it carefully before expressing an opinion. But I will be happy to comply with your request to give a list of each State with the particular phase of aid extended.

(Subsequently Mr. Dawson submitted the list referred to as follows:)

Practice and usage in aid to sectarian schools and sectarianism in public schools as reported by State superintendents

[blocks in formation]

Practice and usage in aid to sectarian schools and sectarianism in public schools as reported by State superintendents—Continued

[blocks in formation]

Senator AIKEN. We will thank you for that..

What the Chair was getting at was the fact that a child from a Baptist or a Congregational or a parochial school could spread the measles or suffer from tonsilitis just as much as a child from any other school.

Dr. DAWSON. Surely. That would be citizen aid, I would take it. I beg to say that the application of tax funds to sectarian purposes tends to divide the Nation at a time when national unity is preeminently desirable. You must note the inevitable hostility arising in the Protestant majority population of the country against the special privileges sought by the Catholics, and undoubtedly accorded them, under an application of Federal funds. Nor can you ignore the bitter resentments and aggressive defense in turn on the part of the Catholics. Thus deplorably is the chasm deepened and widened between these two important portions of the population. We know that a powerful factor in the founding of the public-school system, with concentration of all Government aid to public schools, was the desirability of avoiding strife among the religious sects interested in securing financial aid. It is the function of the first amendment and the public-school system to avoid this very result, and Congress will best serve our country in acting with consistent regard for this.

If Congress should lend itself to the extension of present encroachments on public tax money by sectarian institutions, it would certainly weaken the support of public schools. It is not an act of hostility to the Catholics to state that they offer the parochial school as a substitute for the public school. To be sure, it is well understood, according to the Catholics' own statement, if they could have their way, parochial schools would entirely supplant the public schools. In some instances they have managed to turn public schools into parochial schools. The Knox Presbyterian Church, located just outside of Cincinnati, Church Calendar's article, and supported by numerous clippings from the Cincinnati papers, say:

THE LESSON OF NORTH COLLEGE HILL

Some years ago the Roman Catholic minority in North College Hill by alert politics secured control of the public school board. Under Ohio State law a board of education can lease or rent property for a public school, and can hire, through its superintendent, any qualified teacher to teach. They, therefore, secured a superintendent of schools who would do their bidding, leased the local Roman Catholic parochial school from the archdiocese, and hired the Roman Catholic nuns to teach in it. The parochial school went on as before, the bills now paid by the taxpayers, and the salaries of the nuns, who are sworn to poverty, going to Roman Catholic coffers.

Other instances are on file.

Also note, if public money can be appropriated to nonpublic parochial Catholic schools, then such money assuredly must be appropriated for those of every other denomination. There are 256 denominations in the United States. If all these are encouraged to seek appropriations for their sectarian schools, then the plight of the public schools will become obvious. In other words, if this happens, then we have to face the possibility not only of the great weakening but perhaps of the ultimate collapse of the whole public-school system in this country. That would be a sore calamity to our democratic order. For any disproportionate development of the parochial school system through Government aid could mean the disintegration of American democratic culture and the substitution of a medieval hierarchical nondemocratic culture instead. That would be to nullify the struggles of the founders, the satisfactions of the present inheritors of religious liberty, and to turn back the hands of the clock in American democracy.

In the cities of Birmingham, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Atlanta, Philadelphia, to mention only a few of the chief large centers, large groups of churchmen have recently registered their specific disapproval of any inclusion of Federal aid to sectarian schools on high grounds hereinbefore stated. The Congregational and Unitarians of Massachusetts meeting in State convention in Boston on yesterday, by request listened approvingly to Mr. E. Hilton Jackson, of Washington, D. C., as he set forth the reasons why such tax funds should not be made available to sectarian institutions.

Senator DONNELL. You say that the convention listened approvingly to Dr. Jackson. Did they pass any resolutions?

Dr. DAWSON. I think so. I do not have any resolutions with me but I had a long-distance call from Boston last night indicating hearty support of Mr. Jackson's deliverance.

And may I call, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, attention to the fact that the Protestant churches in Richmond, Va., recently adopted the following memorial to be presented to their various churches throughout the Nation:

Whereas tax funds carry the right of control by government and in such use as that stated above may ultimately lead to unwholesome linking of state influence upon church or church influence upon state; and

Whereas such use of public tax funds may aid, develop, and propagate religious groups creating antagonism, strife, and division among our American people; and Whereas our concept of democracy is a preservation of the rights of the minority groups in exercising freedom of conscience, and whereas the use of Federal tax funds may ultimately violate this principle of freedom of conscience through the exercise of undue influence by state upon church or church upon state: Therefore, be it

Resolved, that as citizens

We register our disappointment and alarm over the various legislative enactments both State and Federal and the recent decision of the United States

« EdellinenJatka »