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the South of Federal aid to education. The Southern Conference for Human Welfare, is concerned with the betterment of the South and recognizes that the most pressing problem in our southern States is that of education. Ignorance and illiteracy on one side of the balance, poverty and prejudice on the other, these have made the South the target of that pointing finger-national and international-which says in effect: "This is a poor sample of a great nation and a living democracy.'
Selective service experience showed that 9 out of every 10 illiterates were from the South. More than six out of every hundred southern young men could not write their names. When we translate this into absolute figures, it is rather appalling. It means that thousands of our people are doomed to illiteracy and millions more to ignorance not far removed from illiteracy.
Statistics make dull conversation but they also show us rather clearly the shortcomings of southern education. The 1940 census figures reveal, for example, that among all the people of the South aged 25 or over, only 1 in 10 had finished high school. Almost 6 percent of the southern adult population had never been to school at all, as compared with 3 percent for the rest of the Nation. Eighteen percent of the southern population had never reached the fifth grade. In 1940, only 75 percent of all southern children of school age were enrolled in school. This compares with 86 percent for the rest of the Nation. No matter how we look at it, southerners have not been as well educated as people in other parts of the country. Worse than that, the young people of the present day are not being provided with as high a level of education as young people in the rest of the United States.
Our next question is why? Why should the South lag behind the rest of the Nation in educational opportunity? The answer is poverty. Education requires money and, although the South is spending a greater share of its wealth for education than other sections of the country, it simply does not have enough money to keep up with other parts of the country. We have, in the South, one-third of the Nation's children. We have only one-eighth of the Nation's taxable wealth. We have tried hard to do what we could with limited resources, but the relative insufficiency of taxable wealth confronts us with a formidable barrier.
In 1939 and 1940 the total outlay for public schools in the United States was $2,300,000,000. Of this amount, only $400,000,000 (about 17 percent), was expended by the South. Yet we have one-third of the school children. To educate them properly, we should be spending one-third of the national education bill.
I think we have tried hard to improve education, despite our limited resources. Some States have spent over 50 percent of their tax income for education. It does not seem likely that we can squeeze much more money for education out of our limited resources. Lack of industrial production (as compared with other sections) and its attendant lack of wealth, have given us a meager portion of taxable wealth. Without Federal aid, we cannot solve effectively this problem of inadequate education.
I think it would be pertinent here to present some more detailed comparative figures on financing of education in the South as compared with the rest of the country. The figures are truly startling. They are taken from such sources as census figures, the National Education Association, the American Council on Education, from the recently completed New York Times survey on public school education, etc.
First, let us see how the average student in the South compares with his fellow student outside of the South. In 1940 the average yearly cost of educating one pupil in the nonsouthern schools was $114.28. In the South, for the same period, the amount allotted for one pupil was less than half that amount-only $50.79. Now, take the so-called average classroom unit. In 1946 the over-all cost of operating a typical classroom in the 31 nonsouthern States was $2,199. In the 17 southern and border States, the average per white classroom unit was $1,166 and the average per Negro classroom unit was $477. If we study figures for the 13 Southern States alone, we find them to be even lower, since the border States like Delaware and Maryland raise that over-all average which I quoted earlier. The New York Times study revealed that at the top level, schools spend as much as $6,000 per classroom unit, while at the bottom level, which is to be found in the South, schools spend as little as $100 per classroom unit.
However, this comparison of expenditures per average child and per average classroom unit only reveals a part of the story. How about the quality of education? How do the teachers, the school buildings, the school equipment of the South compare with the rest of the Nation? Again, it is money which tells.
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Study reveals that the average training of southern teachers is below the national standard. Although there are exceptions, salary is a fairly basic index to training. Now in 1940 the national average public-school teacher's salary was $1,441 a year. In the South, the average teacher got less than $1,000 a year, with Mississippi for instance averaging less than $600. Breaking this down for rural and urban schools, the average southern urban teacher got $1,209, the nonsouthern got $2,124. The average southern rural teacher got $732 while the nonsouthern got $1,109.
As for school property, our Nation in 1941-42 valued its school property at $8,000,000,000. In the 13 Southern States, the total value was $1,250,000,000. That means that the section of this country which has one-third of the school children of the Nation has only one-fifth of the national value of school property. The final aspect of the quality of education lies in the size of the average classroom. Figures for 1941-42 show that the average American teacher handled a class of 24.5 pupils. The average for the 17 southern and border States was 28.6 pupils for white teachers and 36.1 pupils for Negro teachers.
Thus we have a picture of the southern school child, whose school equipment is meager, whose teacher is poorly qualified, poorly paid, and forced to handle more children than elsewhere in the country; we have a picture of the southern school child with lower average daily attendance, with less chance of finishing grade school or high school than elsewhere in the Nation. No wonder I feel impelled to unload these statistics upon your committee, since they may be changed so much for the better by your action on the Federal aid bills which you are considering here.
Since the Negro represents a special problem in these statistics for southern education, I would like to discuss this aspect briefly. The education of the Negro population of the South is, as you know, below the level that I have just described. The draft figures reveal that six out of nine illiterates in the South were Negro. Over one-third of Negro adults have not had a fifth-grade education. Little more than 2 out of every 100 have had a high-school education. The quality of education offered in Negro public schools is very poor. The educational background of many Negro teachers is inadequate. In seven Southern States, only about one out of three colored teachers has had a college education. The greater part of them have only 2 years or less of college education. In eight Southern States, the salaries of Negro teachers in 1939-40 ranged from $600 a year to $235 a year. A larger share of the South's total income goes for education than in other regions of this country. In 1943-44 more than half of the Southern States exceeded the national average expenditure for education of 1.55 percent of total income; one Southern State devoted 2.47 percent to this purpose. The fact is simply that the South's burden of attempting to educate one-third of the Nation's children with one-fifth of the Nation's income is too great for it, unaided, to support.
For that reason the Southern Conference for Human Welfare heartily endorses all bills that favor Federal aid for public education. We approve of S. 472, in its provisions for public education, but we do not think it goes far enough. We are much more in favor of S. 199 in its provisions for public schools. We oppose the provisions in all bills before you which would give public money to foster private education. We believe that the public schools are basic safeguards of democracy and that every effort should be made to strengthen them so that America can realize its democratic possibilities.
Senator AIKEN. The Chair wants to make it clear right now that it does not approve the use of public funds for teaching in nonpublic schools. The Chair is very much concerned over the health and general welfare of children in all schools, public and private, both.
Senator Fulbright, who is famed both as an educator and as a legislator, has come into the room and has been invited to give the committee the benefit of his opinion regarding Federal aid to education.
Senator Fulbright, will you favor the committee with your opinion on this subject?
STATEMENT BY HON. J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT, A UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF ARKANSAS
Senator FULBRIGHT. I want to thank the gentlemen of the committee for their courtesy.
Senator DONNELL. Will the Senator be kind enough to state his connection with educational work, particularly his connection with the University of Arkansas so we might have in the record what we generally know and understand?
Senator FULBRIGHT. I was afraid that might create the impression that I was prejudiced in that matter. I know one of the great handicaps I have in politics is the fact I used to be a professor. Every time the Chicago Tribune is critical of me, they start out by saying, “That professor.
Senator AIKEN. You do not think that education is considered a handicap to one engaged in politics?
Senator FULBRIGHT. In the process of becoming elected it is. [Laughter.]
I am J. W. Fulbright, Senator from Arkansas. I was formerly instructor in law at George Washington University and was president of the University of Arkansas.
Mr. Chairman, I was a member of Committee on Education and Labor, the predecessor of this committee, last year. I know that you have voluminous testimony about the statistics and the details of the situation that exists in education today and I do not propose to go over it.
I have before me a statement presented earlier by the Commissioner of Education, Mr. Ralph Jones, of Arkansas, in which he gives you in great detail the situation in my State which is one of the States which would benefit greatly by the Taft-Hill-Thomas bill, S. 472. I am more familiar with that bill and am here to support it for various reasons. I was here when the development of the bill in its initial stages took place. I think it is the most practical bill, the one most likely to be accepted by the Congress. For this reason, I believe that this is the bill that we should concentrate on. I do not mean that I would oppose S. 199 if I thought that it could be adopted, but I think that in view of the situation in the Congress, the great desire to cut governmental expenditures, that it would be probably too much to hope to obtain the funds which are contemplated by that bill.
I am particularly interested in getting the principle of Federal aid to education established so that we could start on the program of developing the administration of the Federal aid program and gain the acceptance by the people of the principle that the Federal government has an obligation in this field. Therefore, it leads me to support the bill which I think is most likely to be adopted. If the committee believes that the Aiken Bill can be adopted, I would of course support that. I might say I would support nearly any bill to get started the principle of Federal aid to education.
I thought that if I could give any ideas or persuasion here, really some observations that have come to me primarily since I have been in politics, I would. I often think of the emphasis that Thomas Jefferson put upon education. I am sure that he felt that in a system
such as we are trying to make operate in this country in which the people participate in the Government, that it is absolutely essential that we have an efficient and effective educational system.
I personally think that we have neglected our education more than any other single activity as a people, both on the State level and, of course, on the Federal level; and we have survived and prospered during the first 160 years of our Nation largely because we have not been confronted with or at least we have not participated in the difficult world problems. I think the situation that we now face as a Nation highlights and emphasizes this necessity for a better educational system. I do not think that we can discharge our obligations in the field of foreign affairs, as a Nation, without a gradual improvement in the level of understanding of our people.
I find in nearly every case of a bill which involves our foreign policies that the people at home do not understand its significance. They are unable to understand that we are attempting to control events or to direct events in the world for our own interest. They are very confused about our relations with the rest of the world. They insist in a sense they persist-in believing that everything we do is for charity. They are very proud of our generosity and whenever we have bills such as we have had now and we just had, the people persist in that view. This indicates to me a lack of understanding of the history of the human race and the history of political institutions in general. I do not see any cure for it except better education. It is a long-term process, I realize.
I do not look at Federal aid as something that will have a great effect next year, but I think in several generations if our people as a whole are better educated-and by education here I mean education in the liberal arts-history and politics and economics, the neglect of which I think is the greatest defect in our educational systemthey will understand what many of us are trying to do in the Congress. General understanding of these policies is the only hope for the survival of western civilization. To me, that is an all-important consideration in support of this bill.
I could go on at great length pointing out the many difficulties that we have had and I think mistakes that we have made in the past, particularly after the First World War, most of which were due, I think, to a lack of understanding of what our proper role should be. There was doubtlessly a lack of understanding of the significance of that war and of its consequences and a failure to understand the purposes of the League of Nations. All of that, comes right back to a poor educational system in which an understanding of the history of human institutions was lacking.
That is one of the most compelling reasons, to me. And, as I say, many of our leaders in the past have emphasized it, particularly Thomas Jefferson. He was interested in the creation and promotion of the University of Virginia, I believe, more than he was in any other single activity. He recognized that the very nature of our Government required a very intelligent electorate and people who could understand the policies of the Government and who would participate in it.
If we had the kind of government they had in Germany, of course this is not important from the point of view of those who are running the Government, all totalitarian governments require of their citi
zens is that they obey orders and the less they understand the better because if they understood, they might not obey so willingly.
Senator HILL. Could I give you a quotation from Jefferson right here?
"That nation which expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization expects that which never was and never will be." That is just what you said very finely.
Senator FULBRIGHT. I am not very good on quotations but Washington also expressed views along that line as to the necessity of the promotion of understanding of the people. It seems to me education. is just fundamental. When we look at what we have done for education in this country, the relative expenditure of our income, it is a pitiful amount when you compare it to all sorts of other things, such as horse-racing, tobacco, perfumes, anything that is in common use. It seems to me out of all proportion and is inexcusable. I know from personal experience that this is true because I run into lack of understanding nearly every day in letters; and when I go home to speak, I know that the people are simply unable to see how their welfare and this country is related to these world-wide problems. Such knowledge might be acquired through travel, but that is not very practical. The cheapest and easiest way to get it is through better schools and by reading and by taking advantage of others' experience. under the traditional system of education.
I think while we have had a good deal of mass education, it has too often been of poor quality. That comes back to the object of this bill: to provide sufficient money to attract good teachers. We all know they simply cannot and we cannot expect to get competent teachers with the kind of salaries we pay them because people can make so much more in professions that require no training. They can clean out our offices here and make more money than they can teaching school. You, of course, know all of those examples of the disproportion in the pay.
If you differ as to our obligations in the international field and want to look at only the domestic field, the significance of education in the welfare of the people is usually overlooked in such fields as health and old-age assistance. While I, of course, think we ought to build hospitals and all that, it seems to me that nothing would contribute more to a better standard of health than a sound education of the people because that would be preventive. I think that a much better educational system would do more to prevent the poor level of health that was revealed to us in the selective-service examinations of our youth than nearly any other single thing. Education might in the longrun likewise lessen the need for such programs as old-age assistance. Every State supports such a program and so does the Federal Government, and yet you find a very close connection between lack of education and need for assistance. In other words, if you will spend more money in educating them, they will be more self-sufficient and will not be on the assistance rolls. This would, in may opinion, offer a long-term, materially and substantially lessened need for the dole, so to speak, or for old-age pensions. It is a much more reasonable way to approach that problem. There is at least some hope for improvement over the years if we emphasize education, whereas if we wait until they are already destitute, all we are doing is keeping such people alive and as comfortable as possible. It is a