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"Our Colorado General Assembly has recently passed legislation which will increase the amount of state support to public education from approximately 18 percent of the total cost to about 26 percent. Although this will give material help, it will fall far short of giving to all of our 200,000 Colorado school children the kind of educational opportunity to which they are entitled."
STATEMENT OF THE CONGRESS OF AMERICAN WOMEN ON THE NEED FOR FEDERAL AID FOR EDUCATION
The Congress of American Women, the American branch of the Women's International Democratic Federation, has a threefold program-world peace, women's equality, and child care and education. It believes that the care and
education of children is one of the most important elements of our national life. It recognizes the fact that many American children do not get either sufficient care or education. It further recognizes that America can give all her children at least basic minimum care and a basic minimum education. Therefore, the Congress of American Women wishes to give its full support to the principle of Federal aid to education.
The need for such legislation is crying, and has been brought to the attention of Congress many times. Our country's educational deficiencies were sharply brought out in the selective-service findings of August 1945, where it was reported that 676,300 men between the ages of 18 and 37 were rejected for educational and mental deficiencies. It was estimated that at least 300,000 of these were rejected solely for educational deficiencies.
Many factors contribute toward our low level of education-the gross underpayment of teachers, forcing them from the teaching profession, and more and more discouraging students from enrolling in teachers' colleges; overcrowded classrooms; run-down buildings and equipment; and lack of any teaching facilities in many rural areas. All these factors are reflections of inadequate funds for our school system. The result is a dangerous degeneration of American education.
The need for Federal aid to education is seen also in the inequality of education among the States. These differences have existed over a long period of years, and will continue to exist unless something is done about it on a national level. It is estimated that, at the extremes, some children get 60 times as much educational opportunity as do others, measured by the amounts of money spent on education. Often the poorest States financially are the richest in children, thus further burdening their load. This unfair disparity is still further shown in the fact that the poorer States spend a greater percentage of their income on support of schools than do the wealthier States, even though their per capita expenditures are far below those of the richer States.
The length of the school term too differs widely in the various States, ranging from 148 days in Mississippi to 187 days in Illinois. Rural schools, which have the most deficiencies, also usually have shorter terms than do urban schools. There is inequality of education within as well as among most States. Even the richest States have so-called educational slums.
The Federal Government's responsibility in this picture seems obvious. It must see that no child is punished by mere accident of birthplace. It must equalize opportunities for all children. The lack of a Federal program these many years has resulted in some of the products brought out in last year's testimony. According to the 1940 census, 10,000,000 adults have insufficient schooling to meet the demands of modern life; 3,000,000 adults have not attended school of any kind; in West Virginia, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina, one-third of the adult population has had less than 5 years of schooling; in 1940 2,000,000 school-age children were not attending school.
The very basis of American life, opportunity, can have little meaning unless a child has at least a basic minimum education. It would be denied by few that America has the resources and the technical skill to correct its educational deficiencies. We lack only the necessary unity of purpose.
In considering Federal aid for education we must be certain that any legislation promulgated really answers the needs. Under the formula proposed in S. 472
about half the States would be ineligible for Federal aid, and there is need for such aid in nearly every State of the Union. Among those States which do qualify for aid there is no minimum amount provided. And, most important of all, the educational floor of $40 proposed is not only extremely low for the richest country in the world but is inadequate to meet the gross deficiencies.
On the other hand, the $100 floor proposed in S. 199 would not only give adequate educational opportunities to those children who do not now have it but would raise the entire national level of education, because no States would be excluded.
However, the Congress of American Women does believe that the financial ability of each State should be taken into consideration through a system of variable_matching grants-in-aid so that the more needy States will get a larger share. It believes, too, that the allotments should be granted to the States on the basis of the total number of school-age children in that State, rather than merely on the number of pupils enrolled in public schools. For it has been shown that there are many school-age children, particularly in rural areas, who are not now in school, and who could be if schools and teachers were made more easily available to them.
Both bills include some provision for the utilization of public funds by nonpublic schools. The apportionment of tax funds to institutions which are not available to all the citizens if of questionable validity. Indeed, such a proposal is in violation of one of the principles of the Constitution long upheld in the American way of life, the separation of church and state.
The overwhelming evidence of the long-overdue need for Federal aid to education should not longer go unheeded. For the reasons outlined above, the Congress of American Women strongly urges that legislation be immediately enacted to provide adequate minimal educational expenditures for every American child.
Senator ROBERT A. TAFT,
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
Chairman, Committee on Labor and Public Welfare,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
DEAR SENATOR TAFT: I am addressing you as chairman of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare to request that, in any legislation providing Federal aid for education that may be reported by this committee, the Territory of Hawaii be dealt with in all respects on identically the same basis as are the States.
Hawaii feels strongly that in all Federal legislation of this character it should receive equal treatment with the States. It does not want to be set aside for special treatment.
Hawaii's request for statehood has this as its basis. This principle is the only sound basis for determining the relationship of Hawaii and the rest of the country. It has been recognized as such by every committee of Congress which has examined the question of statehood for Hawaii and by both major political parties.
The general laws of the country including those providing for taxation all extend to Hawaii. The people of Hawaii not only pay the same taxes to the Federal Government as do the people of the States, but in the aggregate normally contribute to the Federal Treasury more than 14 to 15 States. On this basis alone Hawaii feels entitled to participate on equal terms with the States in legislation of this character.
Experience has shown this principle is sound in practice. It has been demonstrated by the inclusion of the Territory in the Federal Aid for Roads Act and many other similar measures on the same basis as the States.
On the contrary, the departure from this principle especially on the basis as has been proposed to your committee has proven to operate both unjustly and unfairly to Hawaii.
Section 4 of the National School Lunch Act (Public Law 396, 79th Cong.) provides that a specific limitation be placed on the apportionment of funds for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Inclusion of Hawaii with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in this limitation operates to the serious disadvantage of Hawaii. Economic standards prevailing in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are far below those of Hawaii. The population of Puerto Rico is four times that of Hawaii. The per capita income in Puerto Rico is $191 and in the Virgin Islands $115, whereas the per capita income in Hawaii is $1,061. The latter figure is close to the national average.
To bring Hawaii into competition with Puerto Rico for Federal aid funds where the measure used is the need of funds is extremely disadvantageous to Hawaii under the form of limitation prevailing in the School Lunch Act and proposed in at least one of the bills providing Federal aid for education. It is manifestly unfair as it imposes on Hawaii a burden that should be borne by all the States.
The Territory of Hawaii is dealt with on the same basis as the States in S. 81, S. 170, and S. 199, but becomes the object of special treatment in S. 472.
I should like to recommend therefore that in the event the method of apportionment embodied in S. 472 is adopted that it be amended so as to eliminate the reference to Hawaii in paragraph (G) on page 5, line 19.
The information required in paragraphs (a) and (b) of section 4, on page 3 including the "number of children from 5 to 17 years of age" and the "average of the annual income payments for each State" can be very readily ascertained. The fact that this information may not be available in the Department of Commerce at the present time offers no reason why it cannot be obtained so that the Territory of Hawaii can be covered within this formula.
Enclosed for the information of yourself and the committee are letters on this legislation from Mr. Harold Loper, superintendent of public instruction of the Territory of Hawaii, and from Mrs. Elizabeth St. John, the president of the Hawaii Congress of Parents and Teachers, and a radiogram from Mr. James R. McDonough, executive secretary of Hawaii Education Association, relating to this legislation.
I should like to request that this correspondence be made a portion of the record of the hearings on this legislation. Yours sincerely,
J. R. FARRINGTON,
TERRITORY OF HAWAII,
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION,
The HON. JOSEPH R. FARRINGTON,
Delegate From Hawaii, House Office Building,
Washington 25, D. C.
DEAR JOE: Thank you for your letter of April 18 and the opportunity for studying the bills for Federal school aid.
On the basis of a rather hurried examination of the bills, I am glad to be able to give you our not too fully considered opinions.
S. 472 would appear to be the most desirable bill from the standpoint of meeting our problems in Hawaii. While it would probably provide the smallest amount in terms of dollars and while the clause for distribution of the 2 percent to offshore areas leaves something to be desired, there are some reasons why it would be preferable to the other three bills.
Since the bill states that the distribution is to be made "upon the basis of joint agreements made with their respective State educational authorities," it is possible that there is a degree of protection on this score although we should prefer to have it stated as a distribution on the basis of average daily attendance.
One of the most important reasons for our preference for this bill is that it would provide this department with a degree of freedom which it does not have under the present arrangement wherein the legislature controls and mandates individual expenditures. While we would use by far the greater portion of such funds for salary increases, it would make possible a marginal amount for use at the discretion of the Administration. Under the provisions of the Territorial Appropriations Act as it now stands, if S. 170 or S. 81 were to become law, we would not even be able to provide the clerical assistance necessary to make the payments of the increased salaries made possible by such Federal aid. Although we agree with the implications of these two bills that increase of teachers' salaries is of prime importance, there are some other real problems which could be met through the provisions of Federal aid as outlined in S. 472.
S. 199 has the same advantages as were mentioned in connection with S. 472, but is second in our preference chiefly because it seems to us less likely to gain favorable action both because of its generous terms and because it stirs up the issue of support for private schools. There is strong opposition to it in certain areas and we feel that a controversy might result in its failure. If, on the other hand, it should be your opinion that that very factor would strengthen rather than weaken it, we should be most happy to see S. 199 become law.
The chief problem which occurs to us in S. 170 and S. 81 has to do with the definition of the word "teachers." S. 170 does not define the term at all and S. 81 defines it in such a way that it appears probable that some of our employees would thus receive increases while principals and some others would not. We feel that this would be detrimental to the morale of those not favored. Your interest and efforts in behalf of our schools and school people are deeply and sincerely appreciated.
Very truly yours,
W. H. LOPER, Superintendent.
HAWAII CONGRESS OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS,
Hon. JOSEPH R. FARRINGTON,
MCKINLEY HIGH SCHOOL, Honolulu 53, T. H., April 30, 1947.
Delegate From Hawaii, House of Representatives,
Washington, D. C.
SIR: Your letter of April 18 enclosing Senate bills 199, 81, 170, and 472 was of great interest to the executive board of the Hawaii Congress of Parents and Teachers.
After considerable discussion the executive board voted to support S. 81, S. 170, and S. 472, provided that Hawaii receive a pro rata share of the funds so allotted. Hawaii did not enjoy the discrimination exercised against her in the case of the School Lunch Act.
The failure of the Department of Commerce in having figures for the annual income payments for Hawaii for the years set forth in the legislation is just one more proof that it is time for the Congress of the United States to give statehood to Hawaii. Hawaii must not be discrininated against because of this technicality. S. 199 called forth a storm of protest. At no time must public money ever be spent for assistance to private schools. The Hawaii Congress also disagrees with the Supreme Court decision No. 52 of the October term, 1946, which approved of reimbursing parents of private school children in New Jersey for their transportation under certain circumstances, the majority of such schools being parochial and in rural areas.
Let me remind you that the National Congress of Parents and Teachers also disagrees with the decision of the Supreme Court.
'In this current Legislature of the Territory of Hawaii a bill authorizing public funds to be used for purchasing certain textbooks for private schools has just been defeated.
In my own mind the question of Federal aid to the individual States needs careful consideration. The responsibility of self-government must not be tampered with too far. Is there any committee in the National Congress working with an over-all picture of taxation? For instance some of the taxes collected by the Federal Government might be collected instead by the States and then turned back for education.
Thank you for your letter of April 18 and enclosed bills for Federal aid. urge that you support S. 472 and request that you endeavor to have the bill amended to provide for distribution of aid on the basis of average daily attendance instead of the 2 percent to offshore areas as provided in the original bill. Thank you for your vigilance in safeguarding the interest of education. in Hawaii.
JAMES R. MCDONOUGH, Hawaii Education Association.
MARCH 17, 1947.
Hon. BRIEN MCMAHON,
Washington, D. C.
DEAR SENATOR MCMAHON: I want to thank you for sending me reports at intervals.
There is a most important matter now before the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare which deals with Federal aid to public education.
I know that you are not a member of the committee, but since you'll eventually have to act upon it I am certain you'd like to hear my view relative to certain dangers.
It has come to my attention that the Catholic Church is out to secure public support for parochial education. The issue is sharp. Federal aid to education
Public aid to nonpublic schools is another. Certainly one cannot be charged with religious prejudice in calling attention to the inherent dangers in the demand the Catholic Church is making upon the committee mentioned above. We do not want religous division in this country. We do not want privileges granted to special groups be they Catholic, Jewish, or Protestant. The American school system is based upon the democratic concept which always involves direct responsibility to the people as a whole. Parochial schools are not public schools in terms of this democratic concept, and therefore any effort to secure public funds for private religious schools is dangerous in every way, since it inevitably will divide people in various communities into factions, a thing we do not want here.
I'd appreciate your kind reaction to my suggestion. If we are going to give Federal aid to education let us do it in such a way as to alleviate inequalities in educational opportunities, etc., but let us never in this great land seek privilege of one sector of society at the expense of another and without power to be repre
JOHN T. D. FRANZEN, Minister.
John FRANZEN, Seymour Methodist Church, Seymour, Conn.
ALABAMA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION,
Montgomery 4, Ala., April 14, 1947.
Hon. GEORGE D. AIKEN,
Chairman Senate Subcommittee on Education,
Senate Office Building, Washington 25, D. C.
DEAR SENATOR AIKEN: At a meeting March 26, 1947, the assembly of delegates adopted the following section of a legislative program to be presented to the governor and the 1947 legislature:
"The Alabama Education Association recommends to Governor Folsom and the members of the 1947 legislature that they recognize the need of Federal financial aid in improving Alabama's public-school system and, through appropriate means, advocate such aid, without Federal control (1) for general education so that the educational opportunities in Alabama may be more nearly equalized with those throughout the Nation, and (2) for the acquisition of school sites and the construction of school buildings and facilities."
At a meeting of the assembly on March 28, 1947, the assembly of delegates of the Alabama Education Association endorsed the following resolution:
"In a democracy all the children of all the people should have relatively equal educational opportunities. Because of unequal social and economic factors existing in the several States this ideal is impossible of realization if left wholly to the States. Therefore, the Federal Government has an obligation to assist the less fortunately situated States in eradicating these inequalities. This should be done through Federal appropriations to the States to be expended by the duly constituted educational authorities of the respective States.'
Through the inclusion of the section in its legislative program the association called upon the 1947 legislature to reaffirm the position taken by a predecessor legislature, that of 1939, which on March 6, 1939, approved the following joint resolution:
"Whereas the inadequacy of the financial support of public education in Alabama is generally recognized and admitted, and
"Whereas such inadequacy is established by teachers' salaries, school terms, and classroom facilities that are far below the national averages, and