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FEDERAL AID FOR
VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

A REPORT TO THE CARNEGIE FOUNDATION

FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING

BY

I. L. KANDEL

M.A., MANCHESTER; PH.D., COLUMBIA

BULLETIN NUMBER TEN

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KILI O NIHOYAL

NEW YORK CITY

576 FIFTH AVENUE

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INTRODUCTION

The present Bulletin, touching federal aid to education, grew out of various studies of the Foundation that had to do with the vocational schools and colleges in different states. It has seemed worth while for several reasons to publish the information thus brought together. There is wide misconception as to what took place in Congress in the enactment of the first Morrill Act, the predecessor of all other appropriations by the general government for education. The discussions which led up to the passage of that act are buried in numerous volumes of the Congressional Record not accessible to the public. A brief exhibit of this discussion is of high value in showing what the original intentions of Congress were, by what means the bill was enacted into law, and, most astonishing of all, the absence of any serious educational program. Congress had before it no clear, well-considered educational project. Senator Morrill himself knew very little of education. His wish was “to do something for the farmer.” The notion of a series of schools suited to the needs of boys and girls from the farm had been many times suggested. His bill took this form-not from any sound educational reason, but as being one of the most likely means by which something could be done for the farmers as a makeweight to the things done for other groups in the body politic.

Some account of the process by which these bills passed Congress is also opportune at this time for the reason that Congress is being pressed to undertake the general support and, impliedly, the supervision of education in various states. Such legislation, if actually carried out, will mean a transformation of our theory of governmental administration. Education was left, under the Constitution, to the separate states. Its support and its possible direction by the federal government would signify a new conception of our governmental relations.

This consideration is all the more important because projects for taking money from the federal treasury for the support of first one, then another form of education have become increasingly frequent, and have been pushed with more and more energy. One of the objections made by the critics of the first Morrill Act was based upon anticipation of exactly this state of affairs. They argued that once the doors of the federal treasury were opened for the promotion of educational projects in the separate states, the demands for such help would come in increasing volume. The defenders of the bill sharply objected to any such interpretation, but the history of legislation shows that exactly this has taken place. The Morrill Act of 1862 was followed by the second Morrill Act of August, 1890, and this by certain measures attached to appropriation bills for the Department of Agriculture in 1907. The first Morrill Act merely appropriated a certain number of acres of the public lands to the use of the states for educational purposes, but the succeeding acts have appropriated money directly. By 1911 the grants to the states for agricultural colleges reached an annual sum of $2,400,000.

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