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hearings here in New York, so that we can get this very important testimony for his own comments before we proceed with your testimony, Mr. Deputy Mayor.
Mr. SCHEUER. I want to express my great pleasure at having the deputy mayor with us this morning. We all know how terribly crowded his schedule is, and we are grateful he has taken time out to appear with us. He and his colleagues, the top echelons of city hall, have provided great zeal and superb professionalism with which they have approached the problems of the city.
The deputy mayor, particularly in terms of the competition and the vigor with which he is prosecuting various desperately needed city programs, is to be commended for the thrust and the monument which he is creating and maintaining in city hall.
It is a very great pleasure to have you with us, Mr. Costello. STATEMENT OF HON. TIMOTHY COSTELLO, DEPUTY MAYOR,
THE CITY OF NEW YORK Mr. COSTELLO. Thank you very much, Congressman Scheuer.
Honorable Members of the House of Representatives assembled here as the Select Subcommittee on Education, I am indeed delighted and honored to have been invited to testify here on H.R. 9339. Before going into the bill itself, I would like to use this as an occasion to suggest a kind of cooperation between Federal and municipal levels which must take place if we are going to be able to solve the very real problems of the large urban complexes which, so much these days, characterizə the nature of our country.
I think Congressman Scheuer is to be commended for the degree of cooperation he has shown in trying to bring together the resources of the Federal Government and the problems of city life in an effort to blend these and produce effective solutions.
I am here today to present the support of the Lindsay administration for the bill that would make it possible to provide the same kind of lunches that are now provided during the regular school year to youngsters during the summer months.
I want to testify briefly around three principal points.
There is no Federal program designed to attack poverty, to build health, and to promote education that has been so favorably received and so effective as the school lunch program. Too often, we initiate new programs without the benefit of prior successful experience. Here, on the contrary, we have the benefit of a very successful program that has been going on on a part-time basis.
It seems only natural to me that so successful a part-time program ought to be extended to a full-year operation. I would wish that all of our programs could be extended after a prior background of so much success. That would be point No. 1, the extension of a program that has already been demonstrated to be successful in meeting its goals.
There is a second problem that I think will sharply bring this into focus. It is no longer possible for us to think of education as a parttime activity of the child during 9 months of his school year. School, as a matter of fact, is only one of the learning experiences a child must have if he is going to be prepared for our complex society.
We are beginning to see that activities, somewhat different from the regular school activities, must take place during the important 3 months of the summer. This city, as well as other cities, has organized such programs, but as yet they have failed to bring into those programs the same kind of provision for federally supported lunches.
I am happy to testify on behalf of a bill which gives recognition to the fact, in a subtle way perhaps but nevertheless effective recognition, that education is a full-time experience of the child, perhaps from birth all the way up through 21, and that what takes place in our organized educational activities in the summer is just as important for him as what takes place during the school months.
We all know that successful response to educational opportunities depends upon proper nourishment. All of us have seen how sometimes children have failed to learn to read simply because they are not properly nourished. I have had the experience of talking to a principal up in the Bronx who discovered a lackadaisical attitude, particularly of the young children during the early hours of the morning.
When he looked into the situation he discovered that one of the principal reasons for this was that so many of these children came without breakfast. They came without breakfast, not because there was not a sense of devotion on the part of the parents, but too often parents had left the home in order to go to employment before the children were up and ready for school.
He found it possible and necessary to initiate a breakfast program here.
I am citing this example to emphasize the important relations that exist between proper response to educational opportunity and proper opportunity to eat normal meals. Many of our children from educationally deprived and culturally deprived neighborhoods do not have an opportunity to eat nourishing meals.
This occurs during the summertime as well as during the school year. Of course, this bill will rectify that situation.
There is a third point here. I imagine that those who do not come from cities as well as those who do come from cities will be forced to agree. The real domestic problems our country is facing are the problems of the cities. Anything we can do to provide Federal support to meet some of these problems, crucial problems, in the way of programs that have already been demonstrated to be successful we should press.
So, I am delighted that your committee is exploring the opportunity of Congress passing H.R. 9339. You have our wholehearted support and interest in this. We will continue to pay close attention to what happens to this bill with the full expectation that, if not this summer, certainly in a very soon summer, we will have an opportunity of providing summer lunches for our young people in the city of New York.
Thank you very much, Gentlemen.
Mr. PuCINSKI. Mr. Mayor, we certainly are grateful to you for taking time from your very busy schedule to be here with us this morning and sharing with us your views. We are also fortunate in having with us this morning a distinguished member of our committee, a member from your neighboring State of New Jersey, who has sponsored some important legislation in our committee.
I am grateful that he has joined us this morning for these hearings. Mr. Daniels.
Mr. DANIELS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Costello, I want to commend you for appearing here this morning and giving us the benefits of your views which were very finely expressed.
I wholeheartedly agree with you that we just cannot take care of these children during the 9 months of the school year, provide them with nourishment during that time, many of whom are in the poverty class and cannot afford to get the proper nutritional food that their bodies need in order to respond properly to the teaching in our classrooms.
So, I wholeheartedly agree with you and with the sponsor of this bill, our very energetic and competent colleague from New York, Mr. Scheuer, that we should endeavor to provide such good nourishing food during the 3 summer months.
I want to thank you for coming here today and giving us the views of the administration of the city of New York.
Give my regards to my former colleague, the present mayor.
Mr. SCHEUER. I am very much impressed with the tone of your testimony. Can you give us any rough ideas as to the percentage of the schoolchildren in New York who come from deprived homes and deprived neighborhoods?
Mr. COSTELLO. This figure, of course, varies considerably from one borough to the next. Without conferring with some of the experts in the field I hesitate to mention any percent. I think the point, Congressman, is not that there are 100 percent or 50 percent who come from deprived homes where there might not be an opportunity for nourishing meals but there is a substantial number of children, in New York, in a number that I think a conservative estimate might be 25 to 30 percent of our population who come from homes where for one reason or another they do not have the opportunity to obtain the fully nourishing meals that are required not only for physical growth but psychological growth as well.
I think it would be an important item for us to get for you a more precise estimate of what this number is. Unquestionably, it is a substantial number of the children in New York City.
Mr. SCHEUER. I am interested in your mention of the question of psychological growth. I would ask you as a very distinguished member of the New York teaching fraternity, a former professor in our city college system, whether it is not true that the learning process goes on in summertime even though our children are involved in recreational and social activities?
Recalling the words of Prof. John Dewey, "We learn to skate in summer and swim in winter," isn't it true that learning goes on and a child's physical well-being in the summertime, certainly his adequate nourishment in the summertime, will fortify his health all the year around and really make the learning that he has absorbed during the winter count for more and will help him absorb it, help it to sink in, and help to make him a more effective person by the time he gets to the school in the fall.
Mr. COSTELLO. Congressman, there is no doubt about what you say. I will go further than that. It is entirely possible to make out a case for the fact that the kind of social experience provided by group activity in the summer constitute a more- an even more important type of learning than might take place under some circumstances in the classroom.
Reading, of course, and number work, awareness of the history of the country are all vital and constitute the foundation of learning but the degree to which this foundation can be used as a springboard for an effective action, family life later on, municipal life as a citizen, depends on the social skills that the youngster will learn.
These social skills are largely learned in the summer months through organized activity, group activity.
The capacity of the child to respond effectively to other children depends as much on how well fed he is as on anything else. The child who is made irritable, who withdraws simply because he is hungry or has been fed on heavily starchy foods, does not pick up the social skills which constitute the leaven which makes more useful the basic skills he picks up in the classroom.
Mr. SCHEUER. That is a remarkably interesting response. I am very grateful to you for your testimony.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Mr. Costello, I would like to congratulate your mayor for his excellent choice of a deputy. Your testimony this morning reflects a very deep understanding of the social problems of not only this community but similar communities across the country.
It is always a great pleasure and a source of great comfort to us in Washington to know that the local levels of government have competent people because I have said repeatedly that the strength of this country is not in Washington but in local governments. When we see competent and knowledgeable people like yourself coming before a congressional committee
and demonstrating a deep understanding of the sociological problems involved in this legislation and the efforts that you are making to correct these problems, I would say that the future of this country is reasonably well secure.
Now, I want to ask you a couple of technical questions here. This bill provides that assistance under this act shall be available for children between the ages of 6 and 16. I believe that you and New York, like the rest of the cities in America, have had notable success with the Headstart program during the summer months.
I was just wondering whether you would not think that perhaps we should have this bill apply to children of nursery age, which is generally accepted as the age of 3. Perhaps that might give you a little more latitude in dealing with your day-care programs that you have during your summer months. I am sure you have these various other programs that you have for the very young, the preschool age youngster who, within the present language of the bill, could be excluded.
I am sure that the sponsor of the bill would accept such amendment. I am sure he has already thought of it. I would just like to get your views as to whether or not you feel that putting the starting age at, let us say, 3 rather than 6, would avoid creating a gap that later could become very troublesome.
Mr. COSTELLO. I am sorry that I had not recognized this problem in the bill, Congressman. I agree totally with you. Increasingly, we are recognizing these days that the educational process does not begin at 6. It should begin much earlier than that for some of our children because it does not begin properly in homes that have been deprived for one reason or another.
We have brought these youngsters out of the nursery and we must assume responsibility for making sure that what applies to those from 6 to 16 also applies to the youngsters beginning at 3. If the bill could be so amended it would seem to me this would improve it.
Mr. SCHEUER. We decided to draft this bill more or less as an extension of the regular winter school lunch program for children from ages 6 to 16. Now the Headstart programs during the winter are funded for their own lunches. I hope very much that we will adduce enough testimony in the course of our hearings supporting a change in that age group, so that we will feel justified in presenting a bill to the Congress that includes lunches for the 3-year-olds and up. Ultimately, I have a suspicion that the regular school lunch program during the school term will also be amended to follow that example.
Mr. COSTELLO. That is a very interesting example of where an extension of a program, in turn, has an impact on the basic program itself.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Mr. Costello, this bill provides that the appropriate agency shall administer it within the State. It does not define the agency. The Department of Agriculture has recommended that this legislation provide that the State department of education should administer this bill.
Do you have any feelings? Would you prefer to have more latitude by not designating the specific agency and letting the State and municipality decide on the administration, or do you feel it might be wise to put it within the educational agency? The Department feels that it should go into the educational agency only because of its experience and expertise in the handling of such programs. I am not sure that I support that theory, but I was wondering if you would have any feelings on this.
Mr. ČOSTELLO. Not at all meaning to be critical of the legislation that is passed in the Congress of this country, I would like to call attention to the fact that occasionally it becomes difficult to enjoy the full benefit of such legislation when the legislation itself contains provisions which, without adding to the benefits, nevertheless limits the application of the implementation of the bill at the local level.
I think it cannot clearly be demonstrated that such restrictions are absolutely essential, and there is wisdom in providing some flexibility to allow the States to decide for themselves the most effective way to take advantage of the bill's provisions and accomplish the goal for which the bill was passed; so I would agree with the legislation as it is now worded that the appropriate agency of the State administer the program.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Very good.
Mr. Costello, we are very grateful to you. I know you are a very busy man. We will not detain you any longer. I am sure you are anxious to get back to your office. Again, we wish to express our appreciation for your kindness in coming here and sharing your views on this legislation.
Mr. COSTELLO. Thank you very much, sir.