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of the Advisory Committee are as applicable to the situation today as they were 3 years ago.

It is true that many of the States have experienced some degree of recovery in school finance since the investigations of the Committee. The appalling differences in educational opportunities are today as great as they were 3 or more years ago. In fact, several authoritative studies have shown that these differences have existed to relatively the same degree for decades. From all that is known about the relative taxpaying ability and economic resources of the several States, there is no reason to believe that, in the absence of Federal participation in the financing of public education, there will be any substantial reduction in the inequalities in educational opportunities among the States insofar as these inequalities depend upon financial resources.

As evidence that the amount of difference among the States in the ability to support education and other public services is relatively permanent, the following facts are cited:1 Using 5 to 17 years old as 100, the indexes of the richest State (excepting Nevada) and poorest State in 1900 were 261 and 25 respectively; in 1912, 228 and 28; in 1922, 184 and 34; in 1934,2 213 and 34. On the basis of economic resources in relation to the number of children of educable age, the relative ability of various regions to support education since 1920 is shown in exhibit 1.

EXHIBIT 1.Relative ability of the States to finance education, 1920–34 (Based on index of weighted economic resources per unit of educational need. Ability of United States

equals 100. Taken from Norton, John K., and Norton, Margaret A.. “Wealth, Children and Education," pp. 40–41]

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That the relative differences in the amount of support going to public elementary and secondary schools are fairly constant is shown in exhibit 2. It will be seen

Exhibit 2.-Current expenditures per pupil in average daily attendance, 1931–32, Exhibir 2.---Current expenditures per pupil in average daily attendanc, 1931-82,

1935-36, 1937-38

Per pupil in average daily



Per child

5 to 17 years old,





New York,
New Jersey
Rhode Island
South Dakota.
New Hampshire.

139. 30
141. 19
108. 91
115. 90
103. 21
109. 30
110. 50
115. 17

98. 20
103. 66
97. 48
98. 64
97. 99
110. 39
94. 27

$134. 13
128. 11
115. 60
108. 33
100. 38
96. 29
95. 03
90. 76
87. 20
86. 16
85. 33
84. 63
83. 10
82. 42

133. 89
125. 53
104. 64
104. 12

98. 49
104. 47
103. 77

90.90 103. 83 92. 13 94. 16 86. 23

$95. 08 109.87 97.07 74. 18 74. 53 78. 71 68. 60 69. 28 58. 50 62. 12 61. 38 60. 74 55. 70 55. 90 65. 48 52. 45 53. 41 53. 86

I Norton, John K., and Norton, Margaret A., “Wealth, Children and Education”, pp. 18 and 43. » Based on weighted index of economic resources per unit of educational need,

1935-36, 1937-38-Continued

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from that table that, although all States except North Dakota and Colorado have shown improvement from 1936 to 1938, the relative differences among the States have changed to an insignificant degree since 1932. The rich are still rich and the poor are still poor, and remain in about their same relative positions.



Within recent months at least two conditions have arisen that give new impetus to the need for Federal aid to the States for public schools: (1) The influx of population into areas of defense activities and industries, and (2) the requirement by recent Federal Court decisions that salaries of Negro teachers be equalized with salaries of white teachers for equal qualifications.

The first of these situations has grown out of the necessities of our nationaldefense program and is clearly a Federal responsibility. The second of these situations is new only in the sense that court decisions interpreting the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States as affecting equal educational opportunities for Negroes have made necessary the rectification of a situation that has long needed attention and which was clearly pointed out in the report of the Advisory Committee on Education.

It should be pointed out that since the matter of increased financial support for educational opportunities for Negroes is now a constitutional matter so declared by the Federal courts, it becomes a matter of Federal obligation to see that the constitutional requirements become effective. That obligation is clearly a financial use.

Inasmuch as other witnesses will present the facts concerning these two situations, I shall not do so. I do, however, wish to say to the committee that I heartily approve of the provisions of S. 1313 respecting these matters.


The major part of my remarks will be addressed to the need for Federal financial assistance to the States for the equalization of educational opportunities as is proposed in S. 1313. For this purpose, the major findings of the Advisory Committee on Education will be presented.


The outstanding conclusion presented in the report of the Committee was that no plan of local or State taxation, even the best that can be devised, will support a decent minimum system of schools in many communities throughout the United States. In many thousands of school districts, the education that can be provided from State and local resources is unquestionably below the minimum that is essential for the preservation of democratic institutions. Unless the Federal Government participates in the financial support of the schools and related services in the less able areas, several millions of the children of the United States will continue to be denied to a large extent the educational opportunities that should be regarded as their birthright.

Although equality of opportunity is a fundamental tenet of our democracy, inequality of opportunity is at present the dominant characteristic of our educational system when viewed from the national standpoint. Several hundred thousand children of elementary school age are not enrolled in school at all, mainly because of a lack of facilities in many scattered rural areas that are impoverished and isolated.

In most communities elementary school service of some sort is available, but the quality of the service varies between the widest possible extremes. Hundreds of rural schools can be found which are the merest shacks, in which the children are huddled together at makeshift desks, using a small number of dirty and worn-out textbooks, under the direction of teachers who have themselves hardly finished high school. On the other hand, in a limited number of wealthy communities we have public schools which would seem almost perfect to the average public school teacher, where the buildings are the finest specimens of modern architecture, where the teachers are well-trained, well-paid, and well-led, where the children are given individual attention, and where everything is done to foster their physical and mental development.

The first type of school mentioned is representative of several thousand of our rural schools, and the second is representative of several hundred of the better city schools. Furthermore, the facts show that there is a great gulf between the quality of the service now provided for children in the typical city school and that for children in the typical rural school.

In the rural schools generally the teachers are poorly paid and are relatively untrained and inexperienced. School terms average a month shorter than those in cities, with attendance less regular even when school is in session. The instructional materials are meager, and teaching necessarily follows the textbooks in routine fashion. In the thousands of 1-room schools in the open country, children in the various grades compete for the attention of the teacher, and it is virtually impossible to provide the health, welfare, guidance, and other services which children need in addition to instruction,

These deficiencies are not due to any lack of interest in education on the part of the rural people. The rural areas make great effort in order to maintain their schools, but their educational load is too heavy for their low taxpaying ability.

As indicated by the chart, exhibit 3, the proportion of children in the rural population is very much greater than that in the cities. In 1930, there were 675

Exhibit 3

Number of children 5-17 years of age per 1,000 adults 20-64 years of age, by size of community, 1930

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Small urban 2,500-100,000

Large urban 100,000

WPA 2737

Note.-Rural-farm, 675; rural-nonfarm, 495; small urban, 413; large urban, 348.
Source: The Advisory Committee on Education, Report of the Committee, p. 25.

children 5 to 17 years of age per 1,000 white adults 20 to 64 years of age on farms, while there were only 348 such children per 1,000 adults in cities of more than 100,000 population. The adults on farms thus carry an educational burden which is proportionately about twice as heavy as that of the adults in the large cities. Yet, the adults on farms are least able to support the burden of education under our present system of industrial and financial organization, with its large concentration of wealth and income in a few States containing large urban centers.

Largely because of the fact that some regions contain proportionately more rural people than others, there are marked regional differences in the ratio of children to adults. These regional differences are shown graphically by exhibit 4. Similar statistics by States are given in the table which constitutes exhibit 5.


Number of children 5-17 years of age per 1,000 adults 20-64 years of age, by regions, 1930

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Southeast, 603: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Southwest, 537: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Northwest, 496: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. Middle States, 423: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. Northeast, 420: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and District of Columbia. Far West, 336: Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and California.

Source: The Advisory Committee on Education, Report of the Committee, p. 25.

In con

In the rural Southeast in 1930, the farm population included 13 percent of the Nation's children, but received only 2 percent of the national income. trast, the nonfarm area of the Northeast, with only twice the child population of the farm area of the Southeast, received 21 times as much income.

The census of 1920 recorded 7,241,076 children and young people from 10 to 20 years of age who were then living on farms. As these children and young people grew older during the following 10 years, 40 percent of them moved to towns or cities, where they were found during the census of 1930. About 60 percent of the people of all ages who left the farm during the 10 years ending in 1930 came from farms located south of the Mason and Dixon line.

In the United States today, 15,000,000 children of school age live in villages and on farms. Great numbers of these children are not getting their rightful share of educational opportunity. To escape the economic handicap often imposed by place of birth, many rural youth must seek their fortunes elsewhere. They depend on migration to the city as the way out.

The rural birth rate has declined over a period of years, but the farm still produces a surplus of population above its needs. Dr. O. E. Baker of the Department of Agriculture reports the following data: Approximately 370 children under 5 years of age per 1,000 women 15 to 45 are required to maintain the population even without population growth. In 1930, 7 cities, with over 100,000 population, composed largely of American stock, lacked about 40 percent of having enough children to maintain their population without accessions from outside. All cities with over 100,000 population, taken as a whole, had a deficit of over 20 percent, and the smaller cities (those from 2,500 to 100,000 population) had a deficit of about 8 percent. On the other hand, the rural nonfarm population had a surplus of 30 percent, and the rural farm population had a surplus of nearly 50

percent. In 1930, there was an approximate balance between the urban deficit
and the rural surplus.3

Number of children of elementary- and high-school ages per 1,000 adults, aged 20–64

years, by States, 193091

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i Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930, Population, vols. II and III, pts. 1 and 2.

The conclusion is inescapable that we shall continue for many years to have a
large amount of migration from farm to city. This continued movement of youth
in large numbers from farm to city, across State lines, and from region to region
raises educational problems of the first magnitude. It is extremely significant
that large numbers of youth who will constitute much of the future population of
the United States are now being reared where educational opportunities are most

As a Nation, we have a common responsibility to each child: to make sure he is
properly fitted for the work ahead. Each person's education is a matter of
Nation-wide concern. The economic health of the Nation depends upon the
economic health of all its parts. Education is a basic element in bringing about a
satisfactory adjustment. The obligations to provide satisfactory educational
facilities in the poorer areas is a national one. Such facilities cannot be provided
without action by the Federal Government.

The Report of the Advisory Committee on Education has now been before
Congress and the country for 3 years. It has been the subject of intensive dis-
cussion in many quarters. In all of that discussion, the major findings of the
committee as to educational needs have stood virtually unchallenged. Such
disagreement as has resulted from discussion of the committee report has been
concerned almost entirely with details of the plans recommended by the com-
mittee to bring about improvement.


In 1935–36 expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools amounted
to $1,939,400,000, of which local governments provided $1,290,400,000, State
governments provided $553,600,000, and the Federal Government provided
$95,400,000, largely in the form of public-works grants for school buildings.
30. E. Baker, Relation of Population Trends to Commercial Agriculture

November 29, 1935,
U. 8. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics (mimeographed) p. 3 and fig. 5.

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